Talking about mobile application design in our big comprehensive UI/UX design guide, we mentioned some mobile app design trends. But trends only help you to stay up-to-date. They only facilitate the proper work of your mobile design that should be based on several rules that have proved their efficiency. Today we’ll talk about 8 key principles of mobile UX design.
First of all, make sure you know the mobile application development steps:
- Setting the scope
- User/market research
- UX wireframe
- UI design
- Software architecture
- iOS/Android development
Steps 3(2)-6 cover the design stage. Your design must be useful (focused on the accomplishment of the user’s goal) and intuitive (no room for confusion). So to develop both vital qualities you should take advantage of the next…
8 key principles of mobile UX design
- Remove the clutter, protect your design from overloads
- Allocate user’s attention accordingly to your or user’s needs. Too much information can scare your user away and cause confusion.
- Get rid of all odd elements such as buttons, images, texts and other elements that are not vital. Perfection is achieved when there is nothing left to take away. Improve the comprehension by providing one primary action per screen. On mobile, it’s better to have many screens with a single action per each rather than one screen with many actions that are not clear.
- ‘One of the basic rules of good UX is to reduce the effort users have to put in to get what the want.’ – Nick Babich.
- Intuitive navigation
- This principle is at a high priority for every mobile (and web as well) app design. Good navigation should be invisible and effortlessly lead the user to the proper destination without any explanation. Visual metaphors and navigation elements must create a coherent flow.
- Mobile navigation must be consistent and communicate the current location. The user should know where exactly he or she is right now.
- Seamless experience for all type of devices
- Creating a seamless experience across mobile, desktop and tablet is very important for your users. There should be no dramatic difference for the same app across different devices.
- Design finger-friendly tap-targets
- All the targets in mobile interfaces design should be big enough so users could tap them easily with a finger. Not less than 7-10 mm. Don’t forget about the clear visual feedback.
- Legible content
- One of the challenges of mobile design is to fit a lot of information on a small user interface. Do not try to squish everything down in an attempt to provide as much information as possible. Remember, that text should be at least 11 points to be legible at a typical viewing distance without zooming. A good UI has a lot of breathing room.
- It’s better not to experiment with decorative fonts, but use the standard Helvetica Neue for iOS and Roboto for Android.
- Clearly visible interface elements
- Use color and contrast to help users see and interpret your content. The contrast between elements is especially vital for users with low vision.
- The W3C recommends the following contrast ratios for body text and image text: small text should have a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 against its background, large text (at 14 pt bold/18 pt regular and up) should have a contrast ratio of at least 3:1 against its background.
- Design controls should be based on hand position
- According to Steven Hoober research, about 49% of mobile users rely on one thumb to get things done on their phones. So when designing a mobile app, take care about comfort zones for a person’s one-handed reach on a smartphone. Place all the top-level menus, frequently-used controls and common actions in these comfort zones of one-thumb interactions.
- Minimize the need for typing
- Keep forms as short and simple as possible by removing any unnecessary fields. Use auto-complete and personalized data where appropriate so that users only have to enter the bare minimum of information.
We hope you understand all the power of these principles. Following them can make even the most simple mobile design become very successful and popular with users. We know how that works!