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Design vs. Functionality: What matters most for your Mobile App?

Design vs. Functionality: What matters most for your Mobile App?

Monday February 04, 2019,

6 min Read

As it comes to mobile design and design for various other devices like desktops and laptops, it doesn’t only mean producing the same product, which is just smaller. In fact, in rather means focusing on what really matters to the mobile user and then to deliver a differentiated user experience. In order to do that successfully, it is required to focus on tasks and ensure they are executed well.

Today it is no longer as option to design for mobile, as with smartphone and to a lesser extent the tablet turning out to be the choice for most people accessing Internet, designers need to cater to these users or else simply risk being locked out of market for good.

This just means that you must put mobile first in most of product development strategies and also understand that mobile is different and it is not a desktop experience. For instance, the screen real estate will be more limited on smartphones, with no guarantee on connectivity and battery life is precious, etc.

And then obviously comes the benefits of these devices, which are definitely myriad. Like, they offer a lot more personal experience, they are always on (as battery permits) and you can talk directly to users via them. Then they also offer GPS, motion sensors and a lot more.

mobile app design

So, how exactly to approach mobile app design? Here, let’s have a look:

Creating Value

Today there are abundant mobile apps are being released in every nano second. Hence, it is become all more necessary to clearly distinguish your mobile app and the features it offers from everyone else’s – otherwise your app is certain to get lost in the black hole of app stores.


The limitations that comes with screen real estate means that less is actually more. Hence, ensure that features are kept to minimum. Focus on key tasks that the user is keen on carrying out and you will need to drop stuff from other platforms in order to make mobile work.

Give a go to Graphics

So, the icon that you use for your app must be representative of the key task your users are keen to perform. Make it very obvious at a glance like what your app does and it is going to be a lot more likely to be downloaded & used.

Keep on Task

In case, a user exits the app prior to a task completion, ensure that as they open it back up – they are brought right back to same task in same place. Make it pretty easy and fast to restart a process and stay assured that it will please your users.

Keep the communication going

It is vital that you keep your users informed as they go about their tasks. Like you require to:

Have a method to deliver feedback. Starting from tactile (vibration function) to visual (think progress bars) – you must keep your users aware of whether things are going well as they carry on their tasks.

Whenever necessary, ask for confirmation. Even though modal boxes are annoying still there is an exception when it is about protecting the user. Like, whenever the user wants to delete a photo, you can ask, for instance, “Are you sure you want to delete this photo”?

Get into the Gestures

In case, you are keen on enabling gesture control (and that’s down to how your users like completing their tasks) you must consider:

  • Discover-ability: How will the users know they can use gestures to finish their tasks?
  • Two-handed gestures: Now, they can be pretty useful, however can be a hindrance as well. Like if the user is having a coffee mug in one hand, how will s/he finish their tasks with only single handed controls?

Consider Navigation

A lot depends on complexity of your task, but navigation on mobile may fall into these following categories:

  • Drill-down menus: When you require to deliver higher levels of complexity. Group content and make it easy to move through hierarchy. (Consider settings menu on the smartphone.)
  • Simple tabs: When you require breaking consistent content up into various areas. (Consider Twitter)
  • None at all: When releasing a weather app for your neighborhood – a single screen can (and should) deliver all task for the user.

Functions that Fit the Mobile Device

So, the functions you are offering must follow patterns that deliver experience on every device in a consistent manner:

  • Keep user in picture: Now, it maybe time-taking for data to process, but you must let the user know whether you have received their data and for how long they need to wait and this should be done immediately.
  • Pay attention to detail: Apps are required to deliver seamless experience so that users can execute tasks a lot more efficiently. At the same time, apps must also look & feel good to use.
  • Watch interface: Users are literally all thumbs, on smartphones. So think if your tasks can be easily completed with your user’s thumbs? In, no, then you must reconsider them.
  • Keep it intuitive: Back to thumb issue again. Like you need to keep boxes, tabs, buttons, etc. to a minimum in order to keep content easy-to-access and navigate.
  • Keep controls consistent and at the bottom: This way user can focus on content and manipulate it as they require. Task oriented design is all about delivering meant first and vegetables second.
  • Reduce user input where required: Find out whether auto-correct is helpful or a hindrance on the device for your tasks. Ensure that you are helping your users pick right keyboard to get the job done. Never forget supporting a landscape orientation – mainly when you want a lot of typing done. Consider offering an orientation lock to make things easy.

Consider Context of use

When are your users going to access your functionality? When they are busy? Whey are lost? When they are bored? Make the functionality fit the situation and you will make the app relevant to your users.

Personal Functionality

So, the mobile device are personal, hence the function they deliver must also be personal. Make them customization, make them fun, make them an important part to your user’s lives. To get tasks done should not be a chore.


Average users seek instant gratification and answers to their specific needs, however craftsmanship and visual innovation have more subtle capabilities in user retention. When you are operating on a slim budget or a time crunch, perfecting function should be your top priority. Your users must have a reason to download and a reason to come back. Ensure the same, you are bound to attain success in the arena. Contact the Mobile UI / UX Designer team today to get your app ready to make the best creative apps. You can reach them at the following email.