It’s a very common observation that people do not consider much difference in a mobile app designs and a web page design. But the difference is much more than what a layman actually understands. New designers have to be very much vigilant of such differences and must consider all of those while designing a mobile app designs. If a designer is a mobile app user himself, he can certainly experience many of such required difference on his own. Some of those fundamentals which are important to be followed while designing a mobile app interfaces are laid down below:
1. Remember, we do not have mouse to use on a mobile screen
One of the basic and most important difference between a mobile app design and a website layout is that you can not have any such element on a mobile screen which might require a mouse click. Focus on the fact as to how can you make it easy for a user to press any button and well test it before releasing it for public use.
2. Size matters for mobiles too
While working on websites you do have a liberty to put in as much information as you want because of sufficient availability of space. But on mobile, one does not have such freedom. You have to convey your message in a quick and restricted way. So prioritize your content and publish only very important content for a mobile app. Not only the content but other design elements are also in question here. Just imagine a situation, where you might come across an app which offers you to click a button which is too small to be clicked by your fat fingers or may be that the button is sitting on a corner, hiding behind your mobile cover’s edge. So be aware while placing such “Click to Action” items.
3. User experience is most important to keep him connected.
This is nothing new. Whenever there was a shift in technology, user experience had to be re-understood. Building user understandable designs had been an important challenge to overcome, since the desktop applications era. Like it was needed then, similarly while designing a mobile app screens now, think rationally. A user might expect availability of certain web elements in a specific pattern while surfing a website but may get lost, when you offer the same pattern while he is accessing the same thing as an app on a mobile. Try to build an apps design considering the apps business scope. An app, which is required to search nearest taxi or a metro station, should have an interface which offers search results in a couple of clicks, because a user might be using it while on the move. Similarly an app, which offers modifying a picture should have options for using an existing picture as well as taking a new photo. Whereas for this functionality, you may not need a feature of clicking a new photo while performing same actions through a website. Designers must refer standardized UX elements for different mobile OS. Many of those are listed here. A separate design wireframe is must for a mobile app. During early days of mobile apps introduction, it was acceptable that a designer may simply create a website’s wire frame and may then use them for mobile apps too after minimal modification. But its not that simple any more.
4. Mobile users hate too many questions
Who loves filling up long forms and specially when a mobile app asks me to do so, I prefer not to install that and find a substitute. If you are planning to launch your mobile app on Android Marketplace, do not ask his email ID and Phone no. At all. Thats not required. You have them already with you, once he downloaded your app. If still you have any specific information to ask, then be specific to ask that rather than pushing user to fill in a long form.
5. Too many screen sizes
With the growth of mobile devices market, too many variations in the screen sizes is observed. Until iOS6, Apple had been managing it well, but with introduction of iOS7 and iOS8, designers have to be very careful about Apple screen sizes too. For Android, the situation is even more challenging. So this become yet another important factor for designers to ask it in advance from your project manager or client as to which all devices does he wants the app to be supportive.
6. Mobile screens designs need high resolution images.
A decade before 2015, I remember, we used to create very light weight PNGs or animated GIF images only for mobile screens. Those who designed TIFF files for print industry back then, might recall as to how had they neglected these file formats during those days. But the time has considerably changed now. Mobiles need crystal clear, high resolution images. Prefer creating vector graphics in Illustrator and create high resolution PNG files to use in mobile screens. Low resolution images will show hazy or pix elated in mobile screens.
7. Testing is needed at designing phase too
Designers should try to gauge the user experience at designing stage itself. For that, he should perform simulation tests and A/B testing of the screens to ensure that everything works good for an end user.