Mobile App Design: Best Practices for Getting UI/UX Right

With more and more companies turning their attention to mobile app development, the way those apps are designed and how appealing they are to the user becomes even more critical.

Razi Alakhdar - Marketing Manager

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With more and more companies turning their attention to mobile app development, the way those apps are designed and how appealing they are to the user becomes even more critical.

In fact, according to Statista, the mobile app market is projected to grow to $808 billion by 2022. Plus, with 54.18% of the total internet traffic coming from mobile devices, it's become obvious that creating a mobile app that is functional, intuitive, and aesthetically pleasing is a must to thrive in the now dominant mobile ecosystem.

Undeniably, in the past decade, mobile apps have become a crucial part of our daily lives. From ordering food to connecting with friends, everything is available on our phones, and we've all experienced a clunky app in the past.

Yet, companies cannot afford the luxury of a poorly designed app. Mobile application design can make or break an app, and CTOs must be aware of what makes a good UI/UX in order to create better user experiences.

Why Does Mobile App Design Matter?

Mobile applications have become a significant part of our lives. With billions of people using smartphones daily, it's not hard to see why so many businesses are looking into creating mobile apps for their products and services.

However, design is often overlooked in the mobile app building process, which can cost your company dearly. A poorly designed app can lead to a bad user experience, low ratings, fewer downloads, and a reduced user base. Every business needs to make sure that the design process is taken seriously before rushing into development. Let's explore some of the reasons that make design such an important part of mobile app development.

  • Great UX/UI captivates users: Most users won't spend more than a few minutes browsing an app unless they love it or feel comfortable using it. A clean, functional interface works wonders on user experience.
  • It's cost-effective: The time and effort spent on good design is something users will definitely notice and has the potential to drive more users to your app.
  • Mobile app usage is growing: Statista found that in 2020, there were 218 billion mobile app downloads worldwide. As users switch from desktop to mobile, having a good, functional app isn't a choice anymore.

8 Mobile App UI/UX Best Practices

Mobile app design comes with a series of particular challenges that are different from desktop app design. But that doesn't make mobile apps necessarily more difficult to build. Instead, it's more accurate to say that they are two different beasts, each with its own set of challenges and best practices. Here are some mobile app design best practices that specifically impact UI/UX:

Use Animations and Micro-Interactions

Don't confuse animations and micro-interactions with pretty graphics on a screen that only simulate movement. Micro-interactions engage the user enabling him or her to accomplish the task at hand and interact with the product. Micro-interactions enhance the feedback users receive and —when done right— are another layer of non-textual information that users receive from the system, such as a check mark when you've completed an action in your bank's mobile app or pulling down for refresh, for instance.

Personalize Content

Personalization is an important part of mobile UX. It helps users go through their journeys easily and with less friction because it offers them the content and interactions they're most likely to consume. Plus, it makes sure that your marketing messages align with what the visitor actually wants. A headless CMS can integrate with a mobile app to enhance your personalization offer.

Allow Spacing and Padding

Small screens shouldn't mean smaller text or cluttered displays. Don't let text and other elements overlap and improve legibility by playing around with the fonts, line heights, and element spacing. Also, mobile designers need to be mindful of the different mobile displays as rounded devices, and rectangular screens might require additional considerations.

Keep Navigation Simple

Tab and navigation bars are part of every app. While you can innovate and be creative with your icons and colors, don't go overboard with them as an off-looking tab is enough for users to download another app. Don't add more than three or four icons to your navigation bar and create a side-scrolling menu where users can see the other options.

Remember Design Consistency

Consistent design is a must for every mobile app. Humans are creatures of habit, and consistency and familiarity are two things that keep us glued to our screens. Every part of your mobile app needs to be consistent in design, typography, interface, and interactions. Try to use standard design sequences for your menus and settings, so your app looks and feels intuitive to every user, no matter what your app is offering.

Always Make It Easy

App users all want to complete the interactions as fast as possible. UX designers need to make sure that they eliminate all the friction between each step. Removing everything that isn't vital to complete each action and progress to the next one is one of the most important UX/UI design tenets. This means simplifying checkouts, making it easier for users to fill forms and input information.

Design for One Hand

Mobile apps are all about accessibility, and the idea is that every person can use your app no matter what. UX/UI designers need to design apps whose main actions and functions can be accessed while holding the telephone with a single hand. Before you even start building your app, make sure that every action can be comfortably done with a single hand, be it left or right.

Focus On Speed

Mobile networks are often considerably slower than WiFi or broadband connections. That means that designers can't afford the luxury of designing sluggish apps or interfaces that require extensive data use. This includes reducing the amount of content that the app needs to load each time a user enters and even preloading portions of the app for faster performance.

Transform Your Idea Into a Successful Mobile App with Salsita

The process of building a mobile app all starts with solid research about your idea and your message. Once we validate your idea, we build it and test it. We conduct user testing, check analytics, review customer feedback, and do everything we can to gather insights about any problems you could face and uncover those you may not know about.

At Salsita, we provide design-driven development services that cover the entire software development cycle, from product discovery to UX research and UX design to frontend and backend development and deployment.

However, our involvement does not end when the project is completed. We help you configure your deployment environment on popular cloud platforms such as AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud. We can also help submit mobile apps to the Apple and Google app stores and help you with maintenance and product support. For more information about our UX/UI services, read more here: Salsita UX Design Services

UX & Design

Razi Alakhdar - Marketing Manager

Razi is a marketing pro who helps companies succeed through effective marketing optimization, product validation, and lead gen.

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