What is practical design?

Is your app designed for practicality?

Cover Image Source: material.io

As a kid, I remember being so excited to use my new Gameboy. Going to the shops, bringing it home and opening it up.

But then hit with the worst realisation. I have to wait for it to charge.

Charging always took forever. It probably felt like forever, because I sat there staring at it.

Image Source: amazon.com – Not exactly practical.

But nowadays, everything you buy comes charged. Its usable straight out of the box.

That is practical design.

Design for usability. If you’re here you may be looking at getting an app made.

Designing it practically should be front of mind when you design it.

Examples;

Confused? Let me show you a few examples of practical design.

Image Source: uber.com

Take Uber for example. The taxi industry wasn’t a great one. But if you’ve ever caught a taxi, you’ll know that. It didn’t hold the drivers accountable. The drivers could be late, or not show up. They didn’t have to keep their actions in check.

Until Uber came around. Uber (for those living underground) is a ride sharing app. It allows everyone to be a taxi driver. Uber holds the driver AND rider accountable, by reviewing each other.

It’s designed for usability, for both parties.

Image Source: play.google.com

How about Netflix. Netflix is a video streaming service.

Netflix realised the time of gathering around the TV at 7.30 to watch your favourite show was over. It’s impractical, no one has time for that. The ability to watch what you want, whenever you want. No waiting week by week for the next episode. It’s just there, ready for you. It’s obviously working as Netflix has more US subscribers than Cable TV.

Netflix was designed for usability.

Some designs to avoid:

Image Source: bresslergroup.com – If it needs an assistant to be used, it’s not practical.

Image Source: au.pinterest.com – I think I’ll take the stairs. Make it obvious.

Design Thinking

If you haven’t already read it, we have a blog on design thinking, here. But just briefly, Design Thinking is consumer-centric design. Designing with the customer in mind.

To do so, companies put themselves in the consumer’s shoes. They run experiments and surveys to see how consumers react.

Image Source: struber.com.au

There are many tools you can really use to know your consumer. Like user personas and customer journeys. A user persona digs into how the average user of your product or service behaves like.

A customer journey is a journey your consumer goes through to get your product. We have a blog describing them and other design service tools, here. If you follow design thinking, it’ll be easier to design your app for usability.

Practical Design and Apps

Practicality has been thought of in every screen of the app. It has to be thought of in how the app is used, how it flows.

If the app doesn’t make sense, you’ll likely lose users.

Points to consider for the design:

Keep the design consistent

  • Changing the design from screen to screen will likely confuse a user. This could lead to them not wanting to use your app!

Make sure your screens are uncluttered

  • Cluttered screens are bad for your app for a few reasons. A cluttered screen is hard to use. Buttons should be big and obvious. Easy to find and press. If you have to use the corner of your fingernail to press something, you should reconsider your design.
  • Not only that, but a cluttered screen is just unpleasant to look at! You should learn about ‘Whitespace’. Whitespace is required as it offers visual breathing room to your designs.

Make sure the app flows well

  • When designing the apps’ user interface, consider their experience. What makes sense? If you were designing a game, would you open the app straight into the game? Probably not. A user would want a menu and some options.
  • How does the user think something should work?

Choose the right colour scheme for your app

  • Make sure the text is readable! Putting fluro yellow text on a white background is very hard to read. Actually, just don’t use fluro yellow at all. Or maybe any fluro colours.
  • Also generally, don’t use an image as your background. It makes text that is over it hard to read.

I know it’s just scraping the surface of practical design for apps. But it’s just for readability. Going into detail about app practical design may be a little boring. Or not, it might be a future blog. Who knows!

If you have any questions about practical design, feel free to ask in the comments. Or maybe there is a design you really like, let us know!

Have you been curious about getting an app made? Visit the Launchpad Quote page, let us help you make the app you’ve had stuck in your head!

Have you experienced Virtual Reality? If you’re unsure as to what it is, we have a blog, here!

Doing this will change the way you design your app.

The psychology of what your target audience needs from your app!

 

Today we’re discussing Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It’s the theory of psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow in 1943. Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs is in practice by businesses today!

