Best Practices to Elevate Your Mobile App Design

Reading Time : 11min read
Mobile App Design Blog Image

Best Practices to Elevate Your Mobile App Design

There is a good chance that you’ve encountered mobile apps that fall short of your expectations, no matter what their intended purpose is for. Many times, it simply boils down to poor wireframe design for mobile apps.

So, it is important to study what effective mobile app design and development can look like — both from a developer’s perspective, and from that of its end users. Mobile app design is a continually evolving project, requiring ongoing improvements based on user feedback and market trends.

Here, we will consider how to design a mobile app with core methodologies and practices to elevate that app design process. With that understanding, you will then be able to provide more thorough testing strategies to achieve greater development success with our mobile design.

The Core of Mobile App Design

As with every technical process, there are essential principles which underpin effective mobile app design. Those principles include:

  • Simplicity – Overly complicated design can hinder development efforts, and it can become frustrating for users as well. It is crucial to design as simply as possible for mobile devices, considering aspects like sensors and thumb-driven navigation.
  • User friendliness – We’re working toward achieving end user satisfaction, right? That is why it makes sense to consider the degree of eventual user friendliness when designing any mobile app. Designing for mobile screens in particular ensures ease of use and intuitive navigation.
  • Personalized experiences – Will your completed product “speak” to its users? Increasingly, we all expect interactions with tech devices to better understand and anticipate our behaviors. When we design with those personalized experiences in mind, we are taking great strides to ensure users will have more positive encounters with what we design.

Adherence to these principles will help you to create intuitive interfaces that facilitate seamless user interaction. Doing so allows you to ensure your app attracts and retains as many users as possible.

Why Design Matters

An intuitive, user-centric design is crucial in enhancing user satisfaction and retention. Conversely, a design that users find challenging to either understand or operate will result in significantly less use.

Think about how pivotal design can be in facilitating an efficient and enjoyable user experience. From visual appeal and layout to touchpoints and processes, as well as the importance of interactive design elements that are familiar, predictable, and easy to tap, design matters.

Understanding User Needs

Let us now think about how certain techniques and strategies can help engineers analyze and understand the user needs that need to be prioritized during the mobile design process, and how to address them.

Gather and interpret user feedback. Technology today allows us to track user behaviors more than ever before, and it presents an opportunity to identify moments which users find counterintuitive, or when they might abandon the App Store product entirely. Additionally, many end users happily share feedback or reviews of their experiences, either for the benefit of other users or to help your design team know what to improve upon.

Utilize analytics. A number of tools exist to collect data for analytics — do some research to figure out which are most appropriate for your own needs and make note of user behaviors. Are they using the mobile app in a way you intended? You might also learn of features that are going unused; analytics can help you learn about that, as well.

Apply this information to create a user-centered design. Gathering information about all that user behavior is great, but it’s all for naught if it doesn’t then inform revisions and updates.

Taken together, user data and research should be prioritized when making design choices and allocating resources throughout the development process. Doing so will only enhance the app’s relevance to its target audience.

Engaging Mobile Users

Okay, so let’s say that you’ve successfully released a mobile app to the general public. Hooray! But then you notice something concerning: use of the app is not as frequent as you had hoped.

The answer, in one word, is engagement.

Engagement strategies should be key to any development cycle. They exist to help us consider ways to hook users with interactive content, timely updates and notifications, and even robust community-building features.

To maximize engagement, consider the peak hours of mobile usage and time your push notifications accordingly. For example, there may be periods of time when users are online and active on different apps, but not yours; perhaps that would be a good time to give them a reason to check in on yours.

However, user engagement strategies are not simply a one-and-done step of the development cycle. It’s important to continuously update and refresh applications with new content, features, and functionality to keep users interested and engaged.

Personalization

The impact of customizing user experiences within an app to enhance engagement and satisfaction simply cannot be overstated. Considering mobile users’ expectations for fast loading time, ease of use, and satisfaction during use is crucial. It can save end users time, accelerate their comfort in using the application, and it increases the chances they will recommend it to friends and colleagues.

Gamification

Integrating game-like design elements can increase user interactivity and make the app more engaging. Video game popularity is soaring, and users don’t necessarily need to have an exclusive game download to enjoy features that add a bit of fun.

Push Notifications

It’s a busy world we live in today. If you struggle to stay on top of to-do lists and obligations, you are not alone!

So, it makes sense that users – no matter how engaged they are with your app – might benefit from mobile app design best practices, such as push notifications to remind them of updates, new features, or even tracking objectives that they need to stay on top of.

Mobile App Design Best Practices in UI/UX

A mobile app designer plays a crucial role in creating the visual and interactive elements of a mobile application. This multidisciplinary role involves user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design, ensuring a seamless and intuitive experience for users within the constraints and opportunities of mobile platforms.

