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App Creation #54 – App Design – User Interface

Windows 8 Start Screen
Each operating system will have its own distinct look and feel. Graphics and navigational methods will vary between competing formats and your challenge is to replicate this experience throughout your own app wherever possible.

Think Simple

People who use app capable devices are not always your typical technological stereo-type. The portrayal of nerds and geeks have been associated with technology enthusiasts for many years. More recently with the widespread appeal of gadgetry, talking about the world of transistors, capacitors and diodes can even be classed as ‘cool’ by the very same people who a decade ago would have scoffed at the thought.

They have become a success due to one very important factor – they are simple to use!

Apple iOS Operating System

Apple iOS Operating System

Not a Computer

Due to the fact that there are a group of users who are not completely confident with their computer skills, the need to carefully consider your labeling, arrangement of buttons and set of icons is crucial if your app is designed for a wider audience. Avoid typical computer terminology wherever possible unless the term is as descriptive as it suggests. For example, not everyone understands the meaning of cut, copy and paste and to the newbie may suggest a decorating application.

Typically your user-base may not be so wide ranging, in which case you can concentrate on other areas more closely.

Arrangement

Every operating system has its own way of achieving navigation. It has evolved and indeed simplified over time. Even now, I doubt the best solution for getting around a touch screen device has been invented, but until that magical day, you need to play by the rules.

Apple App Store

Apple App Store

Don’t attempt to re-invent the wheel unless you have something really special up your sleeve. The user will be accustomed to pressing in the corners to step backwards and forwards, looking for an edit option in a particular area of the screen and so on.

Follow these precedents that the applications bundled with the device utilise to avoid unnecessary confusion. If a swipe gesture is used to delete an item, then use the exact same method as it will have become instinct to the user and reduce any complaints in your direction.

Be Brave

Although matching wherever possible the same user interface utilisations with the operating system is a sensible one, don’t be a slave to it either. Your app could be revolutionary if you take a few risks, but do ensure that navigation and function feel natural. If testers of your creation are lost and have difficulties understanding your own control formula, going back to the drawing board may be required.

App Creation Series

There are literally hundreds of thousands of applications and games available to download using the digital marketplace. These range from basic clocks to fully fledged 3D gaming experiences rivalling even the leading portable devices that usually only specialise in this field.

Your challenge is competing with this vast library of already impressive offerings which, although a daunting prospect to the fledgling traveller, can be navigated successfully with the right ideas and implementation. Whether you want to create an income generator or simply desire recognition for your efforts, this book will aim to show you the path and inspire your imagination to overflow with possibilities.

Allow me to guide you through the wilderness and raise your chances of realising your development dreams by detailing different routes with this light hearted tour of the Apps terrain. Featuring a myriad of exciting and surprising examples, you can glean important suggestions for your own creation.

App Creation Series Index:
 > App Creation – Beginners Guide to App Design, Development and Marketing

Written by James Woodcock

James Woodcock is a Freelance Journalist specialising in gaming and technology. Ever since he experienced the first controllable pixel movement on the television screen, he has been entranced by the possibilities and rewarding entertainment value generated from these metal and plastic boxes of delight. Writing hundreds of articles including commentary and reviews on various gaming platforms, while also interviewing well known industry figures for popular online publications.

Experience in classic game music MIDI enhancement. DVD and HD Video capture, editing, scripting and creation. Podcasting, Internet Radio DJ and Musician.

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