Principles of ~Mobile App~ Design

In a crowded market, how does an app attract new customers, gain loyalty, and deliver value? With great design for a delightful app experience. Here, Google’s UX Research Lead Jenny Gove will take you through 25 principles to build an app that helps users achieve what they’re looking to do.

I really enjoyed this booklet (PDF, Web) on driving conversions through better mobile app design, but I was struck by one thought as I was reading: Isn’t this applicable to nearly all design work?

Mobile–as championed by the slightly-old-fashioned-but-still-relevant Mobile First dogma–forces the designer to focus their efforts to just those bits the user needs. Slow connection speeds and constrained system resources force us to consider the cost / benefit of each interaction.

But, while mobile is a hot term (and certainly well-deserving of our attention), it’s not alone in benefitting from this care. As the lines between all of our devices continue to blur, we’ll have to put this same thought towards new form factors and functionality.

Three big takeaways universal to good interface design:

  1. Guide users through task completion. I’m often struck by the number of calls for “simple” apps. Simple can rarely solve complex problems. Focus and guidance can make complex issues manageable.
  2. Speak the language of your user. Buttons and calls to action need to be clear (not clever). Information architecture must value user-centered categories over business unit silos.
  3. Frictionless environment. The article discusses this in terms of app-to-web interfaces, but we need to make sure the ability to move from device to device or different views on the same device remain clean and clear.
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