Inspiration dried up on your mobile design project? 47 awesome resources are here to save you.

Even the best of designers are often in need of some mobile design inspiration when starting out a new project.

We can be super-creative and have so many ideas, but sometimes inspiration of a mobile design dries up and achieving that perfect layout that everybody will love just seems impossible.

It turns out, there's an easy way to get some fresh ideas:

You just need to get inspired by others and, in today's post, we’ve made the job easy for you.

We cut through the noise and narrowed down the list of the 46 best mobile design blogs to follow and get inspired.

But we didn't stop there...

Some of most respectable experts on mobile design in the world gave us their real, actionable strategies and examples that will help you achieve your design goals right away.

You can read their advices straight away in our new infographic about mobile design inspiration:

YML_Amazing_Mobile_Design-infographic

Love this infographic? Share it on your favorite social network clicking on the icons on the side or embed it in your website:

[su_spoiler title="Click to get the code to embed this infographic"]<b>Click Image to Enlarge</b><br /><a href=”https://ymedialabs.com/mobile-design-inspiration/″><img src=”https://ymedialabs.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/mobile-design-inspiration-YML-infographic.jpg” alt=”Mobile Design Inspiration – How to create an amazing mobile design”></a><br />Source: <a href=”https://ymedialabs.com/mobile-design-inspiration/”>Mobile Design Inspiration – How to create an amazing mobile design</a>[/su_spoiler]

 

Get more mobile design inspiration

We hope that our list of great tips will help you get some inspiration for your mobile app or website.

If you need more inspiration, we have the solution right here!

We are listing below (in no particular order) 46 of the best mobile design blogs out there, as well as our favorite articles and tips from them.

99designs

Find and work with talented freelance designers online.

99designs posts on creative inspiration

32

 

We love 99designs because...

Apart from being a great place to hire creative freelancers, they’ve got a super blog where they share design tips and in-depth tutorials, as well as talking about business and, of course, creative inspiration.

Favorite article: The sky’s the limit: How strategic networking helped this entrepreneur take his skyline t-shirt company to new heights.

 

Invisionapp

The world's leading prototyping, collaboration & workflow platform.

Invision Blog

28

 

We love Invision because...

You get a high-fidelity prototype of your project in under 5 minutes. Use the app to upload your design files and add animations, gestures, and transitions to transform your static screens into clickable, interactive prototypes.
In their amazing blog, they give great insights mostly on UX design and principles you can apply to your product.

Favorite article:  13 impressive statistics on user experience

 

Creative Bloq 

Your daily dose of design tips and inspiration

Creative bloq

24

 

We love Creative Bloq because...

Creative Bloq delivers a daily dose of creative tips and inspiration across web design, graphic design, 3D and more. They showcase some great design work and offer in-depth insight that allows the reader to keep up to date with trends and developments in design.

Favorite Article: How to really annoy a graphic designer

HackDesign

An easy to follow design course for people who do amazing things.

Hack Design

25

 

We love HackDesign because...

Hack Design, together with some of the world's best designers, curated the best and most useful blogs, books, games, videos, and tutorials to help you learn critical elements of design. They organized it all into a digestible and iterative lesson plan.

And the best bit? It’s completely free.

 

Engage Interactive

A great digital agency and web specialists in Leeds

Engage Interactive Blog

Engage Interactive

 

We love Engage Interactive because...

They are experts in delivering innovative digital solutions to forward-thinking organizations. They achieved results for some of the UK’s most successful brands and of course they practice what they preach both in their blog and in their case study pages.

Favorite Article: Back to the Future of Web Design

 

AWWWARDS

The awards that recognize the talent and effort of the best web designers, developers and agencies in the world.

Awwwards blog

22

We love AWWWARDS because...

At AWWWARDS, they aim to create a meeting point where web professionals from across the world can go to find inspiration. See it as a space for debate, a place to share knowledge and experience, and to give and receive constructive critiques.

Favorite Article: 100 Greatest Free Fonts Collection for 2015

Another great page to check: Mobile Website Design

 

Boxes And Arrows

A Peer-Written Journal Featuring the Industry’s Best

Boxes And Arrows

1

 

We love Boxes and Arrows because...

Since 2001, this community of contributors has consistently educated and pushed limits on design and all things related.
Boxes and Arrows is perfect; whether you’re the grizzled vet or a complete new guy on the scene, they have something for you.

Favorite Article: Five Things They Didn’t Teach Me in School About Being a User Researcher

 

Nielsen Norman Group

Compelling Articles Using Evidence-Based User Experience Research

Nielsen Norman Group

2

 

We love Nielsen Norman Group because...

World-renowned experts in User Experience since 1998, most everyone knows Nielsen Norman Group. But, did you know they offer killer articles on their website?

