What is App Design?

‘Apps’ (short for applications) are a form of software developed either specifically for a user or in coherence with another application. Their aim, is to execute a particular task which adheres to the requirements of said user or application. Apps are imperative to businesses, as the quality of an app will directly impact the users perception of the businesses overall brand and any correspondence with them. So much so, that if an apps functionality does not satisfy the user, then they are more likely to be turned off ever using a businesses brand or service. It’s a survival of the most APPt (Pun intended).

Today, we can trapeze through a vast variety of apps whose functionality can range from – games and entertainment, social media platforms, utilities, productivity, the news, and many more. But more importantly, apps can be broken down into the bare bones, specifically the format in which they are composed. These are – Web Apps (HTML5), Hybrid, and Native.

When we talk about Web apps, we’re referring to apps with responsive web design that are drawn upon via a web browser. These apps tend to be quickest option for creating content on a mobile device as they only need to be built once. However, apps of this form tend to leave users frustrated with both mediocre user experience and performance.

Hybrids, on the other hand, are a mixed blend of both native and web apps. These apps, though birthed through HTML5, intertwine themselves between the mobile website and its native app. Such apps are incredibly appealing to those with web skills under their belts, however, limited bandwidth and distinctive mobile functions create a hybrid downfall.

Finally, Native apps are apps which run directly via a mobile device. They don’t require a web browser, or perhaps even need to be connected to the internet to function. These apps provide pleasant UI (User interface) and UX (User Experience), are quick to load, have improved functionality and performance, excellent security, and better brand image. Though its perfection may run soul deep, Native apps are often expensive and require a fair amount of development.

Designers need to be aware that when creating an app, there’s more to it than just creating an app. Apps require working on a smaller canvas, whether it be tablet or smartphone, and the designer must consider how gestures and touch will effect the design. Time and context play a large role in the development of apps. User’s don’t want to have to go through a hundred different steps to find information they don’t need or want. In fact, they expect interfaces they will recognise to reduce stress and increase comfort and usability. Finally, when designing an app,  designers mustn’t disregard the use of wireframes – bones are what hold the body together, and with the added consideration of resolution, we can also give it glowing skin.

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