Mobile phones are everywhere. From a lunch table to an office meeting, you will see mobiles sitting nearby. Since the introduction of smartphones, people are using mobiles more than ever.
Mobile applications help a user to perform tasks without requiring a huge device like laptops or computers. Design mobile applications and help to complete tasks easily while allowing you to enhance your business.
Wondering about the best way to design useful mobile applications? In this article, we will discuss the important tips and factors that increase the usability of your applications.
Say Welcome to Interactive Design
When designing a mobile application, you have less space. However, this doesn’t mean that you can ignore interaction rules. You should follow five rules of interaction design to ensure you have a perfect application. Learn more about these rules:
- What is Your Goal? Before you create the design of your application, you must know your audience. You should design for the right user. Research people who are likely to use your application. This will allow you to set goals for your app that fit your audience requirements.
- Signifiers and Affordance – When you see a blue line under a word, you understand that it is a link that will take you somewhere else. This is a signifier. You have to use signifiers accurately to avoid any confusion.
- Usability – Anyone can understand that usability is really important in designing an application. Unless you can easily use an application, a user is not going to keep it in their library.
- Response Time and Feedback – Feedback is very important in mobile applications. It helps the user understand if a task is completed or not. Feedback could be a small window, a message, or a beep. Make sure that you offer low response time because people don’t want to wait for a response.
- Learnability – Use familiar patterns to increase learnability. Remember that you want your users to use your application. It is only possible if they learn how to use your application without any effort.
Designing Useful Mobile Apps Requires Understanding Your Users
You should be familiar with your users before you start designing your application. An application can only perform if you designed it for a particular audience. A goal-driven design always works.
To understand your audience, you need to know three fundamental tactics:
- Personas – Just like you see fictional characters in novels and movies, personas are characters that will use your application. This helps you understand how your actual audience will behave while using the application.
- Persona Scenarios – When personas are using the application, they will have different reactions depending on the scenario. You need to know how they will act in each situation. This allows you to design the ultimate goal the user want to achieve with your application.
- Mapping – Mapping is an important step to know the emotions and predict the actions of your users. You need to create a map of your application and realize how personas will act at each stage of your application.
Use Common Mobile Patterns to Increase Usability
Designers like to come up with innovative designs and patterns to increase the ease of an application. It is a great idea to play around with designs and come up with innovations. This opens the door to increase usability and promote creativity.
However, you must know that you don’t need to become over innovative in your application. That would make it difficult for your audience to understand the application. Ultimately, they will quit using your application to move to an application following familiar functions.
For instance, a few of the common gestures include swipe, touch, double-tap, pinch, zoom, and touch. You need to use the same patterns in your mobile application rather than introducing a new pattern. A new pattern will confuse your audience whenever they use your application.
Moreover, you should offer smooth and familiar animations. For instance, if an element disappears from the screen, it shows that it is deleted. When an element slides out of sight, it means that it is available for later usage.
Accessibility for Fat Fingers
Every person is a unique individual and you are designing an application for everyone. You should consider thousands of people of different races using the application. It will give you insights on how to design the mobile application perfectly.
Do not make small buttons or very close buttons that become difficult for people to use. Here are a few tips for you to follow while designing a mobile app.
- Mobile Holding Patterns – Few of the common ways to hold a phone including two hands/two thumbs, two hands/one thumb, and one hand/one thumb. While designing useful mobile applications, you need to ensure you remember it and design accordingly.
- Fat Fingers – Some people have fat fingers and you need to take care of it. They could be 45 to 47 pixels wide. Apple understands it and that’s why they recommend 44 pixels square.
Research and Follow Web Designing Trends
Being a designer, you should be familiar with the latest trends and enhance your skills. With new trends coming in the way, you should embrace the change. However, you must know when to ditch something and when to continue using it.
Since Apple ditched skeuomorphism, gradients and shadows are becoming a thing of the past. The flat look is a new trend in the web designing world. However, Google is still maintaining its position on shadows and gradients. They are using them and trying to make a strong comeback.
Similarly, you need to know about the latest changes and act accordingly.