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How to Design Native Mobile Apps

Published on 20 June 16
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If you want to design for small screens, your user interface (UI) must work at a speed of thoughts. Build simple apps having focused features and content. Think thrice before applying heavy graphics.

Initially, Facebook and Instagram were also simple and having core functionalities so just focus on an interface that is easy for novice users, unlike boring experienced user.
How to Design Native Mobile Apps - Image 1

If you want to design for small screens, your user interface (UI) must work at a speed of thoughts. Build simple apps having focused features and content. Think thrice before applying heavy graphics.

Initially, Facebook and Instagram were also simple and having core functionalities so just focus on an interface that is easy for novice users, unlike boring experienced user.

1. Understand the HIG

HIG (Human interface Guidelines) provides guidelines to developers for designing the best UI with clarity. App developers should read the HIG to get the clear idea of various things such as animation, typography, navigation, adaptability, branding etc. Examine the rules and if needs, break them accordingly.

2. Communicate with Developers

Frequently communicate with the app development team and get insights and challenges. Native mobile apps are developed across platforms and if you are working as a designer, u should have an idea what is hard or easy on each platform for example: it is hard to apply sticky headers and horizontal scroll styles on Android and iOSrespectively.

3. Lean and Rebuild

Reverse engineering is the best technique for learning the new skills. Just find out the best apps and try to learn the techniques used in designing those applications. Rebuild apps so that you can get the idea how they come together.

4. Make it interactive

Try to make it more interactive. Transitions and animations are key factors with make apps elegant. Play with codes and find out what makes the app better.

5. Services

Best service leads to best experience and quality app design. Quality and services are intertwined with each other. If you want best front end app, services are must be implemented, designed and should support the flow of data on the basis of user needs. As a designer, continuously check for the optimized mobile apps and connect with development partners for better mobile services.

6. Native apps and Web apps are not same

Keep in mind that native and web app designs look similar but they are different due to some key features for example gestures, different input/output schemes, states, views, and models.

i) Unlike page loads in web apps, native apps are smooth in transitions. Different modes, states, and views in native apps are communicated through the native animations.

ii) Unlike web apps where rollover or hover are used, the interaction model is different on a UI device. The right-click is explored by the 3D touch functionality.

iii) A mobile app has access to more than only a screen. It is not mandatory for every event to be executed in visual form, for instance, alert by the vibrations. Native apps have access to accelerometer, camera, gallery, microphone, gyroscope, contact list which are all input options for a mobile app. The output options are sound, vibrations, screen and the notifications.

iv) There are no 404 errors in native apps because a developer is building and designing each and everything according to the users’ need.

As a native app developer, you need to focus on several things which include:

    • Data Caching
    • Offline states
    • Connectivity
    • Blocking Loader (Loading)
    • Service failures
    • First Experience (Show tutorial)
    • App into foreground
    • App into background
    If you want to design for small screens, your user interface (UI) must work at a speed of thoughts. Build simple apps having focused features and content. Think thrice before applying heavy graphics.

    Initially, Facebook and Instagram were also simple and having core functionalities so just focus on an interface that is easy for novice users, unlike boring experienced user.

    How to Design Native Mobile Apps - Image 1

    If you want to design for small screens, your user interface (UI) must work at a speed of thoughts. Build simple apps having focused features and content. Think thrice before applying heavy graphics.

    Initially, Facebook and Instagram were also simple and having core functionalities so just focus on an interface that is easy for novice users, unlike boring experienced user.

    1. Understand the HIG

    HIG (Human interface Guidelines) provides guidelines to developers for designing the best UI with clarity. App developers should read the HIG to get the clear idea of various things such as animation, typography, navigation, adaptability, branding etc. Examine the rules and if needs, break them accordingly.

    2. Communicate with Developers

    Frequently communicate with the app development team and get insights and challenges. Native mobile apps are developed across platforms and if you are working as a designer, u should have an idea what is hard or easy on each platform for example: it is hard to apply sticky headers and horizontal scroll styles on Android and iOSrespectively.

    3. Lean and Rebuild

    Reverse engineering is the best technique for learning the new skills. Just find out the best apps and try to learn the techniques used in designing those applications. Rebuild apps so that you can get the idea how they come together.

    4. Make it interactive

    Try to make it more interactive. Transitions and animations are key factors with make apps elegant. Play with codes and find out what makes the app better.

    5. Services

    Best service leads to best experience and quality app design. Quality and services are intertwined with each other. If you want best front end app, services are must be implemented, designed and should support the flow of data on the basis of user needs. As a designer, continuously check for the optimized mobile apps and connect with development partners for better mobile services.

    6. Native apps and Web apps are not same

    Keep in mind that native and web app designs look similar but they are different due to some key features for example gestures, different input/output schemes, states, views, and models.

    i) Unlike page loads in web apps, native apps are smooth in transitions. Different modes, states, and views in native apps are communicated through the native animations.

    ii) Unlike web apps where rollover or hover are used, the interaction model is different on a UI device. The right-click is explored by the 3D touch functionality.

    iii) A mobile app has access to more than only a screen. It is not mandatory for every event to be executed in visual form, for instance, alert by the vibrations. Native apps have access to accelerometer, camera, gallery, microphone, gyroscope, contact list which are all input options for a mobile app. The output options are sound, vibrations, screen and the notifications.

    iv) There are no 404 errors in native apps because a developer is building and designing each and everything according to the users’ need.

    As a native app developer, you need to focus on several things which include:

      • Data Caching
      • Offline states
      • Connectivity
      • Blocking Loader (Loading)
      • Service failures
      • First Experience (Show tutorial)
      • App into foreground
      • App into background


      This blog is listed under Development & Implementations , Gadgets , Digital Media & Games and Mobility Community

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