The market is swamped with mobile apps today. As of June 2016, Android and Apple users have access to over 2.2 million and 2 million apps respectively. In an already saturated market, entrepreneurs looking to build an app for the business must create one that stands out. An exceptional mobile app design is one of the many factors that encourages return visits and continued usage.
In this article, we have some app design tips to guide you along the way.
1. Colour Schemes – The Visual Experience
Colours form a huge component in app design. They communicate the brand’s personality and offer users a unique visual experience.
Different colours impact users differently. Blue, often associated with trust and strength, creates a sense of calmness and promotes communication. That is the reason why we see many social media apps using blue as their primary colour.
Red on the other hand highlights energy and excitement. Some common apps that use the red theme include Youtube and Carousell.
Colours should also vary depending on the country you are developing the app for. A red call-to-action button may not be as effective as green, as red means stop in many countries.
2. Whitespaces – Cutting out the Clutter
A neat and organised layout is fundamental to a good app design as mobile apps are often accessed through a small screens. Including too much information – text, images or logos – can lead to a cluttered layout.
This makes it difficult for users to navigate and may discourage them from using the app at all.
As such, having ample white spaces is crucial. White spaces are easy on the eyes. It increases legibility, eases navigation and highlights call-to-action button.
While too little whitespace can result in crammed and disorganised layouts, too much might signify a lack of content. It is hence important to strike a balance between whitespaces and content. Think about how you can integrate whitespaces into your app design. Whitespaces, when used effectively, can separate sections of your content, working wonders at facilitating navigation and enhancing user experience.
3. Typography – They speak louder than Words
Having the right colour scheme, combined with a balance of whitespaces, is pleasing to the eyes. But consider this – fonts play a key role in enhancing the aesthetic qualities of a mobile app as well.
There are several ways to utilise fonts. Firstly, fonts can differentiate the type of content. For instance, Instagram uses bold fonts to signify usernames. A point to keep in mind is that the font style you adopt should be applied across the app. This creates harmony and consistency.
Fonts can also subtly prompt users to take an action. For example, Grab uses italics as a means to push users to key in the details.
When developing your app, always remember the purpose of your text. Whether it serves to push users to find out more or key in details, the last thing you want is your font choices to drive users away.
4. Simple Navigation
Given that apps are often accessed via mobile devices, it is important to make the most out of the small screen space, yet keep navigation simple and straightforward.
Some of the commonly used styles include bottom bars and hidden menus.
Bottom bars are used when there are three to five key options for the users to choose from. It allows users to easily access what they want without having to sieve through several options.
Spotify and Instagram uses this.
However, if compiling your options into five key choices is proving to be a difficult task, consider using hidden menus. This menus are scrollable and it allows you to include more choices.
Zalora and Sistic, for instance, use hidden menus to offer its users greater selections without messing up the homepage design.
5. Focus on Micro Interactions
Now that you have nailed the layout, selected a representative colour scheme and created a simple navigation, what’s next?
A good mobile app is one that pays attention to details. Yes, we are talking about micro-interaction. These interactive animations may seem trivial. However, they can add character to your app and play a significant role in enhancing your user’s experience.
Some examples of effective use of micro-interactions include Instagram. When you like an instagram photo, a heart icon appears.
Instead of a static page, UberEATS got creative, and decided to use its logo to show progress.
Micro-interactions are the secret to getting your users hooked to your app. A good micro-interaction:
- Communicates status
- Provides feedback
- Help people visualise their action
However, these animations should be kept as simple as possible as they often require high connectivity. You want your users to still access and experience 100% of your app in places with poor connectivity.
6. Layers and Depth
Layers and depth can bring life to your mobile app design, by making an element pop out from a flat interface. This concept uses Google’s material design which has been highlighted as one of the top design trends.
Take a look at Google Calendar for instance. A tap on the + logo brings the calendar into the background of the screen, highlighting the options that users can add.
Another impressive use of layers is Uber. Tapping on the pickup location brings the text box and options available into the foreground.
Ultimately, mobile apps that are user friendly yet interactive are the ones that stand out. When developing apps, create prototypes first. This gives you ample time to acquire feedback and make necessary amendments.