 

Image Source: simplypsychology.org

What makes up Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?

 

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a pyramid. It has our most basic needs at the bottom Which are our Physiological needs. The pyramid works, bottom to top, as after a bottom most need is achieved, we move onto our next need. Next on the hierarchy we have Psychological needs. The top of the pyramid is Self-fulfillment needs, Self-actualisation.

 

Going through this blog, consider which needs your app can satisfy or appeal to!

  1. Diving into these sections, at the bottom are our Basic needs. Our Physiological needs at the bottom-most of the pyramid. The ability to breathe, access to food, water and warmth, rest and sex. Things that your average person cannot live without.
  2. Safety and security needs follow. Further than personal safety and security. But security in your resources, your employment, your family and health. You can live without them, but it’s the quality of life most can’t live with.
  3. The next section is the Psychological needs. Starting with Belongingness and love needs. Which are various relationships (partners and friends) and intimacy.
  4. Esteem needs follow at the next level on the pyramid. The feelings of self-esteem and accomplishment. The respect of others, respect by others and prestige, a feeling of worth.
  5. On the top of the hierarchy of needs, Self-fulfillment. It’s self-actualization. Achieving what you believe your potential to be. This is in any capacity you believe that to be, creative or professional.

Maslow decided what self-actualization is by studying 18 people he considered to have found self-fulfilment. Refining it to 15 characteristics:

Self-Actualisation Characteristics:

  1. They perceive reality efficiently and can tolerate uncertainty;
  2. Accept themselves and others for what they are;
  3. Spontaneous in thought and action;
  4. Problem-centered (not self-centered);
  5. Unusual sense of humour;
  6. Able to look at life objectively;
  7. Highly creative;
  8. Resistant to enculturation, but not purposely unconventional;
  9. Concerned for the welfare of humanity;
  10. Capable of deep appreciation of basic life-experience;
  11. Establish deep satisfying interpersonal relationships with a few people;
  12. Peak experiences;
  13. Need for privacy;
  14. Democratic attitudes;
  15. Strong moral/ethical standards.

In the 60s, Maslow explored further needs. Adding another section above the pyramid. The need being Transcendence. Helping other achieve their self-fulfillment. Maslow decided that doing that the most important. This need was above all else on the hierarchy.

 

What can you do with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?

 

If you’re questioning what this has to do with your app. You’ve likely first validated your idea. But ask yourself, where does your app fit into the pyramid?

 

For example. A mobile game can provide the user with a sense of accomplishment. This is achieved by the consumer playing the game.

 

What need will your app satisfy for your potential customer?

Offerings like Accomplishment on mobile games or fitness trackers. Finding belonging on social media. Or finding love through dating apps.

 

If you don’t fulfil a need, you may need to change what your app does. Else, consumers won’t have any motivation to use the app.

 

It shouldn’t be too hard to apply this to your app design. Remember your design service tools, your personas and their customer journey.

Did you read our previous blog on Design Tools? You’ll likely be able to use those tools with your knowledge from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

 

Or if you’re unsure where to begin, please read our blog on Design Thinking.

 

Or visit the Launchpad quote page, if you have a brilliant idea for an app. Launchpad want to help you create a unique, successful app.

 

If you think you have an app that fulfils a consumer need, visit the Launchpad quote page. For your brilliant idea for an app. Launchpad want to help you create a unique, successful app.

 

Information on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs can be found at: https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html

 

How to get ahead in your design process.

A shortlist of the best tools used in the design thinking process.

To help your design thinking process, which you can (and should) start using them today. Use these design service tools to make you’re creating what your customer wants.

Personas

 

What is a Persona?

A Persona is a general idea of your customers. Create as many or as few customer personas as yoseu believe you need. A Persona will include a variety of different things. But for the customer buying personas include a list of various things. Start by giving them a bio, goals, frustrations and motivations. Give them a quote, brands they like and their preferred channels of advertising.

How to use them?

