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The 3 keys to good mobile app design

Posted By: Jason

Since the dawn of the smartphone, mobile app development has become a hugely influential industry - it’s hard to remember a time before apps! We use them for everything from shopping to socialising, and good design is central to the success or failure of each. These are the three keys to getting it right…

Good responsive design

Good responsive design is key to any mobile app development. In most cases, every screen within the application needs to be designed with both portrait and landscape orientations in mind. Unless the function of the app requires a specific orientation, users will expect to be able to rotate their device and have the interface alter accordingly. Responsive design also means accounting for different screen sizes. Mobile phones come with a variety of screen dimensions and the same can be said of tablets. A well-designed app will account for each variation and be equally user friendly across the board.

Mobile optimised menus

One of the most frustrating aspects of a poorly designed mobile app is a tricky menu. The menu opens the door to each area of the app, so the functionality of the site is lowered if it is difficult to navigate. Mobile app menus need to be clearly visible across all screens, for example, by using the widely recognised button featuring three horizontal lines. Upon tapping the button, the menu expands to fill the screen. Unlike a website, using too many sub-menus in a mobile app can become cumbersome. The key is to keep things simple, such as a few clearly marked options, in a single drop-down list.

Carefully planned content

Make sure content is being considered right from the very start of your design process. How much text will you need per page? Will images be used? A good tip is to avoid too much copy. Remember that many users will be viewing the app on relatively small phone screens, meaning that fonts need to be of a legible size to read comfortably. In addition, lines of copy will wrap sooner on narrow screens, meaning that blocks of text become truncated. This gives the impression of much longer blocks of copy, which can become off-putting if the user has to scroll too much. Try to keep content large enough to view easily but ideally within the dimensions of a single screen.