11 tips for developing great mobile apps

When mobile apps were first introduced to users, there was a mad scramble to churn out apps by the dozens. Entrepreneurs and developers had this burning desire to make apps for everything. When the initial novelty wore off, mobile users discovered one thing – not all of these apps are useful, many of them are downright useless. At the same time, developers also discovered that many of their apps are still languishing in the app library with very few downloads and even lesser reviews. Developers quickly took stock of what went wrong and realized that making the app is not the end of the game, they have to make great apps if they want to remain in the foray.

Here are some tips developers can use to make successful mobile apps:

1. Amazing colors and contrast

The kaleidoscope of exciting and attractive colors that the phones have these days would easily tempt any developer to go wild with his color schemes. However, as he goes ahead with his designing, he forgets that the phones are to be used anywhere and under varying light conditions. If subtle colors are used, then the user would have a hard time perceiving the colors. So the best thing to do would be to develop high contrast color combinations on the screen. This would make the app user friendly and easily accessible. Though frills and graphics would look good initially, it is not going to be very pleasurable for the user when he considers the practical aspect. So go easy on the frills and fancies.

2. Ensure that the users know what each buttons are used for

Believe it or not, but most of the mobile users are not familiar with all the buttons in their mobile phones. So while designing the features for each button in the phone, ensure that the ‘button indicators’ make good sense to the user. Include a detailed help section in the app where you narrate the functions of each button to make it easier.

3. Easy of accessibility

The mobile should be easily launched and closed. If the user has to go through four levels just to launch the application, then he would get fed up of it quickly and will uninstall the app after a couple of days of use.

4. Button size

A perpetual compliant that most phone users have is that they are not able to read the font inserted on the app. It could be because the user’s mobile phone is designed in that way, but the developer cannot do anything about it, except design his apps assuming that the fonts would be big enough to be read by all.

5. The back button must be used in an appropriate manner

Mobile users want convenient use of the back button. On Android phones, the back button helps the user to navigate out of an app easily. On an iOS system, the back button is software controlled, so it is imperative that the developer supplies a back button along with his app, preferably in top left-hand corner of the screen.

6. Adding clickable features on the phone

There are various types of mobile devices and most people today use smartphones fitted with stylus, track pad or track ball. Each one of these phones have their own unique techniques for handling various apps. App users would not appreciate it if they have to drag and drop items, so avoid such features on the app. Make the screen clickable, and activate the enlarge feature to make these apps user-friendly.

7. Lesser keypad inputs

Though you may see people clicking away at their phones, chatting and using the what’s app on a regular basis, not everybody would appreciate it if they have to use the QWERTY keypad for using the app. So make the typing part as minimal as possible.

8. Put the tabs where they can be easily assessed

There is a huge difference between the primary tab navigation facilities offered in an iOS phone and an Android phone. If a developer designs a tab that has its primary navigation to the main feature areas of the app, then it should be placed differently on both the phones. So the developer would have to design it separately for the iOS and Android application.

9. The less clutter the better

In the past, developers prided on using as many features as possible on their apps. However, it has turned out to be ‘unwieldy’ when these apps are inserted in the mobile phones. So make the apps less cluttered with only the necessary features.

10. Ensure all platforms are covered

People are always on the move with one device or the other. Either they would be carrying a tab or a smartphone or they would have a laptop with them. The developer must remember to design the app in such a way that it would be open in all the platforms. This would pave the way for reaching the maximum number of users.

11. Grid layout is important

The user likes his app to be consistent and attractive. Creating a grid layout would make the app functional and convenient. Through a well-organized grid, it is possible to create a strong hierarchy, so the user can zone in on the most important content at a glance. It would save him time.


It is very important to make apps that are user-friendly if they have to be popular among users. To make the apps user-friendly, you have to make them as functional as possible. Keeping them simple and easy to use is the key to success.

Interesting Links:
Tips for designing apps
Mistakes which you should avoid when building an app

Pictures: Flickr.com/ NewsLoop – Your Local News Magazine App/ Betta

The author: Reema Oamkumar is engaged as a thought leader at Software-Developer-India.com which is a part of the YUHIRO Group. YUHIRO is a German-Indian enterprise which provides programmers to IT companies, agencies and IT departments.

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