01/05/2012

3 Important App Design Guidelines

By Dayne ShudaPosted in

App Design Guidelines

Mobile has been a big story in the tech world for a little while. But in the next year it seems to be an even biggest story. Those digging deeper into the trend are noticing a few interesting points about people and their usage of their mobile devices. The latest point being the increase in the usage of apps vs. browsers. Mobile device users have had the option of using apps and their browser, but lately it seems the ease of use with apps is becoming the preferred way for many. With this increase in the usage of apps it makes sense for businesses to think about what this means. Some businesses are considering their own apps and how those apps should be designed. If you are in this group, here are 3 app design elements that are important to mobile device users.

Design Elements for Effective Apps

App design seems to be one of the trends for the future. Designers are focusing efforts on designing apps that meet their clients' needs. As one of those clients, it's important to understand a little about app design and how you can work with your designer to ensure your app is effective for your users from a design perspective. The success of an app will always rely on the value it provides, but with quality design elements the app can have more chance for lasting success as well.

1. Clarity of Purpose

The most important thing with any app is clarity of purpose. This means that people have to understand what your app does when they first open the application and start interacting. People are not going to spend time figuring something out if they don't see at least a little understanding of the vision for the app. It's important for the app design to showcase how the app provides value whether for entertainment or convenience. I like looking at the basic Weather app for this example.

Weather App

Weather App

This app is about as basic as you can get. You open it and instantly you are presented with an image of how the weather is in your local area. If you see sun you know it is daytime and the sun is shining outside. Other times you might open the app and realize the forecast for tomorrow is cloudy. You can tell from the moment you look at the image and temperature on tomorrow's weather forecast. It's a simple app, but the clarity of purpose is evident and this makes it useful for people and easy to understand. PS - Yes. I live in Wisconsin and it gets really cold in winter.

2. Speed

Speed is important on the Web and it's just as important for Web apps. People are commonly on the move when they are using their phones. Yet even if a person is chilling on the sofa looking for the latest news they still want to access it fast and efficiently. There isn't much time these days to sit and wait for an app to load. It's the designer's job to ensure that an app is designed to load fast. The elements of design on the app's interface need to be simple while still providing value with a keen eye on speed. Here is an app that might surprise you for this key app design point.

Twitter

Twitter App

Twitter hasn't always been known as a speedster website or app, but lately they have been making improvements. The latest version of the app is pretty fast. When checking updates it's great to pull down on the screen and have the latest tweets in milliseconds. It wasn't always this way, but I've come to appreciate it.

3. Elegance and Simplicity

Beauty is still important. People like to see beautiful things. Depending on your audience, I think it's always good to focus on creating something that is elegant and beautiful. When having your designer work on your app's look and feel, have them work to create something with fine lines, smooth curves and approachable elements. Do some brainstorming on what your customer likes to see visually and incorporate that into the app's design. There was a recent superstar in the app world that came to my mind when thinking about beauty and elegance in design

Pinterest

Pinterest App

Pinterest has recently done a good job of creating something that is simple while still being beautiful. The app seems to be getting better with each update as well and people are excited about the future of Pinterest.

Summary

There are many things that go into a great app design. These are three of the elements users really care about with app design. Consider these points when working with your designer on your application. Try to understand what your customer wants from your app and make sure the design aids the application in providing that value. Start with these three elements and build from there:

  1. Clarity of Purpose
  2. Speed
  3. Elegance and Simplicity

Apps are becoming increasingly popular with mobile users. And mobile itself continues to see increased usage. As the mobile app world becomes bigger it will be more important to have a quality app for your business. Now you have a starting point to begin working on the design.

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About the Author: Dayne Shuda

Dayne Shuda is a content strategist and blogger. He is the founder of Ghost Blog Writers. Website: http://www.dayneshuda.com Twitter: @DayneShuda

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Dayne Shuda

Founder of Ghost Blog Writers

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