How App Developers Can Improve Design and Functionality

Published: December 6, 2012 Author: Clearpoint Tags: Job Hunting, News

App development is a red-hot field these days. With more than a billion active smartphone users worldwide--over 100 million of them in the United States--and 30 million apps downloaded every day, building a popular app can result in explosive success for a developer.

Of course, the best way to increase your app downloads is to create an application that people love. While the app's concept is important, the key to success lies in the execution. Users are looking for great design and functionality-- the more eye-catching and easy to use your app is, the better it will perform in the market.

Here are some app development tips to consider in creating successful apps that will be downloaded by the thousands.

Simplicity doesn't have to be simple

If you've got a lot of information and features to convey with your app, you might be struggling with the design. Of course, you want to make sure users know that your app contains a lot more than links to YouTube videos--but crowding the screen with detailed information is a major turn-off.

Look for ways to simplify your visual interface, and make it easy for users to enjoy all the features of your app. Remember, touch navigation is your friend in visual design--with pull down, pinch apart, drag, and swipe controls, you can pack a lot of functionality into a single screen with large, easy-to-navigate icons.

The Clear app is a good example of feature-packed, simple design. This to-do list program uses color to prioritize tasks, with deep red for the most important items that fades to yellow for tasks that aren't as important. Users can swipe to mark tasks as complete, screen swipe to change lists, drag tasks to rearrange priority, and more, all from a single interface.

Context is king

You already know that the user experience is vastly different from PC to smartphone or tablet--but is your app taking advantage of that? App users expect heightened interaction with their touch screens, so if your app looks and acts like a website, you won't have many takers.

During the development phase, take into consideration how and where people are going to use your app. Employ representative images or icons for actions, and make sure your text is crisp, clean, and spare. Your app should be easy to navigate, and easy to share--preferably with a single touch.

Slide to save screen real estate

While smartphone screens are getting slightly larger, the biggest of them--are still only 5.3 inches (at the time of the writing). That's small in comparison to tablets, and downright puny next to laptops and desktop monitors. Basically, when it comes to app real estate, every centimeter counts.

Sliding navigation can help save room, while still including all the features your users need. Skip the floating menus and top or bottom screen tabs in favor of extended vertical menus that slide in from the left or right. This lets you put the best of your app on the main screen, while still giving users fast access to everything.

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