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Mobile apps are becoming more popular and essential in our daily lives. Whether it’s for entertainment, productivity, education, or socializing, we rely on mobile apps to perform various tasks and access various services. However, not all mobile apps are equally user-friendly. Some apps are easy to use, intuitive, and enjoyable, while others are frustrating, confusing, and disappointing. What makes the difference? How can you design a mobile app interface that is user-friendly and appealing?

In this blog post, I will share some best practices for creating user-friendly mobile app interfaces, based on the principles of UI design, usability, and user experience. I will also show you some examples of mobile app UI designs that follow these best practices. By the end of this post, you will have a better understanding of how to design a mobile app interface that is user-friendly and attractive.

UI Design Principles

UI design principles are the basic guidelines that help designers create effective and consistent user interfaces. They are based on the understanding of human psychology, behavior, and preferences. Some of the most common UI design principles are:

  • The structure principle: The interface should be organized in a clear and logical way, following a consistent layout and hierarchy.
  • The simplicity principle: The interface should be easy to understand and use, avoiding unnecessary elements and complexity.
  • The visibility principle: The interface should show the users what they need to know and do, using appropriate visual cues and feedback.
  • The feedback principle: The interface should provide timely and informative feedback to the users’ actions, using appropriate sounds, animations, and messages.
  • The tolerance principle: The interface should prevent errors and help users recover from mistakes, using clear instructions, warnings, and undo options.
  • The reuse principle: The interface should reuse familiar patterns, icons, colors, and terminology across the app, creating a consistent and coherent experience.
App interface

The Mobile App Design Process: What Are We Building?

Before you start designing your mobile app interface, you need to have a clear idea of what you are building and why. You need to define the purpose, goals, target audience, and features of your app. You also need to conduct research and analysis to understand the needs, preferences, expectations, and behaviors of your potential users. You can use various methods such as surveys, interviews, personas, scenarios, user journeys, etc. to gather user insights.

Based on your research and analysis, you can create a list of requirements for your app design. These requirements should specify what your app should do (functional requirements) and how it should do it (non-functional requirements). For example:

  • Functional requirements: The app should allow users to order food from nearby restaurants, browse menus, customize orders, pay online or in cash, track delivery status, rate and review restaurants, etc.
  • Non-functional requirements: The app should be fast, reliable, secure, accessible, responsive, etc.

The Mobile App Design Process: How Do We Build It?

Once you have a clear list of requirements for your app design, you can start creating your mobile app interface. You can follow these steps to design your app interface:

  • Sketching: Sketching is a quick and easy way to generate ideas and explore different layouts and interactions for your app interface. You can use paper and pencil or digital tools to sketch your app screens and flows. Sketching helps you visualize your ideas and communicate them with others.
  • Wireframing: Wireframing is a more detailed and refined way to define the structure and functionality of your app interface. You can use wireframing tools to create low-fidelity or high-fidelity prototypes of your app screens and flows. Wireframing helps you test your ideas and get feedback from users and stakeholders.
  • Mockuping: Mockuping is a more realistic and polished way to present the look and feel of your app interface. You can use mockuping tools to create high-fidelity prototypes of your app screens and flows with colors, fonts, icons, images, etc. Mockuping helps you finalize your design decisions and prepare for development.
aPP DESIGN

Best Practices for Creating User-Friendly Mobile App Interfaces

Now that you know the basic steps of designing a mobile app interface, let’s look at some best practices that will help you create a user-friendly mobile app interface. These best practices are based on the UI design principles mentioned above as well as some specific considerations for mobile devices.

