The most successful mobile apps are also some of the easiest apps to use. They take up less time to learn, and also require lesser effort to use compared to other apps. People like simplicity especially in the way an app works so that they do not have to wrack their brains on them. But they also need apps that can deliver value to their needs. Balancing the same in a mobile app is the task of efficient mobile app UI design.
Design patterns are part of the best practices that are embraced by the best designers, developers, and managers to solve design problems. By understanding the patterns, one can make the design useful and intuitive for users too.
Here are some of the patterns that are commonly used by the best mobile app developers for the purpose of getting input or relevant actions from the user on a mobile application.
1. Action Bars
Action bars give quick access to actions, including searches, shares, and creation of new content within the app. Navigation bars have been very popular across the web and mobile applications, but the new design patterns now account for more views and prompting actions, with the help of the action bar patterns. Action bars bring the user attention to the most important and relevant actions, breaking the clutter and driving users to be conversant with the mobile UI.
2. Social Login
Social logins give users the ease of logging in. Many companies have embraced this design pattern in their mobile applications.
Signing up through a social account helps users to maintain fewer passwords for access and also not worry about password security. Users don’t have to login to a new account that might be used sparsely and might not get to use it more often, leading to a slew of forgotten passwords and accounts. By signing on a site with the help of existing Facebook, Twitter, or Google accounts can reduce the hassle to a huge degree. Users then do not have to give out their details or type it again and again on unfamiliar new sites or apps thus making the process of signing up quite easy and perfect.
App developers can basically draw basic data about users from their existing social media accounts and thus it is advisable for app designers to effectively tailor the apps to user needs.
3. Huge Buttons
The size of a single button on the UI should be huge so that it attracts attention. It is revealed that the ideal touch screen tap target size is about 72 pixels, but with a huge button pattern, users do not have to break away from the clutter and actually drawn to complete the one specific action of the button. This pattern allows all sorts of users to know exactly what to do quickly, irrespective of what else you want to do. Huge buttons are perfect for varied applications that fulfill specific purposes. For example, Shazam helps users recognize the music and media playing in the vicinity and hence they have a huge gigantic button that prompts the user to record the sounds. The app design draws the intended users directly.
People consume lots of information from varied sites including social media. But since they are busy, they are stuck to searching through their mobile phones all the time. They want to be aware of the new activity or actions that is relevant to their interests. Hence, notifications are important so that they are always in the loop. Notifications bring the latest activity to the fore by marking new content. Several apps and sites use different notification patterns to suit their needs:
- LinkedIn for example, places numbered badges with labels about the content coming in
- Twitter indicates new activity by placing a small dot on the timeline icon.
- Facebook displays notifications in the newsfeed with popup banner that includes a strong drop down of all of them.
5. Discoverable Controls
Sometimes mobile applications have different sorts of controls that are connected to one action of the app. Quick access to secondary controls is hence important, especially to do away with clutter. The discoverable controls design pattern lets users know through gestures like swipes and taps.
For example, in photo editing apps, users can roll their fingers across the screen horizontally to change the color or swipe vertically to reduce/ increase brightness. Long-pressing on Pinterest images reveals actions that users can use like pinning the image, share it, or comment on it. Uber has slider button to book a sedan or an hatchback, and changes fare estimations based on choice. Facebook Messenger also reveals the secret additional features when users swipe left.
App developers can utilize the above mobile app UI design controls for better efficiency and user response.