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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!