Proven Design Practices are Key to an App’s Success
No matter what industry you’re in, what demographic you serve, or what initiatives you’re launching, everything you execute should have your audience experience in mind. How do you meet their needs? How can you be of service, how can you delight them and keep them engaged? Creativity and innovation are valuable assets of course, but when it comes to mobile app design, using tried-and-true best practices is what will garner the adoption and retention you're after and will deliver the greatest experience.
Don’t Redesign the Wheel
Having familiar navigation and intuitive design puts users at ease when entering a new app. It allows them to seamlessly maneuver through features and functionalities. Let’s look at the design elements that help make an app successful:
· A Clean, Uncluttered Screen
Real estate on a mobile screen is at a premium and must be utilized wisely. Having standard, readable fonts and a clear, simple layout are fundamental principles as well as including only what information is necessary to prompt action or enable a user to complete a desired task. Your app is not your website; Eliminate extraneous information and graphics to keep the app visually appealing and efficient.
· Consistent Navigation
This is a big one. Native mobile apps are designed specifically for iOS or Android, which differ in structure and flow. Users tend to be loyal to their platform and expect the apps they use to have a standard way of giving them directional cues. Incorporate navigational tools that are similar to the ones they use most frequently such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Amazon. Look at their navigational designs and replicate them to ensure user comfort. In iOS devices, the main navigation bar is along the bottom; in Android devices, the navigation options are usually behind the menu icon. These should be consistent throughout your app as should directions to swipe and tap. Navigation drives the experience, so pay close attention to it throughout the app.
· Familiar Icons
As mobile apps have expanded, a language of icons has emerged. These symbols used by developers have come to stand for certain actions. For example, when a user is looking to change their settings, they look for the cog or widget icon. If users see a magnifying glass, they know they can use it to search. There is no need to create new or confusing icons, just use the icons that have already become part of our digital language. Screen space is limited, if you can easily convey a call to action with an icon or symbol, then you should.
· Clear Calls to Action
The success of your app depends on how successfully users can use it to complete tasks and enrich their lives. Whether they want to pay their dues, subscribe to a podcast, register for an event, join a forum, share a post, download a presentation, or message a friend, they need to be able to figure out how to do it with minimal effort. Some of these might be buttons, some tabs, but whatever the call to action is, it needs to be logical and intuitive.
Whether it’s navigation bars, tabs, switches, toggles, menus, buttons, fonts, transitions, or any other design element, the key is to adhere to the design guidelines, emulate the navigation of the best apps, and remain consistent throughout as you create a space for your members to interact with your organization and the community you serve.