How to Design an App that’s Functional
Many application developers with extensive technical knowledge believe that they know how to design an app, because basic app design is a fundamental part of the process of creating and developing an app. To design an app that has both functionality and form, however, requires a little bit more than a simple wireframe design process, and some application developers find that they need to work in partnership with app designers when designing an app in order to ensure that it achieves this balance of technicality and creativity.
Visual Details are Important
Although the two end results will be different, the underlying principals of good website design can be applied to the process used to design an app so that resulting apps have the right balance of functionality and aesthetic appeal. Typography, whitespace, sign-posting and colour schemes all have an important role to play in creating the best user experience for applications, in much the same way that they do for users of websites. This is especially important to design an app for commercial web and mobile applications, but also needs to be considered for business software applications too.
Designing for Devices and Users
A contributing factor to whether an app has a design that is functional or not is whether the app has been designed with users and user devices in mind. The way in which an app or application is used has as much of an impact on its design as the preferences and needs of the individuals who are using it. Today’s web-enabled devices offer users different points of interaction and connectivity when compared to a traditional desktop, so to design an app for mobile and web use that is effective the process needs to make use of these where appropriate.
Something that is equally important to a design an app process is to consider the environment in which the app will be used. Business application software, for example, is much more likely to be utilised by multiple users on traditional desktops and web browsers in busy or noisy environments, so the resulting design of the application needs to be as simple and intuitive as possible.
Why Less means More
Although all apps and applications need a design that is visually appealing, this does not mean that the design needs to be jam-packed with different colours, images and sounds. An app design that has the right balance between transparency, brand and beautiful aesthetics will highlight and enhance its important content and will be much more appealing to its intended users. The fewer separate components there are to an app design, the more value it will bring to both the users of the app and the business or organisation that has initially invested in developing and building the app.
The principals of functional app design can be applied to designing an app for of all purposes and functions, from business applications to commercial mobile apps. We take a closer look at how mobile applications designers use these principals to create mobile applications designs in the next article in our series – Beautiful and Functional Mobile App Design