5 Bulletproof Choices to Make Your App Shine

By argodesign


Designing a mobile experience that will set you apart from the masses in the app store is an exercise in strategic creativity, requiring a deep understanding of how humans want to interact with technology. After 10 years of designing intuitive, invisible interfaces, here are five common pieces of advice we’ve given to companies we work with. 

Recreate the real world

The design should speak the users' language, with words, phrases, and concepts familiar to them, rather than internal jargon. Follow real-world conventions, making information appear in a natural and logical order. Users shouldn’t have to wonder whether different words, situations, or actions mean the same thing.

Always in the know

Your users should always be informed about what is going on while using the app, through appropriate feedback within a reasonable amount of time. If a response will be less than instantaneous, give the user a heads-up as to time estimate, and appropriately obtrusive updates as things progress.

Provide a parachute

Users often perform actions by mistake. They need a clearly marked "emergency exit" to leave the unwanted action without having to go through an extended process. Good error messages are important, but the best designs prevent problems from occurring in the first place. Either eliminate error-prone conditions or present users with a confirmation option before committing to an action. Once users feel comfortable undoing actions they’ll experiment, learn, and engage more.

Recognition rather than recall

Minimize the user's memory load by making elements, actions, and options visible. The user should not have to remember information from one part of the interface to another. Interfaces shouldn’t contain information that is irrelevant or rarely needed. Every extra unit of information in an interface competes with the relevant units of information and diminishes their relative visibility. Of course, you must avoid information overload, which varies by culture and individual, so allow for some personalized density control too. Otherwise, intelligent modes based on where the app is being used, for instance, should add or trim options based on context. 

Flexibility and efficiency of use

Shortcuts or advanced modes — hidden from novice users — may speed up interactions for the expert user so that the design can cater to both inexperienced and experienced users. This allows users to tailor frequent actions to their way of working. Often these experiences reveal themselves using progressive disclosure, best exemplified in video games. In Zelda, for example, you don’t start with dozens of tools and struggle to learn them all. You earn one at a time, and only after you’ve demonstrated mastery of that item does the game reveal the next. Similarly our apps should unlock options only when users are ready for them—not when they’ve just started. This also reduces the need for the dreaded “tutorial” screens.

There’s a misconception that app design is table stakes, a simple project to knock out before focusing on your broader platform. On the contrary, it requires technologically savvy design supported by robust market and user research and a team of creatives that know how to blend it all for an intuitive, enjoyable user experience. From mapping out a broad UX strategy to executing the design tactics behind every detail, we love this kind of work. Let's build your next big thing, whatever it might be, together.

Get in Touch

Our clients vary a lot in terms of size, market, and technology. Every relationship starts with a conversation.

Contact Us