Mobile applications have advanced over the last decade and are now extremely demanded all over the globe. In fact, there are more people in the world that on a smartphone than people who own a toothbrush. Impressive, right? This colossal demand gave birth to millions of applications. All of them aimed to become ultimate solutions and had a thrust for fame as well as worldwide recognition, yet, sadly, most apps and teams behind them failed dramatically. Why? Simply because functionality cannot be considered as the only metric of success.
Demand was high end expectations were met with solutions. Volumes of existing apps that are distributed to stores grow exponentially thus creating an environment that is overfilled with competition. Surely your application requires a primary focus on functionality as it should be designed to assist people with certain tasks, yet the amount of existing applications grants users with the luxury of choice. This has brought us up to the times when the best looking app wins, not the handier one.
The struggle is real
The race for best UI has begun long ago and has lead us to really demanding users who only expect the best from apps they install on personal devices. Many teams know exactly how to nail UI, yet even most hardcore specialists sometimes make mistakes we are about to discuss. Thus we present you a list of things you should watch out for in you projects as they will ultimately lead to failure.
- Mobile devices are not desktop machines. It seems that everyone gets this simple fact by now, but people still tend to make the same mistake over again despite all odds. Mobile devices, despite all their hardware strength can’t be compared to actual desktop computers. Graphics demand a lot and, in fact, you do not need them as badly as one might think. Simpler, intuitive interfaces are, in fact, what users really want from mobile apps so consider making them as lightweight as possible.
User needs always come first and you may aim at delivering cutting edge design quality yet people have different devices, poor processing power, slow connections, etc. Yes, you can make amazing solutions by empowering all possible resources you can harvest but what’s the point if no one will be able to use your masterpiece? Start from identifying your target audience’s devices, their potential and laminations. Use those metrics as a guiding beacon. You won’t be any less of a designer by relying on such data instead of simply overweighting UI, seriously. In fact, you will be considered a better professional by doing so.
- Gloss, sheik and shine do not always mean better usability. Too many apps out there are simply too fancy to use. You want your app to be different from what people are already used to. I get it, but why make things overcomplicated? What would be the point of standing out of the crowd if you are an outsider nobody cares enough about? If you want to invent, to be creative and all – go ahead, but there are two warnings you should consider on your way to glory: don’t touch the controls and make sure you have enough dollars in budget. Seriously, it’s your app and you are free to do whatever you want with its UI but re-inventing the controls will force people to get adjusted to your solution and your app may simply not be worth the effort. Or so 90% of users would think. And, secondly, taking your own path is always expensive as all the development will be 100% custom without useful frameworks and existing tools, since no one walked in your shoes earlier.
- Sadly human fingers are too large for you to explore full potential of astonishing design possibilities. People require large buttons when they are tapping them on even a 5-inch screen. Consider removing all unnecessary elements instead of making everything fancier. Leave the essentials, the rest must go. Mobile screen pixel dimensions are tinier than the ones of a desktop screen. Emulate the look of your app in phone screen conditions before deploying everything. Also consider people might use your app in elevators, moving vehicles and rooms with limited lighting. Make sure it’s UI stays unharmed with surrounding environments.
Bonus round: We are not all the same. In fact people who belong to different nationalities enjoy different things. UI is not an exception. People in Sweden for example prefer enormous buttons while the very same button size may scare of users from India. The thing is people often wear thick gloves in Sweden and don’t have same amounts of accuracy people from warmer regions do. Analyze your Target Audience and adjust the app appropriately to meet with your customer’s expectations.
By the way, what is your personal best UI design experience? Feel free to share through the comment section.