With millions of mobile apps across all mobile platforms, standing out is hard. But it’s made easier with great mobile app design, here’s how to do it right.

Keyword(s): mobile app design

If you’re looking to take your business to the next level, you may be considering designing a mobile app.

If statistics are any indicator (and they are!), if you don’t have a mobile app as part of your online marketing campaign, you are missing out.

According to a Pew Research Center study with results released in January 2017, 95% of Americans own a cell phone — 77% of which are smartphones, up from just 35% in the same study conducted in 2011.

And they don’t just own them. They use them — a lot!

A study by comScore Mobile Metrix found that smartphone users in America — defined as those who were 18 or older, across all types of smartphones and including browsing and mobile app use — spent an average of 87 hours per month browsing on their phone!

Yahoo’s Flurry analytics reported that 90% of a cell phone user’s time on their device is spent using mobile apps!

It’s a staggering statistic that illustrates the importance of why you should have an app. But you just don’t want an app for the sake of having one.

You want to design one that allows your user to navigate easily through the app and find relevant useful information.

After all, who would want to use a mobile app that isn’t easy to click through or find useful information? Not you, right?!?

In short, your mobile app design is an important part of what will create your user’s experience and (hopefully) what keeps them coming back to spend their time, and eventually, their money, on the goods and services your business offers.

Your mobile app design matters more than you think. But why?

Users Want Simplicity

One of the strengths (or weaknesses) of your mobile app is in the design of its user interface (UI).

An app’s design principles, often called heuristics, are general guidelines that designers follow to improve the quality of UI design.

When creating an app, your UI must be built around the main tasks your user will want to accomplish with it. One of the ways to make things easiest for your user is to group similar things together and separate those that aren’t.

You also want to keep things simple — too much text or making a user search too much is going to make it harder to use.

And after all, why would someone want to spend time sorting through your app when there are others out there they could use instead.

Balance in Mobile App Design & Functionality

When creating your app, find the balance between design and functionality.

Doing this takes time on the front end, but can be what ultimately sets your app apart from the competition.

Take the Nike+ Running mobile app, for example. It’s considered the app to use when it comes to tracking your running performance — and for a variety of reasons.

The app uses GPS to monitor your runs, stores information on your past performances and also integrates with social media so that you can share what you have accomplished with others.

From a design standpoint, Nike’s mobile app design is based on their website, with big, bold text and unique graphics that help the user feel comfortable in navigating.

Web design is a major part of your online marketing campaign and can be the starting point for creating a successful mobile app.

When designing your app, consider the following:

(1) What’s the purpose of the app — why will someone use it;

(2) How can I present this to the user in the most efficient way; and

(3) What’s the balance between the two?

Testing & Feedback Refine App Design

When designing your app, don’t underestimate the importance of the testing process and receiving user feedback.

Before your app is complete, you should run it through a series of tests with a group of prospective users who replicate your target market. Not only in demographics but in the environment where you believe the app will be used.

For example, if you designing an app for ease of transportation on a bus or subway system, what’s like to use your app while riding a bus or subway?

Is it easy to navigate through it in the hustle and bustle of a big city in those environments?

Test your app with those people and in the environment that matters most. Listen to feedback from your test users and incorporate changes in your design that helps improve your app in the ways that are most important to those who will be using it.

Things to Remember

In today’s electronic world, a mobile app can be an important part of growing your business.

Despite the popularity of mobile apps, this doesn’t mean your app will be successful.

Take time to design a mobile app with UI that’s easy to use.

People have thousands of options when it comes to mobile apps. Why will they choose yours over another?

Strike a balance between design and functionality. Why you are creating your app and what ways do you want it to assist a client or prospective client?

Chances are if you are creating a mobile app that you already have a website.

What is it about your web design that’s worked well in the past and how can you integrate those features and that style into your mobile app in the most efficient way? Your website should be unique and if it’s not, we can help.

Lastly, test your app as part of the design process and refine it based on the feedback you receive. Be sure that your test users are accessing the app in the natural environment where they’d be using it when it’s finished.

What are your test users telling you works best about your app and what’s not functioning well with it?

What features in the app would they like to see and why?

Understand your target market and react to their feedback — after all, it is their opinion that matters most.

Creating a good mobile app can be the single most important part of your online marketing campaign but getting to that point is no easy feat.

However, understanding why a mobile app design matters before you begin the process is a good starting point for your business.