7 Things You Must Avoid When Designing Mobile Apps

By Nathan Segal

Mobile apps are a highly popular way to disseminate information but it’s easy to drown in detail, complexity and cost overruns. In this article are 7 things you must avoid when designing mobile apps.

 

1.      Coding Without a Plan: If you’re building an app from scratch, this is the most important step. If you code without a plan you could end up with a real mess. Not only will the process take longer, it’s likely to be haphazard and expensive. To save yourself the grief, use a storyboard or some sort of flowchart system where you build the entire application on paper, complete with diagrams if necessary. If problems are found, they can be addressed and resolved. And once you’ve built the storyboard, you’ve built the app. All you need to do now is to write the code.

 

2.      Not Considering the Screen Size: This is critical. The screen size varies with each mobile device so it’s important to take that into consideration when creating your layouts and addressing scaling and display issues as they arise. When building an app, it’s very tempting to want to put a lot into the interface. That’s a bad idea for several reasons: You could overload the user with too many buttons, the interface could be confusing, or it might take too long to load. Instead of trying to put as much into the app as you can, it would be better to design a core system with the opportunity to add plug-ins later, if the user desires. This decreases the overhead, it will make the design process easier, it will allow for scalability and ongoing profit streams after the fact.

 

3.      Not Using Templates: Whenever possible make use of templates and code snippets when building your app. These will help you save time and reduce your costs. Some programs, such as Adobe Dreamweaver and Topstyle 5, make use of templates.

 

4.      Using Text in the Icons: Don’t use text in the icons. This is a mistake because both Google Play and Apple use text next to the icon, making it totally unnecessary. Instead, concentrate on the design of the icons. Make sure the icons use smooth transitions and well-defined edges. You want them to stand out from the background, not blend into it.

 

5.      Not Informing the User When Programs are Loading: With many an app, sections of it might take time to load. In some cases, developers don’t let the user know that this is happening. If that’s the case, it could create the following consequences: The user might be patient and wait for a few moments, but likely not. Chances are, the user might think the app stopped functioning and restart it, or, if there’s still no response, quit the app and in an extreme case, uninstall it completely. This is why it’s so important to let the user know when sections of an app are loading.

 

6.      Not Paying Attention to the Different Operating Systems: When building apps, you’ll be working with different operating systems and you’ll have to design your apps accordingly. With that in mind, the interface used for an iphone will be different from the layout for an Android. It’s really important to make sure that your interface design matches the layout of the OS. If not, you run the risk of confusing and/or annoying the users, which will directly affect the adoption of your app. In combination with this step, it’s important that you take color into consideration and make sure it fits the environment.

 

7.      Not Testing the Interface before Deploying: This is one of the most common issues, not testing before deploying, yet it’s one of the most critical of steps. If you miss an important part of a procedure, the entire process could fail. When you test, make sure you test your app with people who have never set eyes on the product. That’s the true acid test. It’s here that you’ll find out whether you built the app in a way your target audience can use it, or if you missed/omitted steps. Once you get the feedback, you’ll know whether all is well or whether some redesign work is necessary.

 

Conclusion

When beginning any design process, it’s important to think about the end result, first. To ensure the success of your designs it’s important to involve users in the design process. Nothing is worse than working in a vacuum. What you and your design team might think is fabulous could be a complete flop with the users, so test early and test often.

 



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