Create a persona so you have an idea of who you’re creating for. Use your personas to predict how an audience will react to situations. Or how the customer will react to a new product, service or for you, an app. Empathise with the customer. Observe the context of their lives. Engage with them. And experience what they experience. Otherwise, you won’t know what your design does for them.

Why should you use them?

Personas will help you create a design that’s accepted and enjoyed. Use Personas to accurately create content that your buyer will enjoy.

If you use any of these tools, I would recommend Personas above all else. This is because they will give you a clear picture of what your consumer/s look like.

Want to keep reading? I’d recommend this VIEO blog.

If you wish to use the same Persona template as us. Check out: https://app.xtensio.com/.

Xtensio is easy to use and free!

 

Customer Journeys

 

What is a Customer Journey?

A customer journey is an experience in purchasing anything. What does the customer go through to get the app you designed on their phone?

How to use them?

To create a successful app, look at the Customer Journey you’ve created. Or hopefully, will create.

Your Customer Journey should answer a series of questions, for example:

How does the customer discover your product?

  • Example: They have no way of discovering us apart from through the app store. We improved this by introducing social media advertising. And/or a referral program.

What do they experience in the purchase of your service?

The customer will experience excitement using our product. This is because they believe it will solve a certain problem. How can you capitalise on that, or keep that level of excitement going?

What points in the purchasing process can you lose your customer?

  • Example: They experience a pain point as the registration is tedious. How can you minimise that?

Why should you use them

Creating a Customer Journey for your Personas helps you. It shows you how to create a design to fit into their purchasing journey.

Customer Journeys help you identify problems and opportunities. Points in the user experience in which customers would be most susceptible to giving feedback. Knowing what your customer goes through, you can plan a wide range of this for your app. Like general content, what the app will look like in ‘x’ amount of years.  How you should change it to keep ahead of the curve.

Image Source: Pinterest

Try filling in your own:

Moments of Truth

 

What is a Moment of Truth?

Say you go to the shops to get a chocolate bar. You saw many different bars, what made you choose the one you chose? That is a moment of truth.

The moments of truth are the moments a customer goes through to make a purchase.

The 4 Moments of Truth:

  • The Zero Moment, credited to Google. It’s the moment a consumer has realised they want something. They begin to research and collect information on it.
  • The First Moment is the moment a consumer sees your product face-to-face. It’s the make or break purchasing moment.
  • The Second Moment is the post purchase moment. The moment they realise they were or weren’t sold what they feel promised to.
  • The Ultimate Moment is the final moment. The moment a consumer decides to advocate or criticise your product. If they were or weren’t sold what they believed promised. What will they do? Tell their friends, tell social media or post reviews. This moment is important, you have to be ready to respond. You can thank the customer, or try to change their mind.

How to use them?

 

Make sure to use all 4 moments for creating your app.

Consider:

  • What will consumers find online? Will it be positive?

Put lots of information online. Don’t leave the consumer feeling like it’s an unknown product. Give away the app to reviewers, consumers look to reviewers for advice.

  • Will it stand out in the app store?
  • Does your copy, or even your apps icon stand out? Is it enough to sell the app?
  • Will consumers be happy with their purchase and experience?
  • Did you give the consumers what you promised? Will consumers advocate or criticize your app?
  • Did the app go above or below expectations? Are you ready to deal with the outcomes?

Why should you use them?

These moments are crucial in recognition and research. Test facing the product in person. Test the purchase, experience and customer advocacy or criticism. Keep these moments in mind during your design period. Because it will help your product or service stand out in the moments. Standing out in these crucial moments could be everything to your business.

Image Source: Daily Tech

What now?

Think about it. Today more products and services exist on the market than ever before. For you to ignore design thinking, puts you at a disadvantage. Design something that gives the user a hassle free, pleasant experience. From that, your company will likely generate loyalty and advocacy. You should absolutely take advantage of it. Don’t forget how important customer loyalty and advocacy is.

Follow these steps to create your app. Create an app that will have greater success and preference by your customers. As they will feel that you made it for them!

So get started, you have no reason to leave this out of the design process. Every year, companies release apps that could be better consumer targeted.

Want to know the psychology of your customers?

