Are you designing a brand new mobile app? Here are some alarming numbers that you should know:
- 2.87 million apps are available in Google Play
- The Apple App Store comes second with 1.96 million apps
- The Windows Store offers 669,000 apps
- The Amazon Appstore provides 455,000 apps
And no, we aren’t discouraging you. We’re hoping to inspire you to come up with ideas that will make your app shine the brightest. As you can see, the competition is tough (to put it mildly!).
Scratching your head? We have listed below some helpful mobile app design tips to get you started. Pay heed, and you’ll surely succeed in making an impression.
1. Use a grid to design your app
In design history, the grid system occupies a central place. It has helped create masterpieces – graphic posters, logo designs, websites, and of course, mobile apps.
You may not see it, but every surface has an invisible grid. This acts as a wonderful guide to define the spacing. It is a 2D structure made of a series of curved or intersecting straight lines and serves as a framework that designers use to organize graphic elements in an easy-to-absorb manner.
- It’ll bring order to a layout, and make it easier for app users to navigate and find what they need.
- Improve efficiency by allowing you to quickly add elements to the layout.
- Provide a plan to other designers in the team regarding where to place design or graphic elements.
- Facilitate consistency throughout the design of the app.
For instance, see this grid-based layout below by Christine Wisnieski and see how neatly each element aligns to form a visually appealing result.
2. Think of OS-driven Personalization
Android has a different UI and so does iOS and Windows. Along with a different UI, every operating system has a unique set of design guidelines and unique aesthetics.
For example, Android phones come with a back button that can help users return to the previous screens in the app, but iPhones don’t have this button. So, app designers have to create a way for visitors to travel back to the previous screen.
Similarly, on iOS, the text is centered, but for Android, it’s left-aligned in the navigation bar.
3. Understand different screen resolutions and sizes
The flexibility of design is a key consideration, especially when the market is flooded with mobile phones of different screen sizes and resolutions. Take the varying models of the iPhone, for instance.
Because of this – you have to ensure that your app’s interface is adaptable. Sometimes this means to relegate functions to external buttons. In other cases, it may translate to making the functions a part of the app’s interface. Choose a font size that will be readable all the time, along with the option for manual adjustment.
Additionally, the interface scheme should easily adjust to landscape and portrait configurations of the screen.
But, mobile phone screens shouldn’t be your only concern. You need to also consider smart TVs, smartwatches, and other devices where your app might be available. Optimize the design for as many screen sizes and resolutions as possible.
4. Don’t go too fancy with the navigation
Navigation is the most important feature of any app and not a place for you to experiment with your creativity or try unconventional methods. It may leave visitors feeling confused, lost, and frustrated!
To ensure a smooth navigation experience from one screen to another, it would be great for designers to collaborate with app developers.
Remember, most mobile users love simple app navigation. Keep your messaging simple. Provide concise and clear labels for actions.
For example, check how we have designed Duke.ai. We have labeled all the actions in simple terms and made it easy for app users to explore and use the app.
5. Get on with the dark mode trend
3 billion smartphone users across the globe approximately spend an average of 3 to 6 hours on their phones. This not just drains the phone’s battery, but also something more deadly – strains the eyes! The solution? Dark mode theme!
In May 2020, Google announced the rollout of dark mode for its apps on iOS and Android. After Google’s adoption, several other brands, such as OnePlus jumped onto the dark theme wagon for their apps. 2021 is poised to be the year when mobile app designers will focus on dark modes for apps, and even use glowing and neon gradients to pop up the elements against a dark background. This is exactly how we designed Corpus ATV application. The dark background does not put too much stress on users’ eyes and the colored elements help them find what they need easily.
6. Include VUI
VUI (voice user interface) makes use of the technology of speech recognition to expedite a connection between technology and app user. Voice chatbots and virtual assistants are expected to be one of the hottest mobile app design trends in 2021.
VUI can be a lot like a personal assistant – understanding present needs and predicting future needs. It has changed the way users search for information as this UX design lets users use voice interaction with graphical interfaces. VUI can make your app more convenient to use and interactive. This human-centered design technology can give a real boost to the overall experience of using an app.
7. Mix up the simplicity of the app’s design with 3D elements
Keeping the design of your app simple is heartily welcomed. But, ensure that it isn’t so simple that it has no pizzazz or panache. To mix things up, you can rely on the use of immersive 3D elements. Since the trend of VR and AR technologies are popular today, it is the perfect time to create hyper-realistic 3D graphics that will light up the screen of the users and provide them with an exhilarating experience. The time has come for UI/UX designers to prettify mobile apps with 3D technology!