Perfect for reading on your lunch break, the train home from work, or just about any other time. These articles are thorough, detailed and packed with insights that are easy to digest and simple to execute.

Favorite Article: Mobile: Native Apps, Web Apps, and Hybrid Apps

 

A List Apart

An Exploration of Design & Development

A List Apart

3

 

We love A List Apart because...

Aptly titled, “Quick updates and practical approaches,” A List Apart offers a blog that delivers just that and then some. Delving into issues such as working for free within the industry, career consultations, and using roleplay in preparing design managers, this blog offers a unique perspective that is truly unmatched.

Favorite Article: How We Hold Our Gadgets

 

Web Design Tutorials at Envato Tuts+ 

Learn how to design for the web with thousands of free web design and development tutorials from expert instructors.

Web Design resources at Tuts+

37

 

We love tutplus because...

Created by the guys at Envato (a marketplace for themes, plugins, and much more), Tuts+ have hundreds of in-depth tutorials, available in several languages. For example, if you are new to web design you can find free, complete courses to create websites or to master the fundamentals of typography.

Favorite Article: 15 Inspiring Examples of CSS Animation on CodePen

 

Usability Geek

Many Articles Focused on Topics to Help You Grow as a Designer Today

Usability Geek

4

 

We love Usability Geek because...

Starting back in 2011 as a personal hobby, “to evangelize about the importance of usability,” Usability Geek has since evolved to cover many topics useful to get some inspiration on mobile design.

This blog is chock full of articles that offer actionable insights to help you in your development as a designer and is certainly one of the more robust sites providing a authentic “experience” for all those who visit.

Favorite Article: How To Tell If Your Business Really Needs A Mobile App

 

UX Pin

Sensible Advice from Wireframing & UX Design Gurus

UX Pin Studio

5

We love UXPin because...

You know what no one likes? Articles that ramble on and on, claiming to offer some sort of actionable advice and yet never delivering it.

UXPin couldn’t be further from that. Just as the headline states, they offer sensible and practical advice from the perspective of Wireframing experts.

You know what people do like? Simple, actionable advice that is going to make their lives better right away – and that is why UXPin is on this list.

Favorite Article: Lean UX vs. Agile UX

 

Smashing Magazine

Popular, Do-It-All Site Offers Amazing Amount of Resources & Tools

Smashing Magazine - UX Design ArticleS

6

 

We love Smashing Magazine because...

We’re guessing you likely already know of Smashing Magazine, but it would be a complete disservice if we left them off.

This popular site has an insane amount of resources for so many different topics but don’t let this fool you; their “Mobile” category is quite impressive.

Answering and addressing some difficult topics with relative ease, Smashing Magazine is one of the industry favorites for good reason.

Favorite Article: A Guide To Simple And Painless Mobile User Testing

 

Usability Post

Simple, No-Frills Approach to Design

Usability Post

7

We love Usability Post because...

What can we say? While it may be lacking some of the bells and whistles that others like Smashing Magazine have, Usability Post packs a mean punch with its content.

Dmitry Fadeyev has an excellent thing going and provides the insight to further your career, mature as a designer, and challenge how you think about design. Bravo, sir.

Favorite Article: Hybrid Mobile Development

 

UX Magazine

A Community Resource Covering All Facets of Experience Design

UX Magazine

8

 

We love UX Magazine because...

One of the HUGE benefits of frequenting sites like the ones we’ve listed is having the ability to learn from your peers. Not only from their successes, but also from the inherent failures that come along the way.

4 Techniques of Successful UX Executives, for example, will help you on your journey as a designer and, hopefully, save you time and pain.

And this is just one of the many fantastic articles this community resource has to offer. It’s so massive that it almost doesn’t make sense that UX Magazine doesn’t charge. Be sure to check them out.

Favorite Article: The Experience Makes the Product, Not the Features

 

52 Weeks of UX

“A Discourse on the Process of Designing for Real People”

52 weeks of UX

9

 

We love 52 Weeks of UX because...

Authors Joshua Porter and Joshua Brewer have compiled an impressive collection of blog posts that span the year, dubbed “52 Weeks of UX”. While the posts are from 2011, a lot of what is said is still relevant today. Moreover, the content builds week on week and ties together nicely, and the depth and imagery of the writing is unique.

Favorite Article: Solve Existing Problems

 

Foolproof

Tips and Tricks for “Making Better Business and Design Decisions”

Foolproof Thinking

10

 

We love Foolproof because...

Do you want to improve your business in 2016? Uh, yes, please.

Would it make your life easier if you made better design decisions? Duh.

If you answered yes to any of the above, and you should have, you have to check out the UK-based blog by Foolproof.

Among the many services they provide (they’re a full design firm) they have a fantastic blog titled “Thinking” that gives you the tools to “think” as a designer.