Check out our upcoming blog. It dives into the reason behind customer wants and needs. We will explain what Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is, and how you should use it.

Or visit the Launchpad quote page, if you have a brilliant idea for an app. Launchpad wants to help you create a unique, successful app.

The reason your app isn’t clicking with its audience. Try this creative design method today!

How you can think like a modern designer, with design thinking. It may just change your app!

Designing that will build customer loyalty and advocacy. Design thinking invented by pioneer and CEO of IDEO, Tim Brown.

I’m sure you’re eager to find out how design thinking works.

Let me first explain what is design.

Cover Image Source: Pocket Design

What is Design?

Design is the creation process for an outcome. Whether it will be functional like a plan, or visual, like a picture.

 

The design process is definitely daunting, it can seem like a big task. By breaking it into smaller steps, makes the outcome seem reachable.

 

Working in steps helps your team remain on the same page. This gives the designers comfort in knowing the design is thought out and preferred. These steps are part of the design thinking process.

The Design Steps

 

The steps for the design process being:

  1.       Defining the problem – What exactly are you trying to create? Is it a plan? A picture?
  2.       Collecting information about the problem – What do you need to know before you can begin?
  3.       Brainstorming and analysing ideas – What are some ideas you have had for this design?
  4.       Developing solutions – Grow these ideas, give them detail.
  5.       Getting feedback on ideas – Have colleagues and friends validate these ideas.
  6.       Improving the ideas, from the feedback – If they gave you feedback, can you use it to improve the design.
  7.       Re-defining the problem/starting over – From this do you have a completed design? Can it be improved or do you have to start over?

    Image Source: Discover Design

 

What is Design Thinking?

 

Design thinking is similar, but its customer centric. Which is designing from the customer perspective. A designer must make sure it aligns with what the customer wants and needs.

 

Design thinking is also broken into a process:

 

  1.       Empathising with the customer – Thinking from the customer perspective.
  2.       Ideating what the customer would want – Using perspective and research.
  3.       Prototyping the ideas formed – Creating mock-ups of the possible design.
  4.       Creating multiple iterations of the prototype. Do this until you find a standout or preferred model. These mock-ups are great for people to look at, an idea of what you’re trying to create.
  5.       Launching the new design – Release the design into the world.

Image Source: Neilson Norman Group

 

This leads to having customers tell their friends their thoughts on your product. This is incredibly valuable. You trust their endorsements, it’s one of the most trusted forms of advertising. Because they won’t tell you how good something is as they aren’t paid to do so. I’m sure you want that sort of buzz for your app!

 

What should you do now?

You should start today, create an app that understands what the user wants. An app that they will show their friends. Don’t let your idea’s potential go to waste!

Was your app idea created using design thinking?

Because if you haven’t, why not?

If you hadn’t heard of design thinking until reading this blog, start today. Create the tools required to align your design with what your audience wants!

Image Source: Medium

 

Want to find out how to put design thinking into action?

Check out our other blog that dives into the tools used in design thinking. We describe what the tools are, how they’re used and their necessity.

 

Or visit the Launchpad quote page, if you have a brilliant idea for an app. Launchpad want to help you create a unique, successful app.

 

An App Entrepreneur’s Guide to Mobile UX and UI Design

A User Interface is like a joke. If you have to explain it, it’s not that good. 

Looking to create a successful mobile app? creating a great mobile user experience should be your number one priority.

When implementing a great user experience, consider the interface.

It’s often difficult to grasp the difference in the User Experience and User Interface design processes.

The concepts are often used interchangeably. This is because they work closely together.

But when it comes to the design disciplines involved, they refer to very different specialties in mobile app development.

Related: Here’s a Quick Way to Design Your Very First Mobile App

In this blog, we look at the importance of UX and UI design. As well as the differences between the two.

 

Melbourne App Developers

This is a great way to show differences between UX and UI design. Source: Medium

 

What is User Experience Design?

At Launchpad, our User Experience Designers outline the end-to-end experience. Showing what users engage with when using a mobile application or website.

