The dominance of mobile apps over web apps has meant one important transition. The use of apps on a smaller screen requires them to be simpler by design. As the app market matures, developers have come to realise the importance of keeping things simple. Here are some pointers to ensure your app can appeal to users simply through its simplicity.
One Purpose to Serve Them All
Recognise a need, and build an app to fulfil that one need. The biggest mistake any app could make is trying to do too many things at a time. No one likes a Jack-of-all-trades product that is no good at performing any one function. If you think you can cater to more than one need, make another app for it. You will not only attract more users through multiple apps but also improve market outreach through cross-promotion.
From tl;dr to vb;jp
Smartphone users tend to dislike reading on a mobile screen (most people today dislike reading altogether, but that’s a different issue). The tl;dr phenomenon (Too Long; Didn’t Read) must be taken seriously by anyone who hopes to create a successful app. If the content is too wordy and the user has to go through a lot of text to make the best of your app, chances are he won’t. Make sure your app implements the vb;jp paradigm (Very Brief; Just Perfect), and uses as few words as possible to convey information. Use visual aids like graphs and charts for data instead of passages.
Enabling Intuitive Use
If users need a tutorial to use your app, you’re clearly doing something wrong. While hints and suggestions are necessary to help out users that are not quite tech-savvy, design your app such that it needs little or no instructions for first-time users. Minimising navigation can also go a long way in reducing confusion. A mistake many new developers make is to use new symbols for simple functions just for the sake of being different. Using popular or conventional icons for functionality like the play/pause button or the back button will make your app easier to use.
Maintaining a Consistent Design
Simplicity implies more than just stripping down unnecessary features. It also means using a consistent UI design throughout the duration of user experience. Sticking to a common colour scheme, especially a monochromatic palette, everywhere in the app makes it more identifiable and goes easy on the eyes. The choice of typography is also crucial to the first impression that a user has of an app. Having a crisp and unique typeface could help make your app iconic.
The tips above don’t assure success, since nothing can in a market so whimsical and volatile. However they can prevent your app from dying an early death and finding a place in the hall of shame.
Think Simple. Think Call Levels.