Favorite Article: Experience design: a definition

 

Inspired UI

Mobile App Design Patterns for Inspiration

Inspired UI

11

 

We love Inspired UI because...

Not so much a blog or collection of articles, Inspired UI provides hundreds of different examples for you to draw inspiration from. Let’s face it, we all have our own way of finding inspiration and sometimes seeing examples of others’ work can help.

If you find yourself in need of inspiration, look no further.

 

Beautiful Pixels

Collection of Great User Interface Designs

Beautiful Pixels

12

 

We love Beautiful Pixels because...

Much like Inspired UI above, Beautiful Pixels isn’t so much a collection like the other blogs on this list, but rather Beautiful Pixels aims to bring you a collection of their favorite apps; from iPhone to iPad to Android, these guys do a fantastic job of breaking down every relevant app out there.

Whether you come either to find what you’re missing out on or to draw inspiration from, we’re convinced you’ll find something that will make your life easier today.

Favorite Article: The Highlight 2015

 

Inspire UX

The Impact of User Experience on People, Business, and the World

Inspire UX

13

 

We love Inspire UX because...

Inspire UX is a San Francisco-based blog, produced by UX designer Catriona Cornett.

As she eloquently states, “This blog aims to inspire User Experience practitioners to embrace our ability to impact the world around us and to become better at what we do every day.”

After reading that and seeing her posts, it’s clear this blog belongs on the list and is one you should be following.

 

UX Booth

Best Practices For Beginning-to-Intermediate Designers

UX Booth

14

 

We love UX Booth because...

With an extensive community of authors, UX Booth offers “a publication by and for the user experience community” that is wildly popular.

Knowing that the many articles you are reading come from accomplished experts in the field, UX Booth provides a great starting point for beginning to intermediate designers.

So, whether you’re just starting out or looking to continue your education (aren’t we all?) head on down to UX Booth. You won’t be disappointed.

Favorite Article: 2016 Recommended Books for your User Experience Library

 

Proto.io

Mobile Design Blog With a Focus on Prototyping

Blog Proto.io

15

 

We love Proto.io because...

Proto.io is unique; they’re a prototyping platform first and foremost. However, their blog is equally as impressive and provides a ton of content that is fresh and relevant.

For example, this article, “3 Clever and Creative Ways To Use Mobile App Mockups to Drive Business”, gives you three creative (EASY) ways to use mockups to grow your business.

Not only is this relevant, but it’s also super helpful and to the point. We like it.

Favorite Article: Top 10 Mobile App UI of January 2016

 

UX Movement

How Good and Bad Interface Design Practices Affect User Behavior

UX Movement

16

 

We love UX Movement because...

If you look at the “About” page on UX Movement they state, “We believe that a clear, fast, and easy-to-use interface is the greatest user experience.”

This mindset carries over to their blog which provides numerous articles that deliver valuable content to help you as a designer. Articles are backed by research, experience or rationale and it shows. These folks are clearly experts.

 

Abduzeedo

Popular Design Blog with Tons of Articles for Those Seeking Inspiration

Abduzeedo

17

 

We love Abduzeedo because...

Combining a slick website with the incredible content of articles, interviews, and tutorials, Abduzeedo is a favorite of ours for good reason.

To top it off, this site has been around since 2006, and has since accumulated an ENORMOUS visual library and offers a focus on Mobile App Design. Sweet!

Favorite Article: What UI really is (and how UX confuses matters)

 

Little Big Details

“Your Daily Dose of Design Inspiration”

Little Big Details

18

 

We love Little Big Details because...

Much like Inspired UI above, Little Big Details is a curated collection of design inspiration. A tremendous resource that provides ample content to keep you busy for hours.

Little Big Details receives hundreds of submissions daily and is a popular site for designers that will help you with your mobile UI creations.

 

Designmodo

Crazy Helpful Resource of Material for Designers

Designmodo app design

19

 

We love Designmodo because...

Designmodo is an active blog that consistently puts out relevant and useful articles for mobile design.
As mentioned above, there is a good chance you already follow Designmodo, but it would be a colossal mistake to leave them off. This has everything you need, no matter where you are in your career.

Favorite Article: Android Out of Memory Error: Causes, Solution and Best practices

 

Pttrns

Finest collection of design patterns, resources and mobile design inspiration.

Pttrns

20

 

We love Pttrns because...

Not only will Pttrns provide you with a great collection of examples and ideas, it also will deliver to your inbox a handpicked selection of design resources every week. Great if you are starved of inspiration.

Latest article: Great Books for Designers to Read in 2016

 

Mobile1st Blog

News about the mobile industry & m-commerce.

Mobile1st blog

21

 

We love Mobile1st because...

