The next big thing is the one that makes the last big thing usable.
It’s important that your website designer or app designer is both a UX and UI professional. Too often UI & UX are used synonymously, which leads to poorly designed interfaces. And it’s worse if someone only focuses on one or the other. A good user interface can’t exist without a good user experience design and vice versa.
Responsive website designs are no longer optional. Beginning in 2016, most Internet traffic now comes from mobile devices. So it’s crucial that your website has a solid design at mobile widths.
However, I fundamentally disagree with the “mobile-first” trend that has grown in popularity lately. This often creates UI-first designs with desktop-versions of sites that feel like wide mobile sites with minimal functionality. Designing only for mobile ignores half of the Internet’s traffic.
Good website design should start with a rock-solid UX. This should determine which actions users need while on their phone and which actions your users need on a desktop or tablet browser. The design should then present these elements at the appropriate widths and in device-optimized ways. Take full advantage of every inch of screen your user will see.
Lastly, there are some instances where it’s better to have a mobile-specific variant of your site instead of a fully responsive website. You can read more about this in my blog.
Like website design, good app design starts with the UX. Elements should be where users expect them and help create the actions you want. Apps that aren’t intuitive to use can create frustration and cost you users and income.
If your budget allows, this means you should oftentimes have independent designs and separate code bases for Android and iOS. If you’re on a tight budget, you can get by with using one design across both platforms. But this comes at the cost of usability. The native gestures and design patterns are different for each platform. So using a single design doesn’t take full advantage of what your app can do. iOS and Android also treat some actions completely different, which can create unintended experiences if you don’t design with those in mind.
Device screen sizes have also completely changed app design. In 2008 when the App Store was launched, we designed for only one screen size on iOS – 3.5” – and one operating system – iOS3. Now we have 7+ screen sizes that operate in landscape and portrait orientations as well as MacOS, TVOS and WatchOS variants. And this is just referencing iOS. Designing for Android presents a different challenge entirely as the hardware isn’t standardized. Device-specific app designs used to be possible. But now apps have to be responsive just like the web.
With all of this considered, careful attention has to be paid to every single way an app can be used including device size, OS version, system settings, and hardware capabilities.
MY UI DESIGN STYLE
My design style naturally changes to fit each client. However, when given a blank slate, I typically opt for a hybrid between flat and material design. Material design patterns present a visually impressive set of elements with various drop shadows and depth cues showing how elements relate to one another. My only critique of material design is that – when used across an entire platform – it can create fewer visual cues to the user due to clutter. A good design should focus on how it makes the user feel and act rather than simply how it looks. I like to use material design to direct the eye to important elements and use it alongside flat design for less important items. With this combination, it takes the visually impressive elements of both flat and material designs while focusing more centrally on the UX.
CHARLOTTE UI DESIGNER
I currently work as a freelance UI designer and am always open to new clients and projects. If you’re looking for a Charlotte, NC app designer or website designer, I’d be glad to work at your location for a project. Otherwise, I can take on clients for remote work from anywhere in the world. No UX design project is too big or too small. If you feel I would be a good fit for your upcoming work, I’d be glad to schedule a meeting at your convenience.
People ignore design that ignores people.