Development of mobile interfaces: basic recommendations at the start
The market for mobile applications and websites is growing, as is the popularity of mobile devices - almost exponentially. If five years ago they were only talking about this trend, today everything is obvious - smartphones have really become market leaders. Purchases are made from them and expensive deals are closed, training webinars are held and meetings are scheduled. Of course, mobile devices are used for more than just work. They are indispensable for communication and presentation in any community (including social networks).
Therefore, more and more often business owners order a mobile application first, and then a full-fledged website. Software development in these cases is very different. And these differences are due to the basic principles of interaction between the user and the gadget. So what should a mobile app look like? Unique functionality, pleasant use, full coverage of user needs. This is the main secret of success. And these factors will constantly have to be kept in mind, throughout the development process.
What you need to know about the application from the user's point of view
Even before starting work, you will need to highlight the main purpose of the application, work out the target audience and spread out in order to understand exactly how and under what conditions the consumer will interact with your development. To do this, you will have to imagine mobile thinking and take into account such nuances:
- You may have to sacrifice functionality for the sake of convenience. Optimally - to find a middle ground, and not ruthlessly cut functionality. In a combination of comfort and functionality, the maximum balance that is only possible in your case should be observed.
- Make the app unique. Of course, the uniqueization will have to be carried out from the very beginning, that is, from the development of the icon design. After all, if the icon of your application does not catch the eye of the user, how will he even understand how cool a thing you are offering him? Uniqueness is also important for content. If the application has everything that the client has seen 1000 times before, you will have to work hard to keep it.
- Think about what your potential customers are interested in. Even Dale Carnegie said that we do not take chocolate for fishing, but worms, because they are what fish love. This psychological principle always works: the application should respond to client requests, and not the developer's desire for experimentation.
- Remember that smartphones are very personal devices, with unique settings. Accordingly, your application should be both interesting and friendly, so that users not only download, but also actively use it.
- Think about the situation when your potential client will be able to use the application. For example, bored people take their smartphone with them even to the restroom for entertainment. Business people stand up for speed, because they are constantly in a hurry. Accordingly, these two categories will need different content - entertaining in the first case and purely functional with a low download speed in the second. There is also a third common scenario - when a user is looking for a route or a specific institution in the right area.
Once you've determined the overall context for your application, don't deviate from it during development.
General criteria for the quality of mobile applications
Smartphones are mobile devices with a touch screen that accompany their owner everywhere. This is what should be taken into account when developing, taking into account:
- presence of a response: notify the user that the application is processing information and generating a response;
- detailed details: attention to detail indicates that you approached the development responsibly. Ignoring the "unimportant little things" No. is like refusing to install wooden trim panels in a Rolls-Royce: it seems to be possible without them, but not the same anymore;
- keep in mind that users will interact with the screen more with their thumbs than their index fingers. This leads to recommendations on the size and location of the buttons4
- targets should be placed so that they do not overlap each other so that the client cannot accidentally click "delete" instead of "share";
- try not to scroll: stable screens look more convincing;
- do not use complex design solutions for the sake of beauty - if the design does not improve interaction, then it can be abandoned, and the narcissism of a specialist developer is useless here.
It is also worth using standard navigation models. The page may not have any navigation at all if it is a weather forecast that fits comfortably on one screen. The standard ones are tab bars and nested lists. These are classic suggestion navigation solutions. The rest are considered non-standard.
Also consider which set of keyboards will provide text input. It is best to use horizontal orientation - it is convenient not only for smartphones, but also for tablets.
As for experiments with gestures, they can all look funny, but not always appropriate. After all, a “standard” smartphone user is a person with a glass of coffee / cigarette / briefcase in his hand, and he will not want to “draw” anything on the screen. Two-handed gestures are especially inconvenient.
Also keep in mind that for smartphones, a vertical screen arrangement is more popular, and for a tablet, a horizontal one. Accordingly, the content needs to be optimized for this location.
Think through communication and test the application before launch
The application must respond to any user interaction with it. The signal of successful communication can be sound, vibration or light. The user should always understand that the application does not hang. And do not forget about those cases where the user needs confirmation of actions - by default, offer the action that is most secure from the client's point of view. This will help you avoid embarrassing mistakes.
Also teach the application to remember exactly where, at what stage the user stopped last time. These are the basic recommendations that need to be implemented even before launch. Then you will only have to test the application among real users to understand how convenient and comfortable it is for them. Any "troubles" should not be described in the "help" section, but corrected.