Does your app follow these UI design principles?

Manish Jain
Manish Jain, Co-Founder & Managing Director at Konstant Infosolutions
Published on Nov 25, 2016 in App Development
Mobile app UI Design Principles

The iOS and Android app store is consistently uploading moible apps but it is disappointing to learn that they are discarded more frequently than they are launched. An average app in the Play Store loses about 77% of active mobile users in the first three days and 90% in the first month. This amounts to a substantial loss in revenues and credibility. The most common reason for the un-installation is a poor UI design.

From poor interfaces to unsatisfying designs, there are a lot of things that make the average user search for alternatives. Good design for a mobile app is as important as the credibility of your brand name. The mobile app development company Konstant Infosolutions wants all clients and developers to learn how to create a mobile app with a good UI design.

With the world going largely mobile (mobile usage surpassing desktop use), losing out to your mobile app places any business on a highly discomforting situation. UI should be such that not only the first impression makes a mark but users begin to feel more dependent and engaged with the app the more they use it.

Currently, the number of mobile apps in iTunes stores amount to over 2 million and about 2.2 million in the Android Play Store. However, only a few mobile apps have been able to make their mark among users. So what goes wrong?

From the perspective of users, apps need to be smooth, relevant and highly useful. From the perspective of the designer, there are obviously limitations to designing and meeting the expectations of the average user but the risk can be minimized following certain mobile app design principles. The UI of any app will have a substantial impact on its features, presentation, content, hardware access, performance, graphics, and navigation. The end goal is a high performing app that is easy-to-use and doesn’t eat away a lot of data at the same time. Start with these 10 designing principles:

UI reflecting the brand personality

UI reflecting the brand personality

The aim of any mobile app is to reach the maximum number of users and simultaneously expand the brand’s horizon. The ideal app should offer an unmatched UX (User Experience) that connects the user to the interface. Now, every brand should have a unique story to tell and this must be presented through the mobile app design. Left undefined through the app, it can get very confusing for the consumers and end users.

The idea of the brand personality here will apply to any kind of business, regardless of the industry they come from. For example, apps for an NGO should have a design personality that matches the cause they are working on, a green theme probably.

Identifying with primary (target) users

Identifying with primary (target) users

Even before you start writing the script for an app, you must keep in mind the users who are intended to use it. For example, you can expect learned/savvy users to go an extra length in understanding an app interface but non-experienced users require something very simple and intuitive.

Also, when you are designing an app for the online retail purpose, users will be looking for more product details including high-resolution images along with easy checkout and secure payment gateway among others. Similarly, if the app is supposed to cater health benefits to the user, the UI should be embedded with artificial intelligence and elements that let the app interact with the user through helpful health and fitness feedbacks. Among other important things, also figure out whether you are designing for the fat fingers or the supple ones.

Optimized flow of UI

Optimized flow of UI

A mobile app is not just a single screen experience. While different screens on your app support different purposes, the experience must be consistent. Optimizing an app also helps make it faster and more usable. While designers will have no control over network bandwidths, they do can design content in such a way that it takes the minimum time to load.

Striking a balance between performance and UI

Striking a balance between performance and UI

The performance of an app will include things like content display, load time and ease of navigation. Thus, your app graphics should be such that they comply with the above. Too much of high definition images, videos and similar content will always bog down an app, making it slow and dreary. Similarly, a UI with too many navigation links and dynamic content will stand against smooth performance.

Start by designing around these performance factors and you will be able to strike the right balance between performance and UI.

Keep it platform specific

Keep it platform specific

Each mobile platform offers unique peculiarities in appearance and power. The same design and layout cannot thus be applicable for all mobile OS. For example, the app design for an Android and an iOS platform would be very different. While you can think of cross-platform designing, it doesn’t always help with the way a specific OS is supposed to be used.

Using the capabilities of the device

Using the capabilities of the device

Modern smartphones are being continuously integrated with high-end features and app designers should aim to make the most out of it. From high-resolution HD displays to using the device’s GPS features and more, you can make the app more engaging. Apps like Paytm are using the camera feature to scan barcodes. There are several other successful apps that use the hardware functionalities of the device to engage users in a unique experience. All of these can further augment the beauty of it.

A clutter-free design

A clutter-free design

Don’t look to overdo with an app. Even if you are trying to offer a long range of services with an app, you should keep it well spread out. Too much of content or too many options in one screen are always distracting. This also becomes one of the most crucial features of any app UI. Do start by integrating with the most relevant and useful functionalities in any screen in consultation with every member of the design and development team.

A good example for this would be the Flickr photo sharing app from Yahoo. In just a couple of taps form the home screen, users are able to take pictures, upload them, browse interesting content, navigate through albums, set alerts, check groups and do a lot more.

A layered UI

A layered UI

A layered UI implies that users are able to unfold and find new features as they continue using the app. This keeps the engagement level high and they get deeply involved in the app. This is exactly how gaming apps keep the engagement high with different levels and new challenges.

The use of icons

The use of icons

Icons are prominent features of any app and help replace longer text based instructions. They need to be self-explanatory and at the same time fit well with the overall visuals of the interface. Icons also help save space but are best kept fresh. Come up with new designs but also make sure that users immediately understand what they mean and are supposed to do.

Have an expert in your team

Have an expert in your team

To create a successful mobile app, it is always necessary to have expertise and experience by your side. Developers will be the people who understand the right balance between functionalities and aesthetics. Experience ensures that the design is kept crisp and that they suggest in the limitation of front end development. They would also be the people who best suggest the animations, graphics and layouts to choose.

Categorizing the UI usage, the factors can be listed as:

In-app UI features:

  • Graphics
  • Content
  • Interaction
  • Navigation
  • Features

Back-end UI features:

  • APIs
  • Database

Network and mobile device dependant features:

  • Hardware features of device
  • Network coverage
  • Operating system

A well built mobile app always has the opportunity to better itself with time. Initially, all you must be focusing upon should be the target users, their expectations, their capabilities, their devices and the experience they are habituated to. You cannot bring a whole new level of complicacy suddenly and expect the user to spend time understanding it. A detailed study of the market is thus necessary and the information collected should define the UI you should be working on. This principle will hold true for any mobile app, in any category and for any kind of user base.

Today, the mobile app industry has become highly competitive and developers always need to be on their toes and integrate new technologies and trends as and when they happened. Once the app has been able to impress, it can choose to become the trendsetter too. The battle becomes more challenging when you are not a very well known brand and are staring off in the mobile marketplace.

We hope that all of these ten design principles go ahead in helping you come up with a successful app. Native UI is always limiting for the designer as they have a restricted screen size that caters to shorter attention spans. A successful design should thus be as fast as anyone can think and decide. Be goal driven, seek usability, integrate signifiers, encourage learning and look for feedback. This is also the reasons that every app must go through a ‘beta’ phase of usage wherein designers and developers understand how the real users would like it (through a sample group).

If still in doubt, get connected with UI experts at Konstant Infosolutions and you will have enough valid reasons and choices to go with your desired mobile app perfectly interfacing and communicating with your user base.

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About the author
Manish JainCo-Founder & Managing Director at Konstant Infosolutions

Manish Jain is the co-founder and Managing Director of Konstant Infosolutions, a mobile app development company based out in India and the USA. Being a technology enthusiast with 15+ experience, his strategic advice and guidance have provided a compe...

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