There’s a great tool you will find on the homepage of Mobile1st, that will check if your website is mobile ready: you will see exactly what your users see when they visit your website on more than 15 actual mobile devices. On top of that, the blog offers great advice on mobile strategies and, more generally speaking, how to adopt a "mobile first" mindset.

Favorite article: Mobile CRO: The Top 15 Mobile Optimization Tools

Mobify

Better mobile shopping.

Mobify Blog

23

 

We love Mobify because...

Mobify delivers a mobile customer engagement platform to manage content and applications for all your mobile customers. Their blog is packed full of great mobile design and development tips.

Favorite Article: Top Retailers Weigh In on Mobile Use In-Store

User Testing

They help companies eliminate bad user experiences.

User Testing

26

 

We love User Testing because...

By getting videos of real people speaking their thoughts as they use your website, mobile app or prototype, User Testing help you create a great experience for your users. On their blog, they give great UX advice and analyze web design trends with a focus on conversions and psychological triggers.

Favorite Article: 9 Pieces of UX Advice I Stole From People Smarter Than Me

 

Webdesigner Depot

One of the most popular blogs about web design trends, tutorials and much more. Run by Walter Apai, web designer from Vancouver.

Webdesignerdepot

27

 

We love Webdesigner Depot because...

They write about the very best in web design news, views, techniques, and resources. You can find inspiration from both well-known, and up-and-coming designers, grab some free stock, discover new techniques and even transform the way you think of the web.

Favorite article:  7 secrets for enhancing UX with micro-interactions

 

LUKEW INNOVATION + DESIGN

Humanizing technology.

Luke Writings

29

 

We love Luke because…

LukeW is an internationally recognized digital product leader who has designed and built software used by more than one billion people worldwide. He founded Polar (Google acquired) and Bagcheck (Twitter acquired).
His blog focuses on mobile strategies and provides key insights from experts regarding the mobile experience, like this post about above the fold and scrolling.

Favorite article:  As Mobile Screen Size Increases... So Does Activity

 

Web Design Ledger

The Web Design Ledger is a publication written by web designers for web designers.

Web Design Ledger

30

 

We love Web Design Ledger because...

The primary purpose of this site is to act as a platform for sharing web design related knowledge and resources. Their mind-blowing articles cover a variety of subjects from great examples of winter photography to how to apply minimalism in Logo design.

Favorite Article: 32 Examples of Clean Flat Web Design Mockups

 

Felt Presence

User interface design and product management articles by Ryan Singer of Basecamp.

Felt Presence

31

 

We love Ryan because...

He believes that "Interface design should drive product development because it's what people actually use.” His blog helps you toward an in-depth understanding of UI, UX and Product Design.

Favorite Article: Want to understand Design Forces?

 

Designers and geeks

Life at the intersection of art & technology.

Designers & Geeks

33

 

We love Designers and geeks because...

Designers + Geeks is a community of people interested in design, art, and technology. They host monthly events that boast great speakers and interesting topics. Their events currently take place in San Francisco, New York, Boston, and Los Angeles. The website features several talks recorded from the live events.

Favorite talk: Popular Versus Brilliant

 

Designer Fund

Help designers create businesses with meaningful impact.

Designer Fund Blog

34

 

We love Designer Fund because...

They invest in startups co-founded by designers, build and educate design teams through Bridge (a professional development program that connects experienced designers with top startups) and share their best practices.

Favorite article: How to Use Photography in Branding

 

DesignTAXI

Ideas - sometimes disturbing, mostly interesting, always creative.

Design TAXI

35

 

We Love DesignTAXI because…

DesignTAXI is a highly influential daily news source with content that is shared by leading media (The New York Times and CNN). They talk about design, art, photography, advertising, architecture, style, culture, technology, and social media - basically anything creative or innovative.

Favorite Article: Infographic: 72 Ways To Think & Present Your Ideas

 

DesArt Lab

Desire to Innovate Art

DesArt Lab Blog

35

 

We Love DesArt Lab because…

DesArt Lab makes web design comprehensible to people that are not in the industry. They not only “draw design” but rather are an integral part of every project’s creation process. In their blog, DesArt Lab covers many topics that aim at educating business owners about the need and use of web design for their success.

Favorite Article: How to Design Mobile Apps that are Engaging and Appealing

 

Radesign

The website of Rakesh, a sensible mobile and web designer.

Radesign blog

36

 

We love Radesign because...

Rakesh made his hobby of User Experience Design his job, and decided to share his thoughts and insights on mobile and apps on his blog. You’ll find some great tips to improve your design workflow and find inspiration in the other apps he analyzes in his posts.

 

Webcredible

A London-based UX agency with a global reach

Webcredible blog

38

 

We love webcredible because...

They are great at UX, but not only that; they are great teachers too! Their courses on designing for digital will teach you everything you need to know: from the fundamentals of UX to selling your product. They analyze some of these concepts in detail in their great blog.