I’ve been the Product Manager for an array of mobile apps. I’ve come to notice that the UX process is a science.

The information is laid out from screen-to-screen. Then we show how end users interact with it. This is the result of the UX Designer working with entrepreneurs and businesses.

They collaborate to define and plan business goals.

Goals that make sense for the consumers who will use the specific app features.

A UX Designer is focused on an app user being able to complete a certain task. Done through research, wireframing, prototyping and user testing. The UX process ensures the user can ‘do a certain thing’. Which was established through certain business goals in an intuitive and seamless manner.

What has happened for the User Experience to reach this point?

The UX design process has likely spent countless hours. Defining the business goals, prototyping the mobile experience and fitting it in the operating system (E.g. iPhone and iPad Apps). Done so that the experience is built and integrated with existing navigational flows.

They know the best practices that will lead to the most seamless experience. For a user, from how to layout an entire screen (big picture) to the intricate details (small picture).

An example of this may be when to use a dropdown box rather than a text input field. Or segmenting button types (primary, secondary and tertiary). And considering the app onboarding experience, and much more.

Related: What do Successful Apps have in common? These 7 Essential Onboarding Strategies!

What does a User Experience Designer do?

As such, a UX Designer needs to ensure that an app logically flows. In other words,  build an experience that feels intuitive and right for the user. An app is intuitive when the user can go through screens without have to think about what they are doing.

Like a scientist, the shared set of known basic UX Design principles have been established. All through trial and error when producing a desired outcome.

Therefore, a UX Designer needs to find the solution to a problem as quickly as possible. Selecting from a list of potential paths that lead to the same result. A UX Designer is like a doctor. In the sense that the can prescribe a number of different types of medicine to cure your cold. But based on their knowledge about you, they choose which one most suitable.

 

What is User Interface Design?

If your interested, this was previously noted in a different blog.

UI Design involves taking the output from the UX Design. Then turns it into an art. The UX process defines what a user does on a page or within the navigational flow of an app. On the other hand, the UI process defines how that page/flow looks and feels.

UI Design is an art form. It focuses on all the aspects that make a mobile app beautiful and fun to use, Considering graphics, colours, animation, etc. The UI components on any given screen come together. All to provide the overall aesthetic feel for any given mobile app.

App Development Australia

The iPhone’s gesture-based navigation tools. Source: The 4 Characteristics of Successful App Startups

 

In an article about the distinctions between UX and UI design. Dain Miller captures the essence of great UI Designers. They design for emotion.

What does a User Interface Designer do?

A UI Designer takes wireframes and prototypes to a completely new level. By making sure that users feel in their element when using a mobile app. It’s not just a mix of flat and material designs coupled with some pretty pictures. The UI Designer is building a state of mind. Where the user feels 100% comfortable and confident with the mobile app.

For example, the UX Designer may outline that tapping a button directs a user to another page. The UI Designer takes this information to create a visual signal to the user. Showing that they are being directed to another page. This happens through the button changing colour to signal the next page is loading.

This is why we consider UI to be an art form. It’s not just about building overall visuals that put mobile users at ease. A great UI Designer considers every single interaction. They do so to provide those small, yet critical cues. Which visually signal a very simple and pleasant message to the user. For example: “You’re doing great, you’re on the right track, keep going.”

 iPhone App Development

UX Designer vs UI Designer. Source: UX Motel

 

The Difference Between UX and UI Design

The image below presents the most common difference in the outputs of UX and UI Designers. The one to the left is part of a UX wireframe done on Lucidchart. It’s predominantly black and white with a simple layout of the elements. On the right side is a Photoshop version of the Life Pulse Android Wear App.

Android App Development

 

In Career Foundry’s guide to UX and UI designers. The expected deliverables for each role were summarised as follows:

Australian App Developer

 

One of the deliverables to note from the list above is the wireframe. The wireframe creation includes a variety of conditions. Which are triggered by different elements throughout the app. Creating wireframes often feature a list of conditions the developers must follow when coding. For instance, tapping on the X button directs me to the Y page. The UX Designer is responsible for calling out all these specific details.

