In another article, we discussed the importance of artwork and graphics in mobile app development. This article by Noupe.com emphasizes that the first impression users get from an app often determines its ultimate success. Today, we're gonna take the concept a step further, with tips about what to consider when creating app graphics.
First and foremost: Keep it simple! Mobile device screens are small, and some have slower processing speeds. It's easy to give into the temptation to dazzle with elaborate graphics—that isn't necessarily a bad hunch. However, keep in mind complex graphics can slow down some mobile devices, and the images that looked great when you designed them may load poorly.
Simple and bold graphics have another advantage: they catch and keep the attention of a distracted user. This article by Smashing Magazine notes that it's the nature of mobile devices to be—well, mobile. Your end user may be in a restaurant or bar, or holding a conversation with friends, while using their device. Where a desktop or laptop user is more of a “captive audience,” your mobile user often has other things going on. Standout graphics help them to navigate your app more easily.
A close relative to simplicity is intuitiveness. This concept's especially important in mobile apps. Your customer wants to feel quickly familiar with your app, so they can use it right away. By using intuitive design—simple graphics in icons and buttons, for example—you're far more likely to capture and keep loyal customers. Computer Arts adds in their design tips article:
The challenge for a designer is to introduce the visual wow factor, so that users are amazed by the app but still immediately know how to use it without the need to read any tutorials.
Arguably the most important element in your app's graphic design is its desktop icon. Once the customer's downloaded your app, that's great—but you want them to be able to find it quickly, too. Your icon button should be simple, with an image or a single letter that's consistent with your branding—and don't forget color. With the thousands of apps out there, it's a challenge to be unique. But it's frustrating to a user to have to scan through ten icons that are all the same shade of blue.
This leads us to the next topic: the psychology of color. Emotion, hunger, calmness, and excitement can all be induced by the use of color. Colour-Affects has put together this guide to consider when designing your app artwork, depending on the desired effect. More specifically from a marketing point of view, Business Insider has this helpful list of color psychology as it's used for business branding.
We'd like to leave you with one more thought: size. In this case, bigger is almost always better. Consider a desktop computer, for example. When you click to select, you use a cursor that's about three pixels wide. Now look at your index finger. It's bigger than three pixels, isn't it? When designing buttons on your app, make them larger to allow for a margin of error. Your customers will be less likely to tap the wrong button, and be sent where they don't want to go.
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