The Blue Rocket Blog

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blog icon3 Jun 2014

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Ten Tips For Elegant Mobile User Interface

Publication date: 06.03.2014

Everybody wants to create a killer mobile app that looks stunning, works with lightning speed, and engages your customer, day after day.

But what makes one mobile app user interface better than the next? What guidelines should you abide by and what can you learn from others’ mistakes?

Here are some tips that Blue Rocket has gathered from years of experience designing and building some of the best-ranked and top-rated apps in the iTunes store across multiple platforms and industries:

1) Honor Your Target Platform – Whether you choose to create for the iTunes App Store or Google Play, the look and feel of your mobile user interface should honor the fundamental UI assumptions of that platform in your app’s basic interactions. Don’t try to mix and match platforms.

2) Do What A PC Can’t DoDesign your mobile app to do things that a PC can’t do, such as “squeeze” a photo to crop it, or use your smartphone camera to snap images. The more you can combine other smartphone features into your mobile app, the more unique it can be.

3) Design for an Older Audience – While small text and tight layouts may look beautiful, what good are they if half of your audience can’t use them without their reading glasses. Use adaptive design that can adjust layouts and the text-size API in iOS 7 for easier viewing.

4) Show Mockups On The Mobile Device – Showing a PDF of your UI on a 21-inch iMac just isn’t the same as showing a smaller version in context on an iPhone or Android device. It’s got to be the right scale –– and the right size – for someone to get a realistic look and feel.

5) Be Unique – When compared to desktop computers, mobile smartphones are unique, different, and elegant. So your mobile app UI should be, too.

6) Encourage a Fun Experience – Are the Chipotle Mobile Restaurant App, Life Noted, or Zinio fun, engaging and entertaining? You bet they are. That’s why they’re among the most popular apps in their respective industries – and why your mobile user interface should be as sleekly designed as they are.

7) Make Them Responsive – Responsiveness is mandatory for any mobile user app interface for interaction and scrolling capabilities.

8) Aim High for Expert Users – Though novice users tend to move with caution when using a mobile app, you should strive to create your mobile interface for the expert users who click quickly and with authority. They expect equally fast response times.

9) Make Your Button Sizes Large Enough – If they’re too small (below 1cm wide), it creates nothing but typos and headaches for your users. The bigger the button, the better the mobile app interface. This also means you should minimize the number of buttons because less is more, and about 10 elements of touchable UI elements per view is optimal.

10) Placement of Primary App Buttons – Since most users are right-handed, develop mobile apps with the primary application buttons at the bottom right is the best, most logical place for them. Alternately, the top right is a good place for it.

What’s The Bottom Line?
It takes a high level of design skill, vast development experience, and industry knowledge to design a mobile user app that works for all skill levels and all devices. You only have one chance to succeed, so don’t take it for granted when you begin to design your next mobile app.

Want To Find Out More?
If you want to talk to a company that’s developed killer user interfaces for thousands of mobile apps on both iOS and Android, talk to Blue Rocket. To find out more, contact us today.

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