When it comes to the UI Designer, they are responsible for redlining each app screen they create. Each redline provides intricate detail into the typography, padding, graphics etc. it refers to. Essentially, all elements on an app screen are specified by pixels. To ensure the front end is implemented correctly.

So why do great UI Designers undertake such a time-consuming task when creating a mobile user experience? Well, as the late Steve Jobs so succinctly put it: “Details matter, it’s worth waiting to get it right.”

 

Key Takeaways

We focused on the main differences between UX and UI Design when it comes to mobile apps. While both processes cover different areas of expertise. With many sub-specialties, there is a great degree of fluidity between them.

A mobile app that looks great but is difficult to use is an example of good UI and poor UX. But what about an app that is usable but looks horrible?
It likely has a great UX process and not-so-great UI.

The UX and UI processes should be your first priority to create market-leading user experience.

What do you think makes a great mobile user experience? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Ready to design a successful mobile app?

Contact us for a free 1-hour discovery session.

Take the next step today.

 

Australian App Developers

 

 

7 Onboarding Hacks to turn App Downloads into Active Users

App onboarding increases the likelihood of new users becoming loyal customers of your app. Why should you apply onboarding strategies for your mobile app? Simply put, if users don’t understand your app right away, there’s a good chance they’ll never open your app again. 

The onboarding process is designing the first impression a user has of your app. Doing it correctly increases the chance of successful user adoption. The onboarding procedure highlights the key benefits and features to reinforce your app’s value. An app’s retention rate increases by 50% with a strong on boarding process making this practice is essential to app success.

Onboarding allows your app to build strong relationships with engaged users. When done poorly or ignored entirely, you risk users not understanding your app through a negative experience that leads them to potentially abandon your app altogether.

So what exactly are the key aspects to a great onboarding experience? Read on to find out the 7 best app onboarding strategies that are guaranteed to keep your users satisfied, informed and coming back for more.

 

1. Highlight Your Value Proposition

A lot of startups and businesses make the mistake of trying to tell users everything they can about their app, rather than showing how their app offering can improve the user’s life.

People don’t care about features – they care about what they can do with those features. That’s why you should always lead with the value proposition of your app. As previously mentioned, a value proposition is a positioning statement that explains the benefit your app provides for whom and how your app does this uniquely well.

Now I’m not saying that impressive functionality and innovative features aren’t important, but in the long term, showing your users what they can do with those features is what wins them over. Jason Fried, Founder and CEO of Basecamp, said it best:

Melbourne App Developers

 

2. Emphasize Core Features

While your app’s value proposition should always come first for onboarding, your target audience still need to understand the main functions of your app. Showcasing the key features of your app to users will help them follow through with desired actions by utilising highlighted key buttons and callouts.

Remember, don’t go throwing in the kitchen sink when onboarding. Instead, just stick to the core features that demonstrate the value your app provides. Those less-essential-but-really-cool features can always be showcased later with your second, third or fourth app promotion. These additional features can easily be introduced by apps using in-app messages.

App Development Australia

One Minute Closer focuses on the key features that users care about in onboarding.

 

3. Only Ask Users For What You Need

Many apps require messaging permissions or data access in order to provide the most valuable experience. By using permission requests, you can ask users to allow your app to access this data.

When particular data is critical for key app functions, be sure to prompt the user to provide data access. This does not mean you should bombard users with permission requests during the app onboarding process. Research shows that 60% of users have chosen not to install an app after finding out how much personal information the app requested.

The best way to avoid losing potential users is to only use essential permission requests initially. Clearly state why you are asking for access to only these areas of their smartphone and how that information is vital to them getting value from your app. Save ‘nice to have’ permissions for when the potential user is an engaged app consumer.

 

4. Make It Easy to Sign Up

The sign up process is a can often become a barrier to app adoption, so you need to make sure the signing up to your app is simple, fast and easy.

