Our colleagues from G2 share the top 5 tips on how to use app design to attract new users from the first sign. Use these for both increasing the number of installs and keeping your users engaged.
App design is so much more than just its look and feel. First impressions are 94 percent design-related, from user interface elements like the use of color to what kind of user experience your navigation provides. Successful mobile app design requires your UI & UX design to work together to keep your customers engaged and coming back for more.
Good app design takes a variety of factors into account, but it should always be done with a “user-first” approach. It’s also important to keep the general principles of design in mind and how they will translate to the digital space.
App design systems
There are two main design systems: Human Interface Guidelines on iOS and Material on Android. These are design guidelines specific to each operating system that contain principles and patterns for commonly used elements like headers, bottom sheets, cards, etc. Utilizing a design system can make the process of updating your app go a little smoother.
While app design systems ensure performance, they can also be flexible. They are typically slightly tweaked, or in some cases fully customized, by the designer. These guidelines allow teams to work smarter, even across departments.
Airbnb uses a design language system to better communicate cross-functionally, using a shared vocabulary across design, engineering, and other departments. It’s essentially your app’s design dictionary, plus pictures.
5 tips to make your app easier to use
In order to make your app more user-friendly, your UI and UX designs have to work together seamlessly.
1. Don’t drain the battery
If your app eats up a ton of battery life, your users are less likely to open it. Screen brightness and screen color are the biggest factors in mobile battery consumption, along with background services like location.
Google actually admits to being wrong. Say that again? Google’s Material Design initiative encourages designers to use white as their primary color for apps.
Apps that require heavy screentime like YouTube have started to roll out “dark mode” to cut down on battery usage. According to Google, when used at full brightness on their Pixel smartphone, YouTube in dark mode used 43 percent less power than normal.
2. Simple navigation wins every time
You shouldn’t try to reinvent the wheel. Try to use standard sequences for your navigation menu, like the iOS tab bar or Android nav drawer. Users are familiar with these common patterns, so your app will be more intuitive to them.
It’s important that your app’s navigation menu is always visible, and doesn’t jump around as the user moves through the app. If you choose to use icons in your navigation bar, make sure their purpose is clear to the user. You should prioritize certain features over others in your navigation. If necessary, create a primary, secondary, and even tertiary menu.
This concept uses a scaled down navigation menu, just an arrow to represent a “back” command and a magnifying glass that signifies “search”. These two symbols never move as you move around the app.
This app navigation pattern also takes advantage of some common gestures, like swiping left to right to sort through the various news topics.
3. Choose colors and fonts wisely
Colors are important for both UX and UI design. Should you sacrifice your clean white look in order to save battery? How many colors is too many? Think about your brand identity when you’re making these tough design decisions.
For example, high-contrast colors can make your user interface “pop” more than if you used like colors. But there is more to color choice than just the way it looks. Think about the readability of both fonts and colors.
Did you know that 45 percent of the global population experiences color-blindness? You have to think about the function of colors when designing your app.
Obviously, green means go. But without these symbols next to the form fields, a color-blind user wouldn’t know which input is creating the error.
4. Visual weight makes a difference
It’s necessary that you anticipate your users’ needs without anticipating their actions. Quickly give your users the information they are seeking using varying weights for different sections. Think about headlines and body copy–the weight of these two elements should reflect their level of importance.
The Watering Tracker app’s main goal is to tell users when it’s time to water their plants. The most vital information has the highest visual weight.
What catches your eye? While the app gives users a ton of other information about the health of the plant, the user can quickly see that it needs to be watered tomorrow.
5. Consistency is key
Your app design should be consistent throughout the entire property, visually and functionally. It should look and act the same way on every page. Note that your Android and iOS app design will be different and that’s okay. Just be consistent on each platform, and keep the design’s core look and feel. Plus, your app developer is also likely to use at least one software development kit (SDK), like the Facebook profile login, so try to design your app with this in mind as well.
The design of your app should also carry over to your website, and all other branded materials. External consistency will help build credibility and avoid confusion with your users.
Uber’s branding is easy to spot from a mile away. From the rider-focused mobile app to the driver-focused website, Uber is consistent with colors, fonts, and the overall modern feel.
Does this form look familiar to you? That’s because it’s very similar to the fields you would fill out if you were requesting a ride within the app.
A make it work moment
Great app design requires exceptional UI and UX design–think fashion meets function. It’s the only way to really stand out in today’s crowded market and give your users the best overall experience with your app.
You may be wondering how these tips are connected to mobile user acquisition. Simple: they will be complaining about app’s disadvantages in their reviews and rate your app with one- or two-star rating. If you don’t get back to them, they will keep on updating it, and your app will be losing its precious downloads. So work on app design to let your app rank higher.
This article was originally published on learn.g2crowd.