How to Improve Mobile App Design: 9 Tips

How to Improve Mobile App Design: 9 Tips
The moment mobile use outstripped desktop use is more than three years in the past. Therefore, it is not a question of whether you should develop mobile apps or not, but how to improve your mobile app design to make it more user friendly.

The problem with native mobile app design is the limitations of space. Designing for a 4-inch screen (or less) doesn’t give you a lot of leeway, so you have to plan your interface carefully to successfully integrate form with function. Here are 9 tips to help you get it right. 

1. Apply the rules of interaction design

A smaller screen doesn’t change how people interact with a site. To maximize interaction with your app, make sure your design follows the rules of interaction design:
  • Goal driven for the right user
  • Usable
  • Functional using signifiers i.e. blue underlined text signifies a clickable link
  • Intuitive using familiar patterns
  • Responsive with feedback

2. Clean as you go

Steve Jobs said, “Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it's really how it works.” When designing for your mobile app, it can be tempting to add some flashy visuals. However, if they are not necessary for your app to work, you want to leave those out. You want to keep it as clean and simple as possible so that your user will easily find the elements that will make the app work. An excellent tip for UI design is to make it easy for people with fat fingers to tap or click and action button. 

3. Define your target market

It is impossible to design for all demographics, so develop a buyer persona for your app before you begin your design. This will help you with your initial design, and improve it efficiently with user testing for your target market. You should also establish user scenarios and experience maps for a robust UI. User scenarios project how your buyer persona is likely to act, while experience maps look at all possible combinations of conditions and emotions that a user will experience for each interaction. You will make many mistakes with your first app, but you can apply the lessons learned to future app development for the same market. 

4. Use in-app user analytics

The best way to improve your mobile app design is to analyze how people actually use your app using in-app analytics software such as Google Analytics or App Annie. Analytic tools can tell you a lot about what is right and wrong with your app. Here are some suggestions for choosing the right in-app analytics software for you. 

5. Keep it compatible

Apple Smart Watch
Your users will typically use more than one platform as a matter of course, so you have to make sure your app will work in different platforms. While the majority of mobile users are on Android (80.7%) and iOS (17.7%), there are still quite a few users on Windows (1.092 million users), Blackberry (207,900), and other OS (530,400). Aside from the operating system, you need to make your app responsive for different devices, such as an Apple Watch, which has a way smaller screen than the typical smartphone. It’s a tall order, but if you can, you should. 

6. Provide concise information

Mobile app design assumes that users already know what they want when they download an app, so it is up to you to deliver the goods. Relevant information should be easily accessible when needed without compromising the design, so this means putting in concise copy. If you tend to be verbose when giving instructions or other vital information, have professional essay services edit it for you.

7. Follow guidelines

You can definitely experiment with the navigation and interactions on your mobile app, but keep in mind that you need to incorporate some standards. These are not well-established, so if you want to sell your app on Google Play or App Store, you need to find out what standards they require. 

8. Keep it text-light

Mobile devices are not the best platform for text-heavy content, so keep text to a minimum when designing your app. While less is more for mobile use, interactive visual elements instead of text can go a long way in improving your app’s function and keeping your users engaged. Check out these apps for your inspiration. 

9. Keep updating it to improve security

Most apps will encounter security issues as they become popular. Breaches in user data can seriously affect user confidence, so you have to keep an eagle eye out for attempts at hacking and phishing. Here are some excellent tips for keeping your app and users safe from malicious persons.


Responsive mobile app design is the key to an engaged user. If you want your app to become popular, you have to improve it for your users’ benefit as much as you can. The tips above are not an exhaustive list, but they cover the most important aspects of your mobile app. If nothing else, you should make sure you cover all these bases first.


People call Laura Buckler's writing 'clear, compelling and concise'. In addition to being a stand out author, Laura is known for her attention to detail and intriguing writing style. As a writer and editor with years of experience, Laura is now testing the marketing waters, too. Follow her on twitter.

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