If possible, you should always give users the option to log in to your app with an existing social media account, such as Facebook or Twitter. Not only do social network options allow users to access your app in one or two clicks, but it also helps them to build trust with your app offering.

iPhone App Development

Apps that let users log in with Facebook, Google Plus or email. Source: Kiip

 

To optimise your app user onboarding process, test a variety of login options – do more users prefer to sign up with their email address or via social? Do users prefer to sign up with Facebook or Twitter? Could you get rid of a sign up route all together?

 

It is also important to experiment with timing. Some apps require users to sign in as soon as the app is launched, even before onboarding begins, while others have more success prompting users to sign up after the onboarding process.

 

5. Keep It Quick & Don’t Overwhelm Users

Stick to the basics when prioritising your app’s on boarding experience.  You don’t want to force users to swipe through countless screens before they even try your app!

Get your point access with app screenshots and illustrations rather than written explanations. As a general rule of thumb, stick to one feature explanation per screen to ensure that users don’t become overwhelmed. It is recommended to include progress indicators as part of your onboarding process.

 Wearable App Development

Progress indicators show how many onboarding screens users need to read through. Source: Life Pulse

 

Progress indicators are often presented as parallax images or small circle that provide the user with a sense of build-up and movement. These indicators help users understand if they are near the start, middle or end of your app’s introduction.

 

6. Avoid the Obvious

An efficient app onboarding experience gets to the point. Therefore, you need to trim off any redundant fat to keep the onboarding process as streamlined and quick as possible.

Stating the obvious is a waste of time. App users understand that a camera icon will launch their device’s camera function, while most users will know the type of icons associated with liking and sharing functions, just as long as they’re not too different from the norm.

If you’re not deviating too far from standard design principles, explaining an app’s navigational framework is largely unnecessary.

 

7. End With a Call-To-Action

To guide users towards the next step to take at the end of your app’s onboarding experience, consider integrating a direct call-to-action (CTA). Prompting users to get immediately involved with your app helps them get excited about the app and grow towards being engaged users.

Mobile Music Streaming Service Spotify implements an effective CTA technique. One look at Spotify’s homepage makes it pretty clear that their goal is to get users to subscribe for a paid premium account, while the CTA for the free sign up option is very much secondary.

App Development Melbourne

Spotify’s homepage features an effective call-to-action. Source: HubSpot

 

Not only does the headline give this away, but so too does the colouring of the CTA buttons. The ‘Go Premium’ CTA is coloured lime green so it pops off the page. In comparison, the ‘Play Free’ CTA is plain white to blend in with the rest of the page. This contrast is done to draw potential Spotify users to the premium CTA.

 

So the App Onboarding Process Is Over – What’s Next?

In most cases, users want be able to know ‘everything’ about your app within the onboarding process.

Therefore, it’s important to make resources available to users that allow them to continue learning about your app’s functionality after onboarding. Your most loyal and engaged users will seek out these informative materials, so make sure you have them ready!

What is the onboarding process for your app? How could the onboarding experience your app provides be improved? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

 

The Blueprint to Designing Your App Icon

As the visual anchor for your app, you need to nail the icon design at the beginning. In this post, we discuss the best practices to creating a memorable and unique icon that entices app store browsers to download your app.

Uber may only be 6 years old, but that didn’t stop the $85 billion company from recently rolling out a redesign for its entire brand. In doing so, Uber completely changed its highly recognisable monochrome U-shaped icon into something that looks like:

a) A backwards ‘C’

b) An evil Pac-Man

c) It’s forever updating

d) All of the above

So what was Uber’s rationale for the new icon design?

The square is meant to represent the bit — a nod to Uber’s technology. The colours and patterns being introduced to the branding represent the atom — the people and things that Uber transports and the places where it operates.” 

Travis Kalanik, CEO of Uber

That sounds kind of cool and interesting, but Uber’s previous icon had imprinted itself in the minds of budget-conscious travellers everywhere. So why would the transport unicorn completely drop its familiar ‘U’ for a non-distinct shape?

Armin Vit opines for Brand New: “Let’s assume that it’s a matter of being used to poking an app icon for the last six years and that we just need to get used to poking at this new one. Even then, it seems like this is an icon for something else altogether.”

