How to Design for Mobile Apps by@tcules

How to Design for Mobile Apps

Global consumers spend an average of 4.2 hours per day using apps on their smartphones. Mobile apps are not the same as desktop apps. Multitasking is not possible on mobile due to the small screen size, but it is possible on desktops. The user flow of an app must be simple, straightforward, and to the point. The design process for mobile apps isn’t inherently different from that of any good, user-centered product. It is the approach to the steps that are tweaked.
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Tcules

UI/UX Design Studio

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Mobile is the future of the web.


Recent advancements in the tech space have led to the creation of smartphones that are just as powerful as laptops. And given this, there is no reason why users wouldn’t prefer mobiles over desktops for the convenience and ease of use they offer.

Don’t believe us?


According to a study by data.ai, a mobile data, and analytics firm, global consumers spend an average of 4.2 hours per day using apps on their smartphones. An increase of 30% in comparison to two years prior.


However, we’re also big on DIY, so read on if you’d like to learn more on how you can optimize your mobile UX design.


But before, let’s look at what separates the mobile app design process from a desktop app.

Mobile app design constraints

Mobile apps are not the same as desktop apps. With desktops, users are always focused on the task at hand. But in the case of mobile, multitasking is the norm.


The last time you traveled somewhere and got a bill payment notification on your mobile, did you pay the bill right away because it only takes a second or did you wait until you got home/office logged online and paid the bill? For most people, the prior is true. Similarly, when you get a work email, you might check it out on your mobile, but you’ll seldom get to work on that device.

Owing to these differences, you need to understand the constraints of smartphones before designing effective interfaces for them.

Screen size

One of the most noticeable differences between mobile and desktop is the device’s screen size. Multitasking is not possible on mobile due to the small screen size, but it is possible on desktops. As a result, the user flow of an app must be simple, straightforward, and to the point. When the user is using an app, they shouldn’t have to switch apps or copy-paste content from any place outside the current app.

Storage

Apps are stored in the smartphone’s memory. Thus when designing app UX, you have to take into consideration the fact that mobiles have limited storage and design accordingly. Because limitations on the quality of video, audio, and images will impact UX.

Controls and cues

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Desktop and mobile are also different because of their usage – how they are held, what they are used for etc. Established patterns for both vary widely, and being aware of them will help you create familiar and efficient mobile experiences. For example, people might hold their mobile devices in various ways but they will still dominantly use their thumb for interacting. Although these seem simple to contribute to a good app design, these fundamentals are often where people go wrong.

Simple tips for UX design for mobile apps

The design process for mobile apps isn’t inherently different from that of any good, user-centered product. It is the approach to the steps that are tweaked. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Research

As with any good UX project, research forms the base on which your mobile app design decisions will rest. Research via stakeholder interaction and user interviews about the purpose of your app and the target audience.

Features

Most mobile apps are not multi-purpose. They are targeted, and thus need to be designed as such. Also, avoid making the mistake of trying to load your app with all sorts of functionality that is remotely connected. A highly specific, clutter-free app will increase retention and reduce drop-off like no other.

Minimal Design

Mobile apps are easily prone to cognitive overload because of their limited dimensions. To negate this, it is important that you create designs that are simple – easy to navigate, task-focused, and without an overwhelming UI.

Accessibility

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It is now possible to also ensure accessibility of your app without having to compromise on any UX aspect. Factors like easily clickable touch targets, readable text, color contrast, and interaction on feedback need to be given importance to improve the accessibility of the app.

Final Thoughts

Mobile apps are important in the digital space and are not going anywhere. Their role is only going to be increasing henceforth. Even Google has announced that mobile-first indexing is used for more than half of its web pages.


Thus, if you are a business that has so far neglected mobile apps because you’ve done well on the web, we might be just the push you need for optimizing your app and improving your business KPIs.




This blog is previously published at Tcules’ blog


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