Favorite articleVisual design and colour accessibility

 

UX Myths

Build your website based on evidence, not false beliefs.

UX myths

39

 

We love UxMyths because...

UX Myths collects the most frequent user experience misconceptions and explains why they don't hold true. And you don't have to take their word for it, because they back it up with research and articles by design and usability gurus.

Our favorite Myth is Myth #29: People are rational.

 

UXmatters

Insights and inspiration for the user experience community.

UXmatters.com

40

 

We love UXmatters because...

Founded by Pabini Gabriel-Petit, UXmatters provides insights and inspiration to both professionals working in all aspects of user experience and students who are just beginning their journey in user experience. UXmatters offers a platform where the authors (who include many of the leading experts in user experience) can teach UX best practices and influence the future direction of the UX community.

Favorite Article: Who Needs UX Strategy?

 

Akendi

User experience designers and user researchers.

Akendi Blog

41

 

We love Akendi because...

Akendi focuses on experience thinking. They answer the most critical questions about the experience: Is it usable? Is it useful? Is it engaging? They explore these concepts on their blog.

Favorite Article: Why Your Designer Should Be Your Best Friend

 

Konigi

Michael Angel’s design blog.

Konigi

42

 

We love Konigi because...

He post resources and review tools and writes blog posts on UX Design. His website features a tools section and a wiki, and you’ll find lots of inspiration from the sketches on his blog.

Favorite Tool: Graph Paper

 

Joshua Garity

Trusted Digital Marketing Consultant to Small Businesses and Fortune 500s.

Joshua Garity's Website

43

We love Joshua because…

Joshua is a great design psychologist and brand strategist, working with both Fortune 500s and startups. In his blog and newsletter, he focuses on providing valuable insights into using brand psychology to boost the success of your business.

Favorite Article: Great Website Design: The Golden Ratio

 

Digital Telepathy

Customer Experience & UX Design Agency.

Digital Telepathy blog

44

 

We love Digital Telepathy because…

Digital Telepathy is a UX and product design company passionate about elevating life’s experiences. In 2009, they started their blog as a way to share their learnings with the world and to advocate the value of design. Their goal is simple: educate and inspire others to positively impact the world with design.

Favorite article: Boost Your UX Design with Neuromarketing Research

 

Usabilla

Your users have the answers, start listening.

Usabilla Blog

45

 

We love Usabilia because…

Usabilla helps brands to improve the performance of their websites, apps and emails with live user feedback. Their software means you can stop guessing what users want, and start listening to what they need. Their blog focuses completely on User Experience and how to use it to boost conversions on your website.

Favorite Article: 6 TED Talks Every UX Professional Should Watch

 

Measuringu

Usability, Customer Experience & Statistics.

MeasuringU

46

 

We love Measuringu because…

Jeff Sauro is the founding principal of MeasuringU, a company providing statistics and usability consulting to Fortune 1000 companies. In his blog you can find several insights on UX, mobile UX facts and ideas for tracking the ROI of UX.

Favorite Article: The Importance Of Evaluating UX


Even more resources

There are lots of websites that don't cover mobile design inspiration on a regular basis, but they have great resources that we need to include here.

 

Now it’s your turn...

Phew, that was a long ride!
We hope you enjoyed our selection of 46 mobile design blogs, our favorite articles and, of course, the advice from the experts in our infographic.

Now it’s time to put these tips into practice.

The first step?

Apply at least one of the tips you learned today in your next design!

And if you liked this article, we would love you to share it on your favorite social media channel.

Should You Develop Your Mobile App for iOS or Android? This is How to Make the Decision.

If you're thinking about building a mobile app and having a tough time deciding whether to build it for the iOS or Android platform, you've come to the right place.

In a previous article, we covered whether you should build a hybrid or native app. What we’re going to focus on today is answering a related question that is equally contentious: what platform should you build your app on first – Android or iOS? Contrary to the popular belief that there is one clear winner, iOS, the answer is dependent on your company’s needs, reach (niche app, local focused, national or international scope), time to market, customer base and long-term mobile strategy. While most evidence points to iOS being the platform of choice, the objective of this article is to clearly lay out the major considerations when building a mobile app on a specific platform. Once you’ve read this article, you can compare your company’s needs with the information presented below and then easily decide and justify to your executives why you've chosen one platform over the other.