Uber App Icon

Uber’s new icon eating it’s way through the transportation industry.

An app icon is the one, singular piece of graphic design that users will interact with first each time they see your product. A great app icon becomes synonymous with what the app enables users to do and how it makes them feel.

So you’ve validated your app concept and now need to design an identifiable and unique app icon. But what exactly makes a great app icon?

We’ve put together an essential guide to designing an app icon that screams ‘Install ME!’… Without the unnecessary redesign 6 years later.

Scalability – Big or Small, the Icon Needs to Look Good

Your icon is going to be shown on a variety of screens, and in a variety of sizes, so it’s important your creation maintains legibility. It needs to look good on the App Store, on Retina devices and even as a favicon for the app’s promotional website.

One Minute Closer App Icon

An app icon needs to work at multiple resolutions retaining the legibility of the concept across the range of sizes. Source: One Minute Closer

When designing your app icon, consider the following scaling tips from App Icon Template:

  • Design and test the icon in multiple contexts and sizes.
  • Think simple and focus on a single shape or element.
  • Your icon should retain its recognisability when scaled.

As for software applications that let you design with this scalability, we recommend the use of Adobe Photoshop. If this is your first attempt at creating an icon, working with a free Photoshop template from AppIconTemplate.com is probably the best approach.

Simplicity – Clearly Convey What Your App Does

You have a confined 57×57 pixel space for your app icon. This is the first thing that browsers see when searching on the Apple App Store and Google Play. Do these potential users a favour by having your icon clearly convey what your app does.

You can’t always rely on users tapping your app to view it’s optimised screenshots on the preview page. Your icon should stand on it’s own.

App Analytics company App Annie provide the following rules of thumb to keeping your icon simple:

  • The most effective icons have a simple design and clear message.
  • Make sure the icon represents the core brand values of your app. This could be the app’s primary function, such as Gmail’s use of a letter or a gaming app using the main character.
  • The colours used in the icon should pop while still reflecting the in-app colour scheme.

Applying these rules of thumb will greatly assist in highlighting your app’s unique selling point.

Uniqueness – Stand Out in the Crowd

Let’s consider a user who downloads your app, closes their iPhone and then opens their menu screen later on. On a smartphone that’s already filled with apps, what is it about yours that is going to grab the user’s attention and stand out from the crowd? It’s an app icon that’s instantly recognisable and unique.

App Store Productivity Apps

It seems that uniqueness doesn’t enter the design process for Productivity apps. Source: idApostle

When attempting to create a unique icon, focus on a shape or object that stands out. Consider Snapchat’s ghost. The icon both sticks out and highlights the app’s unique selling point of ‘poof-it’s gone’ snaps.

Also consider choosing colours that contrast and pop, as this is often an overlooked way of positioning an app. Spotify does this well by pairing green with a starkly contrasting black. When a user browses the App Store for a music streaming service, these colour choices are what help Spotify stand out from competing apps.

Avoid Text – The App’s Name Often Accompanies the Icon

Words and images are separate representational tools. Combining them in what is supposed to be a visual representation often leads to a cluttered and unfocused experience that is difficult to decode. As such, you should avoid using copy or text in your app icon.

‘But this blog started with a Kanye-like rant about how Uber’s rebranding from a ‘U’ text icon to an unrecognisable shape was a mistake’, I hear you say.

Well first of all, I think we can all agree that this blog’s introduction made more sense than any rambling tweet from Kanye West.

Secondly, if you’re using a singe letter and validate it as a suitable fit, then the letter avoids being ‘wordy’ and becomes iconic by itself. However, this is more often the exception than the rule.

Your app’s name will be written next to the icon on the app stores and smartphone menu screens. Therefore, using text – especially if it’s your app’s name – is redundant.

Before designing your app icon…

An app’s icon is highly influential for standing out on the app store and engaging potential users with your product. Make sure that it’s scalable, simple, unique and visually conveys the app’s core value.

Along with the product strategy you plan to implement, nailing the icon design will put you on the right path towards a successful launch into the market.

Do you have any tools and tips for designing an app icon? We’d love to hear about them.