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Everything you need to know about mobile app design

When it comes to creating a mobile application design, chances are you want something that looks beautiful, works responsively, transitions quickly, feeds into your overall branding and engages the user effectively. This is all something Lexel is able to achieve and we are very proud of the many amazing mobile apps that we have created - incorporating both precise coding and great design.

However, there's a reason why we're specialists in what we do; it's pretty complex stuff. What may seem really straightforward on the surface is actually a network of detailed information and strict rules that ensure everything works as you'd expect. Although this may seem technical, it's worth knowing about in order to ensure swift and easy mobile application development.

Get back to basics

Firstly, when it comes to designing mobile apps, everything exists as part of an invisible grid. It works as a canvas in which designers and app builders can then start adding your words, designs, logo, margins and padding. This is what makes your design work effectively and cohesively. Try not to think too 'off canvas' when coming up with ideas because it just won't fit in with this grid. If you're not sure, ask whomever you're working with for them to explain what can and can't be done.

Keep it consistent

It is also important to remember that 'consistency is king'. Make sure you keep your spacing is all the same throughout and don't play around with lots of different font sizes or families. Also, stick to a cohesive colour palette. You don't want to bombard or confuse the user and complicate the process. They need to feel as though the app is easy to navigate around and, while part of this will be based on the site map, it'll also be influenced by how it looks aesthetically. If you choose one particular font family or colour for buttons or calls to action, it is important to repeat this throughout the app. It will help it become familiar and increase usability.

Colour balance

When using colour, keep in mind that different hues can help to draw attention to certain areas. For example, adding shadowing behind a button or making a call-to-action darker will raise awareness of it and help it to pop out from the screen. This will encourage greater action, which is ultimately the desired response. If you match your buttons with the background, don't expect them to get seen. They'll just get lost - it's crucial that they stand out. In this same light, when it comes to choosing fonts, make sure they're easy to read. It doesn't matter how creative they look, if they're impossible to understand, your message won't get conveyed.

Attention to detail

Your landing page for the app is going to dictate how people use the app and it is important to spend a lot of time getting this right. The saying may be 'don't judge a book by its cover' but if your opening slide is not easy to navigate, aesthetically pleasing or clear about what you do, people will soon switch off.

Test the market

Finally, do your research and be aware of trends. At the moment, designers are gravitating towards more flat designs - think of how your phone looks; there isn't much shadowing or texture and everything feels quite two-dimensional. However, trends often change and while it is important to fit in around what others are doing so that you don't stand out too dramatically, it's also key to not be defined by it. Just be aware of what your audience is used to seeing and doing as that will help their reaction.

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For more inspiration, see our three essential mobile app design tips. To discuss mobile application design and development with us, get in touch today.