  • Make it easy: Your mobile app interface should be easy to understand and use for your users. You should break down complex tasks into simple steps, tell the users exactly what they need to do, and avoid hiding important information or functionality behind menus or gestures. For example, the food delivery app UI design below makes it easy for users to order food by showing them clear steps, options, and information on each screen1.
  • Make the navigation of your app predictable: Your mobile app interface should be predictable for your users. They should be able to navigate your app without getting lost or confused. You should follow the common conventions and patterns for mobile app navigation, such as tabs, menus, back buttons, etc. You should also follow the 3-click rule, which states that users should be able to reach their desired screen or function within three clicks or taps. You should also save users’ progress and preferences across the app and make it accessible across multiple devices. For example, the real estate app UI design below makes the navigation of the app predictable by using a tab bar at the bottom of the screen to show the main functions of the app, a search bar at the top of the screen to allow users to find properties easily, and a back button at the top-left corner of the screen to allow users to go back to the previous screen2.
  • Follow the basic laws of app navigation: Your mobile app interface should follow some basic laws of app navigation that are widely accepted and expected by users. These laws include:
    • Don’t make up your own language: You should use clear and consistent labels, icons, and terminology across your app. You should avoid using jargon, abbreviations, or symbols that are unfamiliar or ambiguous for your users.
    • X in the top right-hand corner: You should use an X icon in the top right-hand corner of your app screens to allow users to close or dismiss a modal window, pop-up, or overlay. This is a common pattern that users are familiar with and expect to see.
    • Save Button: You should use a Save button to allow users to save their changes or preferences in your app. You should place the Save button in a prominent and accessible location on your app screens, such as the top-right corner or the bottom-center. You should also provide feedback when users save their data successfully or unsuccessfully.
    • Light colored text field for inputs: You should use a light colored text field with a thin border to indicate where users can enter text or data in your app. You should also provide a clear label and placeholder text for each text field to guide users on what they need to enter.
  • Have a great, clear, and prioritized page design: Your mobile app interface should have a great, clear, and prioritized page design that showcases the most important and relevant information and functionality for your users. You should use visual hierarchy, contrast, alignment, spacing, and typography to create a balanced and harmonious layout for your app screens. You should also use color, shape, size, and animation to highlight and emphasize the key elements and actions on your app screens.

For example, the ecommerce app UI design below has a great, clear, and prioritized page design that showcases the products in an attractive and organized way. It uses a grid layout with consistent spacing and alignment to display the products in categories. It uses color, shape, size, and animation to highlight the product images, prices, ratings, and buttons.

  • Have brand image consistency: Your mobile app interface should have brand image consistency that reflects your identity and values. You should use a consistent color scheme, font style, logo, iconography, imagery, tone of voice, etc. across your app screens. This will help you create a memorable and distinctive impression on your users and increase their trust and loyalty.

For example, the social app UI design below has brand image consistency that reflects its identity and values. It uses a consistent color scheme of blue and white, a modern and minimalist font style, a simple and elegant logo, a unique iconography, and a friendly and casual tone of voice across its screens.

Social app UI design

  • Minimize input and commitment from the user: Your mobile app interface should minimize input and commitment from the user as much as possible. You should avoid asking for too much information or action from the user upfront or throughout your app. You should also minimize the need for typing or scrolling on your app screens. You can use various techniques to reduce input and commitment from the user, such as:
    • Don’t ask for set-up information up front: You should allow users to explore your app without requiring them to sign up or log in first. You can offer them a guest mode or a free trial option to let them experience your app before committing to it.
    • Minimize the need for typing: You should minimize the need for typing on your app screens by providing alternative input methods such as voice recognition, barcode scanning, autofill, etc. You can also use dropdown menus, checkboxes, radio buttons, sliders,
  • Minimize the need for scrolling: You should minimize the need for scrolling on your app screens by providing a clear and concise content and layout. You should avoid cluttering your app screens with too much information or elements that are not relevant or important for the user. You should also use pagination, tabs, accordions, collapsible menus, etc. to organize and display your content in a compact and accessible way.

For example, the news app UI design below minimizes the need for scrolling on its screens by providing a clear and concise content and layout. It uses a card-based design to display the news articles in categories. It also uses pagination, tabs, accordions, and collapsible menus to organize and display the content in a compact and accessible way.

News app UI design

Optimize for different screen sizes and orientations: Your mobile app interface should be optimized for different screen sizes and orientations that your users may use. You should use responsive design techniques to adapt your app layout and content to fit different screen widths and heights. You should also use adaptive design techniques to adjust your app functionality and features to suit different screen orientations (portrait or landscape). You should test your app design on various devices and platforms to ensure its compatibility and usability.

For example, the travel app UI design below is optimized for different screen sizes and orientations that its users may use. It uses responsive design techniques to adapt its layout and content to fit different screen widths and heights. It also uses adaptive design techniques to adjust its functionality and features to suit different screen orientations (portrait or landscape).

app design

Conclusion

Creating a user-friendly mobile app interface is not an easy task, but it is a rewarding one. By following the best practices mentioned in this blog post, you can design a mobile app interface that is easy, predictable, clear, prioritized, consistent, minimal, and optimized for your users. This will help you create a mobile app that is not only functional but also enjoyable and engaging for your users.

I hope you found this blog post helpful and informative. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to leave a comment below. Thank you for reading!