A Designers POV- Top 5 Common Mistakes When Designing a Mobile App
Alright UI/UX Designers, Guru’s and Mobile Mavens. Here is a quick list of the top five DON’Ts when designing a mobile app. While we all hear about what we MUST do to create the perfect app, we rarely hear the common pitfalls that ALL of us make from time to time. As a reminder to myself, I created the top five mistakes I try to avoid when designing apps for our clients. As I have been told, this list is GOLD and should be bookmarked. [hint, hint]…. Come back, enjoy and certainly add to the conversation in the comments section.
1. Don’t Imitate Your Website on an App
Let’s be realistic. You can’t simply take your existing website, move a few things around and expect it to be a good experience for the end user. The mobile phone screen is much smaller than your monitor and cannot display the large amount of information and images from your corporate website. Use your existing website as “inspiration” for your app and consider the most important functions and features that you want to include, keeping in mind a strong user experience and an engaging user interface.
2. Don’t Over Gesture your Application
Swipe Here. Pinch There. Double Tap. Open Hand Close. Drag, flick, and press… Get my point? There are so many gestures that you can enable in an app - and to be blunt, it is confusing, complicated and annoying when UI/UX designers and/or developers misuse and over-gesture an app. Keep gestures to a minimum. While gestures are a fun and dynamic way of sprucing up an application, don’t get carried away with all the different possibilities out there. **Reminder that all devices sizes means that your gestures change, 4-7-10 in tablets all have different common gestures. Here's a guide for gesture references—NOT to be misused.
3. Don’t Complicate the UI with Too Many Screens. Simplify.
We can all relate to the pain of having to click on multiple screens to FINALLY end up on the screen we were initially looking for. And once there, how in the world do we get back to that first screen? This is amplified when you are using a small device such as a mobile phone. With that in mind, don’t complicate the user experience with too many screens. Present your app in a simplified and organized manner so that you can navigate through the application within 1-3 clicks. You can continue to revise with each new interation of the app!
4. Don’t Design the Same Way Across Multiple Devices (iOS and Android)
All shoes are not created equal…neither are apps. [All you ladies can relate to this] The user experience across multiple devices is very different. How you expect to use an app on an Android phone differs from the use of that same application on an iPhone. For example, Android has a back button on the phone, while iOS uses a back button in the title bar. While the look and feel should remain very similar, consider using the native functionality in those devices.
5. Don’t Start Designing for the Smallest Screen
When designing for multiple devices, start the design phase of your app with the largest screen in mind. From there, you will be able to adjust your art work (buttons, images, graphics) and font sizes for smaller screens. Keep the size of your art work to whole numbers (24x12) since you can not split a pixel in half and want to keep the integrity of your graphics in the best form. This also helps with programming the application. But keep in mind you can always take away funtions, its harder to add them in.
Elizabeth Hummert is a UX and UI Designer at Appcelerator. She likes to cook and is passionate about design, creation and simplicity. During the summer you'll find her outside hitting the beach or grabbing coffee in local cafes.
You can follow her on Twitter @bhummert or visit her profile on linkedin.