The Art of App Design: Crafting Intuitive Interfaces
There are millions of apps on different app stores and platforms that users can download for their devices. If you are thinking of developing one, you can be sure numerous other apps do a similar thing and provide similar functionality. So, how do you prevent your app from being lost in the crowd? You make it intuitive, efficient, and easy to figure out. Beyond choosing the right colors and ensuring proper structure, here are some ways to create intuitive interfaces for your app.
Figure Out the Basics As Early As Possible
Your app and its interface will build upon the basics that you establish at the start. For this reason, you should design the app with best practices in mind from the prototyping stage. Doing this will help you visualize how it will look and function once complete and have this vision from the start.
Before creating a wireframe, you can use a sketch template to capture the app’s essence and share your vision with stakeholders to get their input. Sometimes people outside the development process have insights you do not, and that become useful once development starts. A sketch helps them share their input as early as possible so you can incorporate it before moving forward.
Stick To Known Patterns
Years of using mobile apps and websites have conditioned us to expect things to work in certain ways and for elements to be located in specific places. For example, we expect the menu icon on the top right and the logo on the top left.
You could switch UI elements and patterns, but doing so would make the interface unintuitive and require the app’s users to learn new patterns. With how resistant people are to change, they will likely abandon the app rather than do so.
Group-Related UI Elements
As with known patterns, users have become used to certain elements being in the same group. For example, they expect the profile link or icon to be located close to the sign-out link and related elements.
When designing an interface, consider what elements should go together and what your users expect. Doing so will help you avoid the mistake many designers make of scattering related elements all over their app, making it unintuitive and difficult to use.
Provide Action Cues and Feedback
What happens when a user clicks a link, taps a button, or types into a box? If they do not receive feedback, they will think they did something wrong, or the app is not working. They might then perform the same action multiple times, increasing the likelihood of the app not working as intended.
Avoid confusion and provide feedback for user actions. If the user types into a box, provide haptic feedback to reassure them. If they click a button to navigate to another part of the app or submit data, provide a loading indicator or spinning icon to show them something is happening.
The key to intuitive app design is ensuring users do not do more than they have to and making things as obvious as possible. It also requires providing feedback that reassures them. Missing any of these elements will make them deem your app unusable or difficult to use, and they will opt for one that makes things more intuitive and looks and feels easier to use.