Mobile apps for the UX/UI designer

Revend Group
11 min read5 days ago

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Vitaliy Luchka, a UX/UI designer at Revend Group, delivered a presentation on the topic ‘Mobile Applications for UX/UI Designers.’ In this article, we would like to share with you the key insights and knowledge we gained during the presentation.

Contents

  • Minimalism and Flat Design
  • What Are Native Applications?
  • What Are Hybrid Applications?
  • Key Differences Between Android and iOS Interface Designs

Mobile applications are programs developed for use on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. They facilitate the completion of various tasks and provide access to services and information on the go.

Examples include: Social Media, Games, Shopping, Productivity, Health and Fitness, Education, Navigation

These apps are used in everyday life for communication, entertainment, and shopping. In the workplace, they enhance productivity and task organization. In education, they provide access to educational resources. For travel, they assist with navigation and location finding.

All these applications are developed, designed, and implemented by professionals. We gathered at the presentation to discuss the different types and features of app development based on their categories.

Minimalism and Flat Design

The last decade has seen a rapid evolution of minimalism and flat design. This design philosophy emphasizes simplicity, clean lines, and a focus on key elements. Thanks to programs like Apple’s iOS and Google’s Material Design, this approach has become widely accepted, streamlining interfaces and making navigation more intuitive for users.

With the proliferation of smartphones centered around touch interaction, gesture-based navigation has become an integral part of modern interfaces. Swiping, pinching, and tapping have replaced traditional buttons, providing a more intuitive and natural way to interact with applications. This trend has led to the creation of a smoother and more engaging user experience by reducing unnecessary interface elements and enhancing users’ sense of control.

Microinteractions

Microinteractions are small animations or feedback loops that provide users with immediate responses to their actions. These elements make the user experience more responsive and engaging. Whether it’s a button changing color when pressed or a loading indicator showing progress, microinteractions play a crucial role. Modern mobile applications actively use microinteractions to create memorable experiences, engaging users and enhancing their overall satisfaction with the app.

Personalization and Contextual Design

Modern mobile applications increasingly utilize user data to provide personalized experiences. Contextual design takes into account user behavior, preferences, and location to offer individualized content and interactions. For example, weather apps display local forecasts, and e-commerce platforms recommend products based on the user’s browsing history. This approach boosts user engagement and loyalty by making apps more tailored to individual needs.

Dark Mode and Accessibility

Dark mode has gained popularity not only for its sleek aesthetic but also for its numerous accessibility benefits. Dark interfaces are easier on the eyes in low-light conditions and help conserve battery life on OLED screens.

Modern designers are increasingly integrating dark mode into their UI/UX strategies to cater to diverse user preferences and usage scenarios. Vitaliy emphasized that dark mode is now considered an essential part of the design process, aimed at ensuring user comfort and efficiency.

Augmented Reality (AR) and Immersive Experiences

As AR technology evolves, mobile app developers are actively exploring the possibilities of integrating augmented reality into their interfaces. AR opens new horizons for interactive overlays, spatial interactions, and immersive experiences, blending the digital and physical worlds. From AR filters in social media apps to navigation guides, this trend is pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in mobile UI/UX design.

What Are Native Applications?

Native applications are apps specifically developed for a particular mobile platform (iOS or Android) using the platform’s native programming languages and development tools. For iOS development, Swift or Objective-C languages and Apple’s development tools, such as Xcode, are used. Developing for iOS typically requires a computer with macOS. Using an unofficial OS like Hackintosh is possible but not always optimal and may not be compatible with all PCs.

Developing apps for Android involves using programming languages like Java or Kotlin and development tools such as Android Studio. The Android development process is generally less demanding compared to iOS, though it has its own specifics.

Advantages of Native Applications

Our team has thoroughly analyzed the advantages of native applications. Considering the significant differences between hybrid and native solutions, we can highlight the key strengths of native apps as well as certain drawbacks. If you need a fast, reliable, stable, and secure app, a native solution might be the ideal choice for many reasons.

Simplicity

Native apps are easier to learn and use because they adhere to the design and interface standards of the platform. Users immediately understand how to use such apps as they resemble other applications on their device. Native apps also provide better compatibility with different screen sizes and orientations, enhancing overall user comfort.

Performance

Native apps operate quickly and stably as they are optimized for a specific operating system and use native programming languages such as Swift for iOS or Java for Android. Moreover, native apps can store data locally on the device, reducing dependency on the internet and improving overall performance.

