Why App Design Matters

August 20, 2015 | Natasha Singh

Why App Design Matters
Why App Design Matters

Take a look around the room you are in, take in everything that is in the room. Now look at the room itself, your computer, this website – it’s all been designed. Mostly heavily so. When thinking of apps, the average joe most likely doesn’t think of design as a big deal. The fact is that design is the single most important factor in app development.

As a top Bay Area app making company, SDI’s development team is well aware of the importance of design . A top-selling app is one of the most heavily designed products in the world. Everything from the colors and font through app navigation needs to be tightly controlled and planned.

Let’s put this in a context we can understand. We’re getting into the tail end of summer here and slowly but surely football, baseball, and hockey are gearing up for the upcoming season. With football’s preseason just now beginning, it’s the perfect time to make an app that focuses on sports and sports-related data. Sports fans love statistics and, as Fox’s infamous show “The League” has demonstrated, Fantasy Footballers love data.

The tricky thing about data from a design perspective it’s easy to portray, but even easier to portray in an extremely confusing manner. Graphs, tables, and charts are excellent ways of showing the distribution of a data set, but something as seemingly innocuous as color can change how the data is viewed.

Everything is Designed, Design is Everything

Our app makers approach every app they create in the same manner. There are 4 key things specifically in which they are interested:

1. what the object being designed supposed to accomplish;

a. In this case, our object is an app and it needs to display data of games, teams, and athletes in a manner that is easily understood

2. how the object accomplishes the task for which it was designed;

a. What is the entire cycle of the app? How does it guide users through the app, and does it make sense? When fantasy football players make a decision regarding their fantasy league, they need to know data like the total yardage of individual players, the fatigue of a player, and any injuries. Is our app designed to optimize cycling between the different sets of data and does the layout make sense to the user.

3. how users view and use said object; and

a. This requires live feedback from potential customers and not in-house data. Designers need to understand what sports fans think of the app if they are using it as intended, and, if not, how they are actually using it. Remember – design is the process by which an object is optimized for the user and not the designer. Understanding how an app is used in the field leads to a better-designed product and more money in the bank for you.

4. how designers view and use the object.

a. Designers and developers have a different objective than the end consumer. In our analogy, the end-user wants a product that displays football statistics by game, by the player, and by the team. Thus, the design process needs to be quite self-aware and the designer needs to consider how they are influencing the project.

b. A famous example of this comes from the first commercial HP printer and copier. The engineers who designed and built the printer/copier created a machine that functioned great and could be easily understood by anyone….anyone who had an engineering degree, that is.

After the initial release, the dual-purpose machine went nowhere. Sales plummeted after the initial release because customers hated it and were thoroughly frustrated by the device. So HP brought in a designer who did a minimal focus group and solved their problem – it had no clearly demarcated start button.

An engineer familiar with machines (especially those who built it) could easily figure out how to use the printer/copier; the end-user, however, was lost by the machine and didn’t understand the manual’s techno-jargon. With a simple fix, the designer took this product from bust to one of the most successful products ever built.

This story is meant to demonstrate just how important designs and how important is to remember that the product is being designed for the end-user. The design is an iterative process and is ongoing, especially in the world of app development. It’s important to remember that it really doesn’t matter if you like the design of your app – it matters if your consumers do.

An ‘Eye’ for Design

The human eye is an amazing organ. It does all sorts of really cool and fascinating things that no other organ does; and with all of the medical technology we have at hand, we still can’t make a device that accomplishes what the eye does as well and efficiently. That being said, it still needs help sometimes.

When we design an app or website, we leverage options such as the use of color, gradients, grid layouts, and font to create a visually stunning UX. When displaying data, we still use the standard graphs and charts, but add-in features to make eye fatigue less of a problem.

For instance, using a gridded graph helps make the information presented easier to understand, and provides clear boundaries so the eye doesn’t waste energy. A gridded graph helps to guide the human eye along, ensuring that the eye doesn’t get lost and the user doesn’t get frustrated. Boundaries are an easy way to which you can tell the eye to stop looking. This is important because eye fatigue can lead to user drop-off – and a loss of revenue for you. Even something as simple as including the X/Y axis lines in a graph clean up an app immensely.

Being conscious of colors and their cultural associations is also a must for any designer. Here in the States, red is associated frequently as a way of telling people to stop or to cast a negative light. Green, on the other hand, lets Americans know that it’s okay to proceed.

Our recommendation is to avoid colors like red and green when displaying data. