This is the second post in a series that is focusing on the top five design considerations you need to keep in mind for your projects. This post focuses on mobile applications specifically. Future posts will highlight enterprise search, business intelligence, and custom development.
You want to concentrate on providing enough content for the user. In your design creation, ensure your design highlights content and is the primary focus of your application.
When planning the features of the application each one should have a clear intent that allows users to quickly and easily achieve a goal. If your app is only two levels deep, then creating a Home menu does not really serve a purpose, since the user can go back easily. Remember each feature takes time to develop and test. so be thoughtful about which features you include in your app.
You also want to consider the context under which the app is going to be used. For example, if you are developing an app to be used for runners, you’ll need to make sure your buttons are larger than the standard sizes.
Mobile users are interrupted all the time. Most user interaction with mobile devices is very short, under two minutes. So if you are developing an app, you better make sure that it can handle the occasional phone call.
Performance is especially important. User expectations of mobile speed do not match the reality of today’s networks. Wireless network connectivity can be patchy, and of high latency. And yet, users expect apps on mobile devices to be just as fast as the wired desktop.
Mobile users are less patient than desktop users. Therefore it is important to make the users feel like they are achieving success quickly. One way to do this is to ensure your app loads quickly because sometimes even five seconds can feel like an eternity.
In the desktop world, you can make do with one image/design for everything. In mobile, you want everything in your design to serve a purpose and be appropriate for the form factor.
For example, for a desktop, you can make do with just one logo of one size, with one color depth, and one dimension. With a mobile device, you want your image to be adaptive. For retina displays, you want high-definition images. For larger screens, you want a larger logo. For smaller screens, a smaller logo, and color depth. You can design it the lazy way by using the same image and having the mobile client resize it, but what you are doing is wasting computing cycles, which can appear as performance issues.
It’s not enough for your app be functional, usable, and fast. You also want your app to be beautiful.
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