The world of mobile application design is evolving every day. Companies are constantly vying for the honour of the finest app, and designers are constantly searching for new and inventive ways to wow their clients. With so many shiny options available, it's easy to get carried away on a tide of inspiration and fail to pay attention to the fundamentals that ensure your app functions flawlessly.
Here are three essential mobile app design tips to ensure you never forget the fundamentals...
1. Know your users
The first step in any app design process should always be getting to know your users. The desires and requirements of your user base are going to have a far greater impact on design requirements than anything else. The better you know your users, the more efficiently you will be able to anticipate their needs.
There are many ways you can get to know your target audience, but three of the best are personas, user scenarios, and experience maps.
Personas are the fictional characters we fashion based on the behaviour we expect from our target users. They're useful in that they enable you to determine the driving factors behind user decisions and actions.
User scenarios are great for gaining insight into the ways in which personas will act. You essentially design a UI which suits them best and is most likely to achieve their goals.
Experience maps allow you to explore every possible condition for a single interaction. They chart every step personas are likely to make while using your app. This helps you to understand the circumstances and emotions surrounding those steps.
2. Map out content and user flows
Design and research are not isolated, they function in tandem. When you're planning your app, you must take this into account and map them out as they relate to each other from the start. A written outline will help you explore your app's most essential element – the content. Building user flows around that content will allow you to assess the total number of pages needed for your app far more effectively.
3. Fingers can be fat...
This is a very simple but often overlooked fact. Fingers are far thicker than a pixel-precise mouse, pointer, or cursor. Pay attention to your design and ensure it's finger-friendly!