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App Design – 5 Important Things to Consider

February 11, 2016

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Remember back in 2005, when you had to wait until you were home or had arrived at the office in order to check your emails. If you wanted to Google something, you had to open your computer, wait for it to load and only then could you retrieve the information you were looking for.

11 years later technology has completely changed the way we get information. Once we would say “with the click of a mouse you can…”. Now its, “ with only one swipe you can get…”

Thanks to mobile phones and tablets, people from all over the world now have vast amounts of information at their fingertips. Developing countries have also joined in on the fun, as the mobile infrastructure has allowed them to connect to the internet and take advantage of endless information.

Mobile Usage

Smartphones have become such a powerful tool that more and more companies are diving into app development, customising their products to make them mobile friendly, hoping that they will benefit from global mobile traffic while understanding more about their customer’s usage patterns. Think about it, a smartphone is a highly personal device, always on you and provide lots of information, including your location, movements, proximity etc…

With that in mind, it is important that App Developers understand the differences between mobile and desktop. App designers need to take into consideration numerous factors that might not have been relevant when developing a simple desktop application or program.

In this article we’ll talk about 5 things to consider when designing a mobile app or site.

TechSors App Design Tips

1) Context of Use

Mobile App Design

In today’s faced paced world, people are using their smartphones in all different situations and places. On the bus, on the way to work, at the gym… people even use their phones to pass time while waiting in line or at home while sitting watching T.V. Due to this, interruptions are more likely to happen which may cause your users to leave your app and then return at a later stage. For this reason, your app design needs to be intuitive allowing users to quickly understand where they left off. Some apps will save the user’s last session allowing them to quickly go back to where he/she left off.

2) Use Gestures

Mobile Gestures

On desktops you are limited to mouse clicks or keyboard usage, on mobile phones you can use an array of gestures to control different functionalities within your app. If a user is out-and-about, he/she might not have two hands free to control the app. When designing an app, you need to think how and when your application is going to be used. For example, is it a food app that will be used in the supermarket while the user is looking or holding products? Is it going to be used while working out? Knowing all these factors will help improve the usability of your app and give your users the ability to control the app with ease. For example, you might allow your users to continue to the next step of a process by allowing them to swipe the screen. Or, in order to receive more information about a specific product you offer they can rotate the phone.

3) Less is Better

Simple Design

Just because you have a website packed with information, doesn’t mean that you have to put all that information into your mobile app or site. Remember that you are designing for smaller screens ant that mean that you have less room for information. You don’t want to find your users trying to go through lots of clutter in order to get to what they were looking for, consequentially causing your exit rates to sky rocket. Analyse your current website’s data, see which pages are popular and which are not and drop the ones that aren’t important. There is no point adding pages or information that doesn’t really interest anyone. In addition, add information that is relevant for users that are on the go. Define the objectives of your app and build a process that will allow you to reach your goals. Place your call-to-actions in places that involve minimum effort to get to.

4) Sign Up Forms are a Big NO NO

Form UI

Unless you really have to, try not to use a sign up form. People that download an app and then are confronted with a sign up form tend to get annoyed. Unless they are familiar with the brand with or really need to use the app, sign up forms can cause friction. If you want to retrieve information or develop a user list then there are other more friendly ways to go about it. You can always use Facebook connect, which is more user-friendly. You can use Click to Call buttons allowing the user to phone you directly. If you really must use a form, try to stick to the minimum amount of fields necessary. It is important to remember that if your app is directed at conversion, then each added field will lower your conversion to lead.

5) Stop Hiding Passwords

Hosting Password

Has this ever happened to you?

You’ve downloaded an app, installed it, logged in and then been asked to create a user. You type in your username and then find yourself entering your password 5 times, because you are not sure you’ve entered it correctly. All you see are asterisks and then you’re asked to reconfirm your password again, which you are not really sure was entered correctly the first time round. According to Nielsen, masking passwords doesn’t increase security, but it does cost you business due to login failures. Seriously, have you ever had someone look over your shoulder trying to decipher your password as you type it into your app. So why mask passwords? Masking passwords causes user errors and leaves the user with a constant feeling of frustration.

Final Thoughts

The penetration of mobile phones has presented staggering opportunities for companies, web designers and app developers who want to take advantage of this growing market. While it might seem trivial to develop a mobile app, there are numerous things to take into consideration which could effect the performance of your app.

If you need help with your app, feel free to contact us at TechSors. Our UI specialists are always happy to assist

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About the Author
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Adam Perl
Adam Perl is VP Marketing at TechSors, a digital agency that specialises in Content marketing and Web Development. Adam's work experience spans 10+ years of strategic marketing & planning for online international companies in the financial, gaming, eCommerce and the travel industry.