A few simple tips for designing better iPhone applications

When users browse online Apple Stores to purchase new applications for their iPhone devices, they predominantly judge a product based on their impression of design. Despite we’ve always been taught not to judge a book by its cover, screenshots and apps trial is the only possible way to decide whether quality of the apps satisfies you. And it’s quite understandable. Since one can’t judge ease-of-use (usability) of the apps, the only factor that has an impact on decision-making is design. As statistics shows, applications with better design tend to be chosen more frequently.

So here’s a question: how to design apps for iPhone with better design? Well, I’d like to share with you a few simple tips how you can improve the quality of your applications.

When we talk about design of application, first thing first we imply two main components: user experience (UE) design and user interface (UI) design. User experience design is all about the goals of the apps. Designers need to consider what features should be included in design and how users would be able to accomplish their goals.

The UI design is what application looks like in appearance. This type of design includes such elements as colour, textures and fonts which all play an important role in creating the visual style of the application.

When we talk about creating design for iPhone applications, a high-skilled developer should focus on both of those components. But I would emphasize on the importance of designing the user experience first thing first. Start with wireframes. That should be priority. Only then you can actually work with the visual design of iPhone app.

A wireframe is basically an idea that you base on. It doesn’t include any visual elements. All it’s supposed to do is to outline the concept of the app. Web designers use their own methods to prepare a sketch. Some webmasters use simple boxes and frames. Others use everything from various editorial programs. A popular tool for wireframing is Balsamiq Mockups. But honestly speaking, at this stage a tool doesn’t really matter.

Another thing you can do to improve usability of your iPhone application is to use finger-sized tap targets. By increasing the tappable area of every button you will make the app more user friendly. It doesn’t mean that you have to create huge buttons. The tappable area can extend beyond the visual size of the button.

When creating applications I would also recommend to focus on only one primary goal per screen that you want your users to accomplish. All other complementary buttons shouldn’t be emphasized on the screen. However, you need to be able to distinguish what’s the most important message and make it clear.

These are very simple tips but I believe they will help you to improve the quality of your iPhone apps!


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