Security

Native apps feature a higher level of security as they undergo stringent quality and compliance checks before being published in official app stores like the App Store or Google Play. They also use built-in security mechanisms, such as biometric authentication, data encryption, and SSL certificates, providing an additional layer of safety for users.

Better Integration

Native apps integrate seamlessly with other applications and device features, such as the camera, microphone, GPS, contacts, calendar, and notifications. This allows for a more complete and convenient user experience and makes full use of the device’s capabilities.

Disadvantages of Native Applications

When comparing native apps and hybrid alternatives, it’s essential to consider their drawbacks, which can influence development methods.

Development Cost

Developing native apps requires significant investments of time, resources, and money since separate versions need to be created for each platform. This also involves hiring developers with specific expertise in native programming languages. Additionally, the review process before publication in app stores, especially in the App Store, can be lengthy and rigorous.

Complicated Updates and Maintenance

Native apps require regular updates to maintain functionality and compatibility with new OS versions and devices. The update process depends on app store approvals and can take a significant amount of time. Users might also refuse updates, complicating app maintenance. Additionally, supporting and fixing bugs in native apps requires more effort due to the presence of different versions and variants of the apps.

Difficulty in Porting to Other Platforms

Native apps cannot run on platforms other than those they were developed for. If a developer wants to expand the audience, a new version of the app must be created for another platform, requiring substantial time and cost. Native apps also cannot leverage the advantages of web technologies, such as SEO, SSO, or traditional online analytics.

What Are Hybrid Applications?

Hybrid applications are unique in that they are developed using the same technologies as websites, such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. They combine elements of both native and web applications. This flexibility gives hybrid apps certain advantages as well as disadvantages.

Advantages of Hybrid Applications

Cross-Platform Compatibility

One of the biggest advantages of hybrid applications is their ability to run on multiple platforms, such as iOS, Android, Windows, as well as web and desktop versions. This allows for a broader user audience and ensures a consistent user experience across different devices.

Development Efficiency

Developing hybrid applications is significantly faster and cheaper compared to native apps because the same code can be used for different platforms. This reduces development costs and simplifies the maintenance and update process.

Ease of Updates

Updating hybrid applications can be done quickly and easily, as changes in the code apply to all platforms simultaneously. This allows for prompt responses to user feedback and continuous improvement of the app without the need to update each platform separately.

Speed of Development

Hybrid apps require less development time since they use a single codebase for all platforms. Developers do not need to know native programming languages but can use common web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Specialized frameworks like React Native, Flutter, Ionic, etc., simplify the development and adaptation process, significantly speeding up the time-to-market.

Lower Development Costs

Hybrid applications are less expensive than native ones because they require fewer resources and developers. Using a single codebase reduces testing and maintenance costs, as there is no need to develop and maintain separate versions for each platform. Additionally, hybrid apps are not subject to the same rigorous checks for deployment and updates in app stores as native applications.

Easy Updates

Hybrid applications are easy to update since they require changes only in one codebase. Updates to hybrid apps do not depend on app store approvals and can occur automatically over the Internet, ensuring timely implementation of changes and new features.

Disadvantages of Hybrid Applications

While hybrid applications are often an optimal solution, especially when working with a limited budget and the need for a quick market launch, it’s important to consider the drawbacks that can influence the decision between hybrid and native applications.

Limited Performance

Hybrid apps typically run slower and less stable than native apps because they operate within a native container that emulates a web browser. They also rely on the quality of the internet connection, as a significant portion of the code is loaded from a server. This can lead to delays in operation and reduced performance.

Restricted Access to Device Features

Hybrid apps have limited access to device features and resources compared to native apps. The use of web technologies does not allow full utilization of all the capabilities of the OS and device components. Specialized plugins can extend these capabilities, but they may cause compatibility and security issues.

Challenges in Supporting Older Versions

Hybrid apps require more effort to support older versions of operating systems and devices due to the use of web technologies, which may not be compatible with them. This can lead to stability and performance issues on older devices, as such apps often require more resources to operate effectively.

Insufficient Optimization for Specific Platforms

Hybrid apps cannot fully adapt to the specifics of each platform because they use the same interface and design for all platforms. They cannot fully leverage the advantages of native technologies, such as animations, graphics, gestures, etc. This can cause discomfort for users who are accustomed to the native design and interface of their platform.

