Top Mobile App Design Mistakes

Note: This is a summary of an article by Kent Mundle on Toptal.

With tons of app rolling out each week, it is unlikely that your app will get any attention at all. To help your app stand out, here are some insights from seasoned app designers.

Poor first impression

Apps with no instruction, bare apps that looks like it’s designed a decade ago. Before we even figure out how the app works, we will be so annoyed we return to the appstore to look for less confusing alternatives. Here are some reasons for the frustration.

Improper Onboarding

Tailor to the needs of your users. Many “on the go” apps make the mistake of having a very tedious onboarding process. Don’t waste your users’ time. Don’t hinder them from using your app. Think progressive disclosure.

App without purpose

Many apps don’t even serve a purpose. Instead of solving problems, they are designed to follow trends. Once the novelty wears off, they are removed by your users.

Have a clear purpose for your app, and tailor the experience as so. Avoid features that do not align with the purpose. Make your app useful.

Dismissing app context

Use cases help define the purpose of your app. Have clear use cases for your app. Design all your features around these few use cases.

Example: Uber is designed to be very minimal, and excels at being used for quickly. This fits the purpose of the app — to serve the users when they are out with their friends. The unobstructive interface design helps the app fulfill its purpose without distraction.

Disregarding the development budget

After you get a rough idea of how your app will look like, approach the developers for a budget. Your developers are the one doing the work, they should be the one giving the estimates.

If you run out of budget too early, you will end up cutting critical features. Pioritize which features you need the most. Act within budget.

Cramming in features

Many apps try to do too much at a time, turning the app into an ultimate swiss army knife. The overwhelming features list makes your app difficult to learn. The best strategy is to beginning with a few features, then test out new features in the future.

Overcomplicating app design

When a designer finds themselves adding things to make the design more appealing, chances are, these choice will just result in a very cluttered design.

Instead of designing additively, design reductively. This method is directed as much towards content, concept and function as it is aesthetics.

Aim to fit the required content without cluttering the screen. Don’t let the design get into the way of your content.

Instead of designing addictively, design reductively.

Under utilizing app beta testing

All designers test their apps in some way or another. Very often, the beta testing is done in house. But you need a fresh set of eyes to review your work. Send out an ad and work with a selected group of audience to iron out the details, find out what’s missing.

Anticipate that the testing will often take 8 weeks to do properly. Give the process enough time in order to collect the quality feedback that your app design needs.

And so?

The app design market is a battleground, designing adequate products is not enough. Hook your users from the beginning – communicate and demonstrate the value your app brings.

Most of these revolves around having a clear idea of what your application is about. So, refine and refine until absolutely nothing else can be taken away without the project falling apart.