How to Create Interactive Mobile App Designs
With a growing usage of smartphones and tablets; mobile app development market is evolving enormously. In addition to this, startups and well-established businesses are realizing the importance of having a mobile app. Most of the popular brands have already come up with their own applications. But, creating a highly-functional mobile app is not a cakewalk. You need to consider several aspects when it comes to designing and developing a mobile app.
Designing is an important phase of mobile app development and it must be created carefully. If you are planning to launch a mobile app in 2017, here are some of the most important user interface design principles:
- Good interaction design
Whether you have less screen space, the basic rule of good interaction design will always apply. Let’s have a look at five important aspects of interactive design that must be considered while designing a mobile app:
- Goal-driven Design: Since you are going to create an app for your target users. An in-depth market research will help you design personas for the audience most likely to use your upcoming mobile app. It will enable you to plan specific goals for your audience, and create your app’s workflow to satisfy their needs.
- Usability: The usability of your upcoming app must be seamless. If your users can’t use your app flawlessly, then they will soon uninstall it. Usability makes a product more valuable, which is the initial step in being worthwhile.
- Signifiers: The Signifiers are another most important factor. For instance, blue yet underlined text signifies that clicking on it will lead you elsewhere. Make sure all the signifiers are used correctly, so users won’t be confused while using your mobile app.
- Know Your Audience
Screen size and a good interface is not the only thing that should be considered in the mobile design. You really need to know your audience before building a goal-driven app UI. Three basic strategies can be used to understand your target audience:
- Personas: Personas are fictional characters shaped from the expected behavior of your potential users. It will enable you to determine what users are expecting from your app.
- User Scenarios: Scenarios give intuition into how a persona will act. With user scenarios, it’s easy to create a UI that best fits them and the objects they want to achieve.
- Experience maps: Here, you will need to explore all the possible circumstances for a single interaction. Experience maps chart and all the steps. Try to understand all the emotions that are surrounding those actions.
Don’t forget to perform usability testing sessions between each major development session. You can even conduct some remote usability testing with a reliable service such as UserTesting, so you can determine how users use your app in natural surroundings.
- Closed Source vs Open Source development
It is another most important consideration that must be taken into account when you are going to design your app. Open Source signifies a software for which the source code is available for free, and can be modified. Android is the best example of an open-source operating system that allows you to use source code and create the custom operating systems. On the contrary, iOS is closed-source so there no real opportunity to make a new operating system. The design of your upcoming mobile app will be based on the type of operating system you are targeting, so you really need to choose one. You can also go with the Apache Cordova (PhoneGap) mobile app development which is an open source framework. It will help you develop a single API that will work flawlessly on Android, iOS, and other mobile operating systems. If you have made a decision and chosen the right framework and operating system, you can easily create the best possible design for your mobile application.
- Mapping out the Content and building User Flows
Before you start developing an app, it’s vital to create a simple prototype. It’s easy to sketch out user flows according to your research. Prototype doesn’t need to be fancy — it can be drawn on paper. However, it is the best way to find out users flow between content and actions. Sketching a prototype or writing an outline will provide you with an exact assessment of the pages required for developing your app. As a next step, you need to design a sketch for every page of your flow. You can even use digital prototyping tool such as UXPin.
- Enhance Usability
The mobile design turns around several device-specific differences i.e. posture, thumb placement, and orientation. So, you need to explore popular interfaces and study the standard mobile patterns. This research will empower you to design an UI that will definitely engage the users. It’s not recommended to flat-out copy the designs of other apps. But, try to use common UI patterns as a criterion for usability, then use your own creativity.
- Gestures: Smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices are defined by gestures such as Touch, swipe, zoom, pinch, and double-tap.
- Animations: Motion keeps users engaged in the UI while adding context. There’s a huge difference between elements that slide out of sight and those vanish. When animations are used with gestures, they provide the unique user experience.
- Gradients and Shadows
Shadows and gradients are still on trend, and you should use them in your mobile app UI too. You can use shadows while creating buttons, visual cues, and toggles. The Shadows and gradients make UI look much more real. You can even use them to design input forms and 3D buttons. Some inset and outset elements where you can use Gradients and Shadows are listed below:
- Slider tracks
- Input fields
- Pressed buttons
- Unselected radio buttons
- Slider buttons
- Dropdown controls
- Unpressed buttons
- Selected radio buttons
- DIY App Builder
In order to get a well-designed mobile app, you may need to hire a professional designer and developer. Unfortunately, mobile app developers can be very costly and unreliable. Thankfully, there is a better option available called DIY app builder software. The main advantage of DIY apps is the relatively low price. Business owners can use DIY app software on a monthly basis to develop interactive mobile applications and promote their businesses. Compared to the expense of designing a mobile app from scratch, this is an excellent way to go. DIY applications can be created in-house, without any need of developer because the software provides a large number of pre-designed templates that you can customize and implement without any coding skills. Some DIY app builder platforms are so advanced that can help you integrate e-commerce sites and social media platforms with some exciting features such as push notifications.
Hope all these above-mentioned tips will help you create the best possible design for your upcoming mobile application. In this competitive digital marketplace, it has become very challenging to build a successful mobile app. Hence it’s advised to keep your end-users in mind while designing an app.
Nabeena Mali loves riding fixed gear bikes and does digital marketing, in that order. She drives digital growth at AppInstitute, a DIY app builder platform for small businesses and blogs about mobile trends and actionable digital strategies.