Design and Interface

A crucial difference between native and hybrid applications lies in their design and interface. Native apps are created following the design and interface standards of the specific platform, such as Material Design for Android or Human Interface Guidelines for iOS. This ensures that users have a familiar and comfortable experience interacting with the app.

Design and Interface Standards

Native applications adhere to the design standards of their respective platforms. For example, for Android, these are the principles of Material Design, which include guidelines on color schemes, typography, animations, and other interface aspects. For iOS, it is the Human Interface Guidelines, which outline the rules for creating intuitive and appealing interfaces. Adhering to these standards allows apps to look harmonious within the device ecosystem and provide users with a consistent experience.

Unified Design and Interface of Hybrid Applications

Hybrid applications use the same design and interface across all platforms, which may differ from native design and interface. This means they may not always fully meet the aesthetic and functional requirements of each platform. As a result, users might feel discomfort due to the absence of familiar interface elements or app behavior.

Apple and Google both pay close attention to the appearance of apps in their stores and provide detailed documentation on design. For iOS app developers, adherence to the “Human Interface Guidelines” is crucial, while on Android, it’s the principles of “Material Design”. These resources are open, allowing any designer to access them at any time to create apps that meet the quality standards of these platforms.

Following these guidelines is important for three main reasons:

1. Faster and error-free design process: Consistency in user interface significantly simplifies the design process, reducing errors and ensuring uniformity in the appearance of apps.

2. Faster and cheaper development stage: Using standard templates and principles saves time and costs in development, as there’s no need to invent new solutions from scratch.

3. Convenient and familiar experience for users: Users get a quick and intuitive experience interacting with apps that meet their expectations.

Vitaliy said it’s simpler and quicker to learn and understand the guidelines beforehand to save time and money at all stages of the program development later on.

Below, we’ll explain the main principles of these two types of design. Knowing them doesn’t mean you need to create different programs for iOS and Android. However, you’ll create a more intuitively understandable design for both platforms by knowing what they expect.

Three fundamental principles of iOS app design:

1. Clarity or Minimalism: Use simple and understandable design elements to focus attention on the primary content.

2. Deference: Content-first approach with clear elements.

3. Flat Depth Design: Use fewer shadows but play with color to create a sense of layering between elements.

All these templates automatically appear in Figma with each new iOS update and are available to all designers working on this platform. iOS app developers are encouraged to use these templates to enhance user interaction and ensure smooth app publication. Some reviewers in the App Store pay attention to your use of UI design templates and may compare your app against open-source design guidelines.

Here’s why it’s better to check and use a free template during the development stage rather than searching for one after an app publication rejection.

What is Material Design?

Recommendations for Material Design emerged from Google’s efforts to unify its products. The company began working on its guidelines in 2011 and completed the process in 2014. The essence of Android app design involves combining skeuomorphism with flat design, enabling depth and interactivity through motion in a flat environment for a realistic user experience.

Android user interface design is based on four main principles:

1. Metaphor: All objects and elements are placed at different elevations with shadows, allowing users to distinguish primary from secondary and intuitively understand the interface.

2. Bold Graphic Design: Typography defines everything displayed on element layers, facilitating hierarchy between elements and directing attention where needed.

3. Meaningful Animation: Provides smooth transitions between elements without unexpected or illogical behaviors.

4. Adaptive Design: Rules of the application work on various devices, creating a flexible foundation for cross-platform functionality.

Adhering to these principles enables the creation of intuitive and functional applications that meet user expectations on each platform.

Main Differences Between Android and iOS Interface Design

From a user interface design perspective, each platform has its own unique elements that users are accustomed to. This is why understanding the HIG and Material Design guidelines enhances designers’ awareness and aids their understanding of current user behavior patterns. By adhering to these differences, you create applications that align with your clients’ habits, are user-friendly, and adaptable for your developers.

We hope our presentation has interested you and helped you better understand the differences between types of mobile applications.

If you have further questions or need consultation, feel free to reach out to us.

We aim to not only be a source of information but also your reliable partner in the world of design and technology. Our team is ready to assist you in realizing your ideas, developing your projects, and achieving great success together.

Thank you for your attention, and until next time!

Website — https://revend.group/

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Linkedin — https://www.linkedin.com/company/revendgroup/

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