1. “Kitchen Sink”
Rule number one in mobile app development is to keep it simple. You want to design an app that is easy, understandable and marketable for the utmost success. Even the most powerful mobile app on the market can fail if the developer crams too much into the design. Take Bump, for example. The Bump app allows users to easily share data between phones. Initially, Bump allowed users to transfer not only music and app recommendations but also photos, contact information and more. Bombarded with options, users rarely used the app. Interestingly enough, it was not until the developers stripped the functionality of Bump to enable only the transfer of photos and contact information that it realized success.
The first thing you can do for consistency is to set a design language and stick to it. Set standards for how you use tabs, menus, buttons and other user interface elements, keeping in mind that the design is about how the app works and not just how it looks. Think about everything from the way users move from page to page to the small user interface details such as pop-up functionality. Remember that the best way to build an audience is to provide an intuitive learning experience for the user. You can achieve this with ease by ensuring consistency throughout the internal specifications of the app.
Steve Jobs once said, “You’re finished when it’s as simple as it could possibly be.” An overly designed app could include extra visual flourishes, meaningless elements and out of place images that never belong on a mobile app. The key to success in mobile web design is not always about what choose you include but rather what you choose not to. For the best results, pare your interface ruthlessly and eliminate fluff until you reach the simplest solution.
4. Lack of Speed
Long loading animation and large images that need to load and store should not be a part of your mobile app. Your app needs to be fast, which means anything that slows down the user interface is out the window. Always ensure users can cancel operations that take a while to load. You can also increase the speed of your mobile app by loading the minimum of data needed for the next interaction. Even better, you can pre-load information that users might request next. All things considered, focus on speed.
Unnecessarily long and wordy content elements including labels, text and menus are among the most common signs of an immature mobile app. If you feel the need to extensively detail labels and directions, chances are your mobile app is not as easy, obvious and straightforward as you imagined. Eliminate verbiage from your app through editing, rethinking, reimagining and testing. Request second opinions and then second and third-guess yourself. You can even turn to a bona fide writer who can conquer verbiage with ease.
6. Non-Standard Interaction
Platforms embody a set of characteristics that encourage users to develop comfort and familiarity. Mac platforms feature more standard human interface guidelines than Windows and have thus been in an advantageous position for quite some time. Users are comfortable with standard interfaces because they know what to expect. Users always get what they expected and can use it without trouble. When designing a mobile app, know the standard actions of your platform. Avoid fancy finger swipes and drags. Always keep it simple.
7. Help and FAQ Overkill
Help and FAQ sections work with websites. Unfortunately, this is not the case for mobile apps. If a user finds your mobile app confusing or poorly designed, there is little you can do to change it. Think about some of the best mobile apps on the market. Do any of them feature a help or FAQ section? The answer is probably, no. Think back to rule number one – keeping it simple. If your app is too complicated not to have a help section, reconsider simplifying the functionality.
Akesh Gupta is President of Light Speed Solutions. Light Speed Solutions is a custom software development company specializing in mobile application development services.