App design has come a long way since the first smartphones came to the market. Designers have learned from their mistakes and success. They have a greater understanding of mobile devices and how it differs from other technologies. They are better able to adapt their work to the form factor and the changing user expectations. It is easier for new designers to come in and create excellent applications right away as they can adopt the best practices of those who are more experienced than they are. Below are some of the goals of app design that every novice should try to achieve:
Just because you can include a page or a feature doesn’t mean that you should. Everything should serve a definite purpose. If something isn’t necessary, then it should be removed so that it does not distract from the main content. Visual clutter should be eliminated as well. Make icons as straightforward as possible and use plain backgrounds with consistent coloring throughout the app. Every image and graphic should be carefully selected for relevance.
The ideal app will not require the user to watch a video or read an article just to figure out how to make it work. Everything should be intuitive enough that people can figure it out with little to no help. This means using a common design language and descriptors. Buttons, slides, and checkboxes should behave as users expect them to. Typical gestures such as pinching, zooming, and swiping should work as well.
Since the screen is quite small on a phone, the navigation cannot be designed in the same way as they usually are in desktop applications. Most apps cannot afford to keep them on the screen at all times. Instead, there may be a button that triggers their appearance or a swiping motion that allows them to slide onto the stage. The menu should be arranged in such a way that finding things is fast and easy. Users should be where they want to go in as few taps as possible.
When content is being presented, it should be the focus of the page. Everything else should fade away including the control buttons and other non-essentials. Text should use a highly readable font of a good size. It would be nice to provide users with the ability to deviate from these settings if they wish. Perhaps some would like bigger text, a darker background, and so on.