Designing for mobile applications is very different from designing for desktop applications. In the mobile world, it is all about creating an effective user experience; therefore the product design is an essential part of the project. Mobile interactions are very present in users’ everyday lives. In order to design successful mobile interactions, understanding the overlapping spheres of context in which they take place is a must. When designing for a multiscreen application, a consistent experience across all screens is essential.

The user-centered design methodology and interaction design principles could be considered as the basic knowledge of mobile design. The user-centered design methodology begins with specifying the audience, platform and device. It is an iterative process of:

  • User requirements analysis; to decide on the product goals based on the user needs.
  • Design prototype and evaluation; to iteratively sketch the product design and mockups.
  • Design and implementation; to create the user interface.
  • Usability evaluation; to repeatedly run usability evaluation to improve the product.
  • Launch and maintenance; to document the application and collect feedback.

While designing you must consider interaction design principles such as learnability, memorability, simplicity, efficiency, consistency, screen size, shallow and narrow navigation, useful feedback and error messages, minimizing user input and scrolling, prioritizing information and functionalities.

In addition keep in mind the design guidelines for mobile applications such as the icon design, text style and UI element guidelines. In designing the icons, use universal imagery, existing standards and keep the icons simple. You can take advantage of people’s knowledge of the world by using metaphors to convey concepts and features. Use metaphors that represent concrete, familiar ideas. Discover the users’ mental model of the task, which arises from a combination of real-world experiences and experience with other applications.

To put it in a nutshell, we discuss a short overview on what should be considered while designing the user interface and user experience of mobile applications and an introduction to the user-centered design methodology and interaction design principles.

By Minoo Joorabchi