3 Foolproof Tips for Designing a Mobile App

March 26, 2015

4:00 pm

In 2015, a factor in driving conversions for many businesses depends on a well-designed app that complements an existing website. But making this happen is a lot easier said than done. If you’re looking for a way to develop an app that can direct customers to the checkout window, consider these tips to help you create a mobile app that perfectly balances your existing website.

1. Know the General Rules

When you start designing your website, recognize that everything exists on a grid, even if the lines aren’t always visible. Use that grid as you design to help maintain consistency between your website and mobile app and to define the spacing you have to work with. For example, if you’re putting a large number of pixels on one side of the screen and a small number on the other side, that creates a problem – unless of course, it’s done to create a unique contrast.

As another general rule, a successful app should help raise brand awareness, which means you should be smart about the use of your logo. A substandard logo doesn’t mean your company is second rate, but it does reflect poorly on your business. If your logo could use some work, take this opportunity to revamp it, and create one with clean lines and complementary colors to reflect your purpose. Place the logo strategically, such as on the top left or bottom right corner of the content.

Finally, design an app icon that will appeal to users and encourage them to download the app. It should have a unique shape with colors that reflect your logo and business purpose.

2. Understand the Target Audience

In order to deliver an app that your customer base can use, you need to understand who will be using it. According to this blog post from InvisionApp, “To understand how your users think and act, what motivates them, and their pain points, you need to think from their perspective.” Knowing exactly how your audience will react to your app is an integral first step, since you don’t want to discover during prototype testing that you had the wrong idea. For example, an older audience is likely to want a simple app with no frills, while a younger audience will be more drawn to an app that entertains with music or imagery.

3. Design the App

As you’re designing the app, there are a few key design elements you should keep in mind.

  • Think Longevity, Not Trendy: The world of mobile apps isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. That being said, it’s important to design your apps so they’ll last. Though you shouldn’t entirely avoid trends, a classic design that can last for years is an important aspect of mobile app design. You should also assume that hardware will catch up with the software you design. If you design focused on today, your app software will be behind the times by the time it reaches the market.
  • Keep It Simple: Your app needs to reflect your website in a simpler format. All cross-platform apps are basically lists of your website’s content. They’re an incredibly simple navigation system that leads the user to where you want them to go. The simpler and more direct the list, the better.
  • Lead the Eye with Design: Your app has a clear purpose, and that purpose should be reflected in the design. Basically, you want your app to motivate the user to do something, whether it’s make a purchase or contact your company. With that in mind, think about the colors you’re using and where you place those colors. Every color means something different and color represents a hierarchy. In your app, if you want your CTA to stand out, create a scale of color that leads from lightest to brightest, with the most important action ensconced in the brightest color.

Once you’ve gone through these steps, you’re ready to begin creating and testing your app. It’s here where you’ll learn whether or not your software will appeal to your customers. From there, you can continue to refine your ideas and make changes as you work to develop a great product.

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Drew Hendricks is a professional business and startup blogger that writes for a variety of sites including The Huffington Post, Forbes and Technorati. Drew has worked at a variety of different startups as well as large advertising agencies.

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