Design Mistakes That Kill Applications
You don't have to be an experienced designer to understand that there's much more to design than just being appealing to the eye. It has to be fully compatible with the functional filling. There some general design mistakes, that are often understated by software owners, when they decide on the final appearance of a screen; and that's bad, first for users, who show disappointment with the app, then for the software owner, if it fails. Good apps are described as quick, easy-to-use, elegant and intuitive. But what does it exactly mean, and how can you reach those qualities? Here are the critical design mistakes to absolutely avoid in mobile applications.
The software product must be designed for end users; that's a sure priority. If there is a contradiction between what you want to see, and what your users want to see - choose the latter. If the buttons have to look quite small, leave the hit area bigger for bigger fingers anyway. There are lots of subtleties a designer can help you with. Just don't neglect a piece of advice that can make the app do or die. The other way to know is gathering user feedback - that's the information of the highest value; consider their suggestions on improving the software product.
Another simple rule that sometimes gets forgotten. Reproducing a web page with minimal changes for the mobile version means no good. The additional time (and money) on rethinking the mobile website is worth spending; moreover, it's an absolute necessity. Tablet and smartphone users tend to be more precise while browsing - they know what they need, and they need to get there as soon as possible. While a desktop website can hold much more information on a screen, mobile apps and websites must be designed for performing precise tasks with a minimum of screens to go through.
Mobile is no desktop; and mobile platforms have a lot of distinctions in the look and feel of the UI. You cannot install an iOS application on a BlackBerry or Android smartphone; sure you'll have to design them differently either. Even a cross-platform solution requires being adapted to a platform's interface.
What's an unintuitive design? Let's figure that out. First, it's when a seemingly simple app is hardly understandable without a tutorial (an obvious UI failure). And if the app requires a tutorial, make it unintrusive, stylish, simple; keep explanations clear and laconic, let them show the value of the app. Don't make the foremost features and menus hard to find. Second, confusing button placement and navigation. People got used to standard buttons and basic gestures; and if it's possible to use them the way they are, you really should.
'Simple' is one of the most frequent words in app descriptions; it means convenience for users, and it's a good incentive to download the application. Excess is never good in mobile software; on the other hand, mobile software mustn't be lacking anything visually. It's a complicated task to create something minimalistic and beautiful; the purpose of design is to find the perfect, welcoming balance, and keep the planned functionality intact. Again, too many features can kill the application by making it confusing in use. A bad design with excessive elements, details and animation also can slow down the application; then it has to be reworked. Excess may also increase battery drain, which also kills the wish to use the app.
Less acute for iOS with its limited range of hardware, but vital to other platforms. Mobile devices aren't equally powerful in processing graphics and other data. Avoid heavy content that slows the app down: large images, heavy animations, videos etc. You don't want to lose numerous users of low-end mobile devices, do you?
Very irritating on a smartphone, less irritating but not welcome on a tablet. If there has to be a registration or some other kind of unavoidable text input, keep it as simple as possible, leave unnecessary details behind. If you want too much info from users, most of them will be likely to put your app aside.
Last, but by no means the least. Apps may launch and load screens relatively long. That's not the thing that actually irritates users. What does, is a blank screen. During a wait, there's got to be something for users to look at; something simple and not overlong. Look at the launch animations of the most popular social apps, and see how this problem was solved.
These are the most common design mistakes that kill applications. Experienced designers know all of them, and since you know them too, it will help you reach understanding much faster. Good luck in your beginnings, and may your apps get plenty of devoted users!
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