Ultimately, we are all driven to create an engaging and user-friendly mobile app. And, with UI/UX in mind, there are best practices that professionals at Kobiton have come to understand and recommend for all clients.

  • Effective layout design. With limited space to make use of, it becomes paramount that mobile app designers consider the value each component brings to the UX. Redundant or complicated touchpoints? Get rid of them. Adhering to platform guidelines for iOS and Android is crucial to creating a cohesive and native experience.
  • Coherent color scheme. Consistency and on-brand color schemes are key, and they impact so much more than just UX — they can affect the way users think about the brand itself. The importance of user interface design, including animation, UI kits, and design tools, cannot be overstated.
  • Accessibility for all users. Accessibility measures in general benefit so many more individuals than just those who absolutely need them (think about how television captions can be useful, even for those without hearing impairments). Accessibility measures can also impact SEO rankings and are increasingly anticipated to be in place by users.

There are other best practices, of course, and below we will dial in a bit closer to learn about them.

Intuitive Navigation

This is the principle of designing an app with easy-to-understand, logical navigation paths for the best user experience, considering how users interact with the application, including gestures like swiping, pinching, or tapping. It sounds like common sense, but we all know how quickly mobile app development priorities can complicate the process.

Responsive Design for Mobile Apps

Mobile-first design is one of many mobile app design best practices, and it is vital that your applications visually and functionally adapt across different devices and screens. Delay in responsiveness can be irksome, at best; it can lead to user abandonment in a worst-case scenario.

Visual Hierarchy

Every application is designed with an expectation that users will take certain actions more frequently than others. Visual elements like buttons, icons, and graphics are crucial in creating intuitive experiences and optimizing interfaces for touch on limited mobile screens. That, friends, is where visual hierarchy comes into play. This strategy allows engineers to direct user focus toward critical elements through design, ensuring seamless user interaction with the app throughout.

Image of UX vs UI

Technical Best Practices for Optimal Design

Now let us discuss some of the crucial aspects of app performance and optimization. Investing in techniques to enhance speed, ensure reliability, and improve overall user satisfaction is time well spent.

It is also important to consider designing for Android apps, taking into account different device resolutions, responsive design for mobile apps, and the need to design for various device types and platforms within the Android ecosystem.

Here, I will share actionable insights on how developers like you can minimize load time, boost system efficiency, and significantly reduce an app’s impact on battery life.

Scalability in Design

It’s important to design apps that can easily be scaled, in both functionality and user base, without degrading its performance or impacting UI/UX. To do so, smart engineers will consider server infrastructure, data handling, and the adaptability of the UI/UX design.

A selection of illustrations showcasing wireframes for different types of mobile apps

Maintainability and Code Quality

When writing clean, modular code that allows for easy updates and maintenance, there are important considerations to keep in mind: documentation, code reviews, and a solid mobile app testing framework. Each one can help you to ensure ongoing app quality and performance.

Security Considerations

Precautions related to security should always be prioritized as a critical aspect of development and include data protection, secure communication protocol, and authentication methods to safeguard user information and enhance trust in the app.

Integrating Third-Party Services

Often, we include third-party services within an application’s functionality. It is vital to understand, then, the importance of selecting reliable services, managing API keys, and ensuring smooth user experience through these integrations.

Feedback and Testing

I have already shared how important customer feedback and user data can be, especially when it comes to evaluating the best ways to update your software applications. There are a number of traditional (and newly trending) methods you can use to achieve significant feedback and testing processes.

Usability Testing

How often do you check in with your users? They decided to explore your application, so at some point they had at least some small degree of interest. Personally, I am a strong advocate for regular testing with real users, to identify and rectify design issues that could hinder user experience. Despite our best testing efforts, there are so many issues that can still come up for those we design the apps for. To maintain and increase market share, it’s important that designers be aware of those potential issues.

Iterative Design

Here’s one more: iterative design. It’s vital to encourage continuous improvement based on user feedback. It can help to create an effective, efficient, and enjoyable app. And isn’t that at the heart of all we strive to do? Mobile app design best practices like this one can enhance and shape user experiences over time.

Image of important elements for a good mobile app design

Next Steps

By prioritizing both the aesthetic and functional aspects of mobile app interface design, we can foster user satisfaction and business success. Both concepts should be equally prioritized, and it’s important that we make note of popular strategies to do so.

If you’re ready to experience firsthand the benefits of streamlining your own mobile app design process, then look no further: Get a Free Demo Today!

Get a Kobiton Demo

Interested in Learning More?

Subscribe today to stay informed and get regular updates from Kobiton

Ready to accelerate delivery of
your mobile apps?

Request a Demo