If you're considering building a mobile application on iOS or Android there are ten factors you need to think about:

  1. What country/region are your visitors from?
  2. What are the demographics of your target population?
  3. Are you interested in reaching out to the mobile user base most likely to spend money on an app or rather the largest population of mobile users?
  4. Will your app be a paid app or do you plan to monetize it later on down the road?
  5. How quickly do you want to build an app? What is your expected time to market? Key differences regarding the integrated development environments for the two platforms impact your timeline!
  6. What are the main differences between developing for Android and iOS?
  7. Android’s operating system has more than 7 versions; iOS only 3. What’s the impact on your business as a result of this discrepancy?
  8. How important are the publishing policies between the two platforms to your business - do you anticipate regular updates or not?
  9. Does your business model require staggered releases across devices?
  10. Do you have to build your app on both iOS and Android at the same time?

This is a list of prioritized questions you must go through before choosing your preferred platform. The rest of the article will explore each of them in detail so you can make an informed decision on what works best for your company.

1. What country/region are your visitors from?

Your in-house analytics tools can provide you with historical data on what devices  your visitors and paid customers are coming from.

There is no better indicator of the platform you should build on than the current visitors to your site. Unless you literally launched your company’s website last night, you should be able to use your web analytics tools to see a breakdown of your website traffic and to determine from which platforms users are accessing your website. Ultimately you’re trying to reach the highest segment of your current or potential customers through the implementation of your app.

Apple, iOS, Android in Google Analytics

A different and simpler way to think about it is this: by multiply the number of iOS/Android users with their spending on your app, you estimate the potential revenue from these two specific user bases. That will give you the best indication on what platform to choose.

2. What are the demographics of your target population?

iOS users spend and make more money than Android users.

There is hardly any debate anymore over who makes more money and spends more money on apps and in-app purchases. From the get-go, Apple won the war on this one. Average iOS users make $85,000 per year in the US while the average Android user makes 40% less or $61,000 per year. A different view shows that 41% of iOS users make more than $100,000 dollars in the US versus 24% of Android users falling into this bracket. And if we go higher up on the income scale, 60% of users making $150,000+ own iPhones rather than Android devices. This is the breakdown by income according to Verto Analytics.

App Annie, a business intelligence company and analyst firm headquartered in San Francisco, California, publishes a quarterly report showing the main financial differences between Android and iOS applications. According to the 2015 3rd quarter report, iOS users spend 80% more on in-app purchases than Android users despite having a much smaller piece of the pie at the global level.

iOS vs Android Downloads

3. Are you interested in reaching out to the mobile user base most likely to spend money on an app or rather the largest population of mobile users?

iOS users spend more on in-app purchases but the majority of American smartphone users are on Android.

The graph above doesn’t only show that iOS users spend a lot more money on in-app purchases. Though more money is spent on in-app purchases on iOS, Google Play continues to widen the gap when it comes to monthly downloads of apps. Of course, this is to be expected considering Android owns a sweeping 80% of the global Smartphone market.

In the US, Apple smartphones still account for 42% of the smartphone market share (Android has had the majority of the US share for 3 years now). At a global level the distinction is even starker with Android controlling upwards of 80 to 99% of foreign markets. That’s attributed, in part, to the emergence of $100 smartphones operating on Android in contrast to the $600+ price tag of an iPhone.

In brief, if you’re interested in pursuing the high earners in the US market as well as those customers who are likely to spend big money on in-app purchases, iOS is the platform for you.

4. Will your app be a paid app or do you plan to monetize it later on down the road?

iOS upfront monetization model may bring more upfront revenue to a business but Android’s in-app monetization can provide the same outcome over time. Most of the popular apps in the world are free with revenue being generated through in-app advertisements.

iOS revenue numbers are impressive on their own when examining revenue generated in-app and from purchasing apps in the App Store. However, there are two more caveats to the purchase data shown above: freemium models (which are big on the Android platform) and non in-app revenue generating models which are not factored into the data shown above. Let’s look at each.

There are clear reasons why Android became the biggest platform in the world and Google Play the platform with the highest app downloads. There are reasons on both the customer’s end of the spectrum and from a developer’s point of view (which we will discuss later as well). The customer gets a cheaper Smartphone but also low cost to no cost apps in the Play Store. Which is win-win for the customer thus driving demand on both platforms. Simply put, developers can reach a wider market on Google Play by listing their app for free but then get revenue through the freemium model.

Apple’s default business model from the get go was very simple: the customer finds an app and purchases it for a small fee. Apple gets 30% of the money spent by the user with the rest going to the developer. The great thing about this model is that the revenue per download is higher. The problem with this is multi-fold. First, even if an app has stellar reviews, most customers would be unlikely to pay for the app unless a) someone strongly recommends it (word of mouth) or b) they can get a demo or test it themselves.

This is where the Android model kicks in and changes the laws of nature. Users can download the app for free and interact with it as much as they want. However, either various functionalities of that app need a paid upgrade or your app has ads – either videos, or modals that need to be dismissed – which help you get revenue per view/click. If the user wants to avoid the nuisance of ads or they’re really interested in the functionalities which are not available, they can upgraded to the paid version of the app. This model has become incredibly popular, especially in the gaming mobile world.

