Designing beautiful mobile apps is actually more of a science than an artform. While there is room to be creative, strict rules should be followed if you wish to achieve maximum engagement with your audience.
Fortunately, these rules aren’t too difficult to get your head around. Whether you’re undertaking Android or iOS application development, here’s what you need to know about mobile app UI.
What is UI?
UI stands for user interface, a form of design that considers the graphical layout of a product. When it comes to mobile application development in Melbourne, UI covers everything from the style of font chosen to the shape of interactive buttons.
Colour, size, shape, and layout are all decided upon by the UI designer in collaboration with the development team and the client. Anything you look at: a UI designer has had a hand in creating.
Basic UI principles
We mentioned that designing a mobile app requires a process-oriented approach. While creativity is encouraged, you don’t want to go too far with your experimentation. After all, there are only certain circumstances where users will tolerate out-of-the-box ideas. If your app is offering a very straightforward service, like allowing users to book medical appointments, for example, it’s definitely not the time to try reinventing the design wheel.
If you’re thinking about designing a mobile app or have engaged a team to do the hard work for you, these are the basic UI design principles that will be followed.
If this is your first time designing a mobile app, the good news is the hard work has largely been done for you. iOS application development has been around for quite a few years now, and users know what to expect when opening up a new application.
With this in mind, ensure that the user journey through your app is intuitive and does not require any explanations. Users should instantly know how to get to where they want to go — whether it is booking a service or purchasing a particular item — and you need to make it simple for them to backtrack through your app.
Touchscreens are no longer a novelty but there is still the odd app or two out there that has not been designed with the user experience in mind. Any interactive elements in your app need to be large enough to be recognised and tapped. Buttons, boxes, and text should be an appropriate size and visually delineated from the rest of the content.
Correct colour contrast
This brings us to our next point. Colour can help your application stand out from a very crowded field, but only when used in the correct manner. More specifically, it’s the responsibility of a UI designer to ensure colour contrast principles are followed appropriately.
There are certain colours that may look good together but are not recommended from a legibility perspective. Playing orange text on a red background, for example, is likely to create problems for most, if not all, of your users.
Colour contrast is also very important from an accessibility perspective. All users have an equal right to access your products and services, including those with a visual disability. For more information about accessibility and colour contrast, check out the Web Accessibility Initiative.
Fonts are a great way of conveying mood and can encapsulate a brand. That is: if your customers can actually read your chosen font.
Don’t give in to the temptation to go with a unique font design. You’re far better off choosing one that your users have seen before but has proven legibility. The last thing you want is to be putting all this time and effort into designing your app only for users to exit the software because they simply can’t understand what you’ve written.
The portability of smartphones is what originally made them so popular. It’s also a factor that needs to be taken into consideration when conducting iOS application development. Your users will be accessing your app in all types of environments: outside, underground, in an office space. Your graphics need to be visible in all these conditions, which comes down to colour contrast and the size of interactive elements.
Minimise the work required
Smartphone users tend to be in a hurry, they don’t have time to be tapping on a tiny screen. Using functions like autocomplete can significantly minimise the work that’s required on their behalf and help them complete their user journey efficiently, reflecting well on your UX and UI design process.
To learn more about the process of mobile app development in Melbourne, speak to an experienced app design team today.