In the second post in our "Developer Insights" series, Esther Kuperman, a highly regarded UI/UX designer with a background in marketing, gives her perspective on app design.
App Design That Stands Out In A Crowded Marketplace
New apps are flooding the market every day. When your new app, the product of months of effort, on which you are pinning all of your hopes and dreams, is just one of a horde, you want to do everything you can to make that app stand out from the crowd. If you can’t make it stand out enough, it will never be noticed. And wouldn’t that be disappointing?
To design your app in such a way that it will stand out from all the other apps that are coming out every day, you need to think carefully about every detail. When I’m designing a new app, I interview customers even before I begin. I tell them the basic idea of the app I’m planning to create, and I ask what tools they’re currently using to fill the hole that I’m working on closing. I try to find out if they really notice this hole, and how open they would be to trying out a new tool to fill it. And I find out what kinds of features they would expect from a new tool. Would they absolutely need Facebook integration so they could collaborate with friends in the app? Is the ability to email photos as important as I thought? Is there another feature that I haven’t even thought of that would be the deciding factor in whether or not they’d use the app? From this whole discussion I figure out the one thing that is most important to customers, and I design the whole app around that one thing.
Once I actually start designing, I borrow a lot of techniques from agile development and lean startup methodologies. I design test layouts, and I get them in front of customers. I watch carefully how the customers interact with my designs, and I learn what works well and what needs to be adjusted.
First I put in all the functionality, and through customer testing I figure out the best way to display everything. Then I go back to that one most important thing that I figured out at the beginning of the process. What are customers hoping to get out of my app? And I take away everything that’s not necessary for that one important thing. If a design element doesn’t lead the user to a specific action, I get rid of it. The design must be as simple as possible. It must subtly guide the user through and make it clear what they are supposed to do.
The last step is adding unique design elements that will truly differentiate my app from all others.
Then there’s just the final tweaking. I need to go back over every detail and make sure everything is as sleek and clean as I can make it. I want every single part of the app to be compelling enough to draw the user in and make them want to come back for more.I put in things that as far as I know are not in any other app. Because I want my brand to remain in my customers’ minds. I consider empty space just as important as the actual design elements. Used well, empty space highlights the design elements, making them shine while also stopping them from overwhelming the user.
Ultimately, the greatest compliment a user can give me is incorporating my app into their life and using it daily.
Esther Kuperman of Marketers Anonymous is a highly regarded UI/UX designer with a background in marketing. Her focus is in creating and marketing digital apps and brands. Her latest project is the productivity app Sociidot.
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