And the theory behind it is simple: the iOS model is predicated on upfront profits – users download the app and pay for it; in the Android world – the users get the app for free and you get your profits back over time as users either end up purchasing the app or are exposed to enough ads to allow you to recover your ROI over time. Of course, even paid apps in iOS or Android can have in-app purchases but overall Android-focused apps have a different business strategy than iPhone apps.

In short, if you really want to get in front of the largest possible number of users in America and the entire world, you have a better chance of doing that on the Android platform because Android controls 85% of the world smartphone market and 52% of the US smartphone market. And if you’re worried that your app won’t make money, freemium and ads-driven app monetization strategies have proven incredibly effective modes of generating revenue which are not always tracked in the overall financial assessment of the iOS vs Android financial reports.

5. How quickly do you want to build an app? What is your expected time to market? 

iOS apps are faster to build and release than Android apps

Some writers believe that building an Android app takes 2-3 times longer than building an iOS app.  One engineer kept track of all the code written when building the same app on both platforms and showed that he had to write approximately 40% more code for Android than for iOS.

6. What are the main differences between developing for Android and iOS?

Android’s technology stack provides developers with (almost) infinite flexibility. Apple’s development environment is more restrictive but easier to adopt/work on.

If you’re an iOS developer you will use XCode as the IDE platform and Swift as the coding language to develop your application. As an Android developer you will use Android Studio. Though Android touts its system as being open source, adaptable, and giving developers a significant amount of flexibility (all points are true by the way!) this doesn’t necessarily prove advantageous. One software engineer writing for TechCruch insists that Apple's IDE (XCode) is better.

He describes it as “by and large, a joy to work with. It’s slick, fast, powerful, helpful without being intrusive." In contrast, he sees the Android counterpart as being "embarrassingly bad. Slow, clunky, counterintuitive when not outright baffling, poorly laid out, needlessly complex, it’s just a mess." [source]

Most iOS developers consider XCode as fairly easy to use with a great (developer) user interface and quick and intuitive shortcuts for building templates and applying in-app controls. In contrast, as some developers commented on Quora, understanding Android Studio is next to impossible and Google continues to make changes to the environment which makes it even more difficult for developers to navigate.

From a business perspective, until Android Studio reaches the same level of maturity as XCode, it may be more advantageous to go with iOS, thus avoiding the pitfalls of developing to the moving target that Android Studio continues to be.

7. Have you considered the OS version discrepancies between iOS and Android and its impact on the time to market for your app?

iOS has fewer OS versions which reduces your operational cost of maintaining and updating your app over time by not having to test a wide variety of devices and operating systems.

For iOS, most users are on up-to-date versions of the OS (a staggering 98% of all users are currently on the iOS7 and 8 with an impressive 89% of users being on the latest version). From a business perspective, the decision becomes rather easy to make. You either develop your app on the newest version, or you build it and test it for the top two versions and reach most of your users. In general, as a company, you should develop, test and maintain either a website or a mobile app that will work flawlessly for 80% of all your potential users. As such, iOS meets and very much exceeds the business expectations.

Looking at Android, you see a very different picture. Unfortunately, even today, most users are not on the latest OS. As of January 2016, a meager 0.9% of Android users are on the latest operating system Android Marshmallow. These abysmal stats are driven primarily by the very fragmented nature of the Android market where OS updates are dependent on the manufacturers pushing these updates to the users’ phones. Additionally, historical data looks really grim when it comes to users’ adoption of the latest version of the OS. In the 10 months after releasing iOS8, 83% of Apple users updated their phones to this operating system. Launched about one month later, Android’s Lollipop had an adoption rate of 12% over the following 8 months and a whopping 72% of all Android users are still on a version that is 2 years old.

To put this in perspective, 40% of all Apple users updated their OS during the first month after it was launched. Android did not achieve anywhere near the same performance before launching their new version.

See the embarrassing discrepancy below:

ios+android_adoption_rate

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/iOS-vs-android-adoption-rate-2015-6

What this means for any company considering launching an app on Android is that controlling various versions will be a hassle, increased in-app testing will be needed, and version specific bug fixes will have to be implemented. Never mind the fact that an Android app takes 40% longer to write. The uncontested winner here is iOS, and that’s by a long a shot.

8. How important are the publishing policies between the two platforms to your business (do you anticipate regular updates or not)?

Android allows frequent app updates; Apple’s iOS has strict policies which will limit your release flexibility and updates.

On the Android platform, publishing an app is an effortless act. You simply deploy your app to your Google Play store and it becomes available for downloads, usually within hours of your deployment. Secondly, Google Play allows you to update your app multiple times a day should there be critical issues you need to fix. Finally, Google Play allows you to publish an alpha and beta version to Google Play - that way you can actually publish your app on Google Play and do live testing on it, fix issues, and then launch it to the general public.

