Time spent on mobile apps is now higher than any other digital medium, coming in at 51 percent. This noteworthy trend positions mobile as the new business storefront and situates the smartphone screen as some of the most valuable real estate available. Players across a spectrum of industries have taken notice and have become increasingly focused on the design of their mobile apps.
As mobile market dominance continues to grow, User Interface/ User Experience (UI/UX) mobile designers are becoming influential players in the tech industry. They’re being asked to interact more frequently with clients, thus resulting in a wide variety of client-designer relationships. With the goal of increasing transparency within these professional relationships, here are three honest truths mobile designers would love to share with their clients.
You hired us, so trust us. Whether you’re a makeup artist or an interior designer, collaboration between an artist and a client can be an iterative, tension filled, and fragile process. It’s important to convey ideas, expectations, and goals throughout the project, and equally important to trust the designer’s judgment and abilities. Mobile designers do more than arrange pixels. They use their experience, skill and market knowledge to build apps that offer an immersive and intuitive experience that properly reflects the client’s brand. Clients that are confident in the designer’s ability will be surprised with what they accomplish, and would see time and money savings due to fewer app iterations.
Let’s keep it simple. Apps with more bells and whistles do not attract more users. The average attention span is about 8 seconds, so apps need to offer an immediate and apparent value. Savvy designers will always remember that mobile users are “mobile” and expect minimalist design and a quick understanding of the app. If the first iteration of an app needs a tutorial, that’s a sign you should allow the designers to streamline the feature set. In a podcast entitled “99% Invisible” talks about how the best design is incredibly invisible and intuitive. Mobile designers confirm such theories and are constantly trying to make products more simple and intuitive. They understand that if a mobile app is the slightest bit cumbersome, complicated or inefficient, it will be dismissed and replaced with a more effective product. When in doubt, work with the mobile designer to remove features and calls to actions, so users can quickly get from the home screen to the intended end result.
Respect the process and appreciate the hidden complexity. Designers are juggling a variety of factors: they are constantly revisiting how to make a product more intuitive, strategically positioning a company’s brand, and providing a visceral connection between the app and the end-user. It can take hours of trial and error to effectively produce a simple app that conquers complex problems. In the words of Apple’s lead designer Jon Ives, “Making a solution so completely inevitable and obvious, so contrived and natural—it’s so hard!”. Consider Uber, an app that locates the end-user, conducts a transaction, and offers tracking info for Uber cars, all because the user tapped a simple call-to-action button. The user experience is so intuitive that it doesn’t seem to be “designed” at all. Box CEO Aaron Lurie comments on this paradox, “Some of the simplest solutions on the market are equally the most advanced,” indicating that most seamless and intuitive products are likely the result of challenging, complex, and thoughtful design processes.