In contrast, publishing an app on iOS can be described as a nightmare without any fear of exaggerating. It requires various levels of approval from the iOS team with bureaucratic reviews with the app deployment taking up to one week. For the “giants” in the field the process can take as little as one day but most companies should not anticipate more than 2-3 deployments per month.

9. Does your business model require staggered releases across devices?

Android’s options for staggered releases wins the battle by providing companies with the flexibility to roll out and test their apps and new features to a subset of users before rolling out the release to all customers.

Google Play has the ability to allow for a staggered release, an option loved by everyone from business stakeholders to analytics experts to product managers. A staggered release allows you to deploy the app gradually to various percentages of users, observe their interactions, and then increase the percentage of users who can access it over time. So, for example, a new version of the app is released to only 5% of the users, then gradually increased to 25%, 50%, 75%, and finally100% of the users.

This option is specifically used by businesses with high amounts of traffic on a daily basis where the impact of a bug on the app could have a disastrous impact on their app revenue. Take for example a game like Candy Crush. If they wanted to add five more episodes to their game, they would choose a staggered approach and ensure everything is working as expected. Large retail companies are another example where the risk of having any bugs after a major release is mitigated by the fact that they employ staggered releases for their applications. Once they release a new version of their app to 1-5% of their user base they either progress with the release to all users should everything be verified to be working as expected, or, if issues are found, roll back their code. This ensures any problems only impact a small amount of users instead of all the users of their app. Google Play offers the option for staggered releases; iOS does not - at least for the time being.

10. Do you have to build your app on both iOS and Android at the same time?

Choose a platform, build your app, and test it heavily. Strategically building your app on both platforms at the same time is not wise.

Most companies understand the need to build a mobile application as soon as possible to be relevant in today’s digital marketplace. And we recognize that. But the last thing you want to be doing is building your app on both iOS and Android at the same time. While it's true that developing your app on both platforms would help you reach a staggering 96% of the Smartphone global market, the philosophy of failing fast (build your app fast then fix things later) simply doesn’t apply well in the case of mobile app development because the cost of building the app on both platforms at the same time would impact your ROI significantly.

Mature software development goes through a predictable process: identify business needs, create wireframes, design high fidelity comps, perform user testing (not as well used as it should be!), develop the software based on final comps, perform quality analysis, release the software, and then monitor the performance of your software (analytics). If improvements are needed post release (and 90% of the time they are!) you go back to step one by writing the new business requirements based on the data you've gathered. Deviations from this plan typically result in lost productivity (time & money), user confusion, user frustration and finally lost revenue/traffic to your digital product. In the case of mobile app development, if you don’t have a mobile presence at all, building your apps in parallel is not a good idea because when you finally get to the point of gathering data and making changes you now need to fix an issue on both platforms – aka double work.

That is why the strategic call you should make, regardless of the underlying platform, is to build your app on either iOS or Android first, then gauge your audience’s reaction, make necessary changes, bring your app to a mature state where your critical flows have been thoroughly tested and user approved (transactional, profile management, post order in-app tasks, etc), and then move on to developing your app on the second platform.

android retention rate

The second reason you should develop for one platform only is that no matter how good your app is, your customer retention stats will look very dim. According to Quettra research, apps on Android lose 77% of their customer base (users who downloaded the app) in three days after an app is downloaded, and a staggering 95% of their users within 3 months. iOS apps have similar engagement patterns as well.

 

And this is your average app. Imagine if you put all the effort into building an app on two platforms simultaneously only to lose all these customers.  So, the smart thing to do is build your app on one platform, learn from your users, make improvements, and then expand to the other platform. Take Instagram for example – they launched the iOS app and waited two years before developing the same app on Android. The reason behind their choice? Making the iOS application as robust as possible before moving on to another platform.

The bottom line: iOS a better option despite all Android’s advantages

Yes, there are fewer iOS users out there (80% fewer than Android users). Yes, developing an app on iOS becomes more tedious because of Apple’s stringent UX rules for app development. Yes, the iOS SDK takes a lot of time getting used to. And certainly, Android is appealing when it comes to its overall user base across the world and its majority stake in the US. But taking all things into account – market share, iOS vs Android demographics, time to market, users’ power purchase, the relative simplicity of the iOS SDK and IDE - it makes sense to build your app on iOS first.

Sure, Google will continue bragging about Android’s low barrier of entry, code portability and flexible app publishing process. But until Google can find a way to brings its users to the latest version of Android, develop a more vigorous development framework and make their SDK more robust, the iOS takes the cake. Financially, strategically, and tactically, iOS remains the best choice for launching your first app. Sorry Google, we have faith in you, but you’re not there yet.

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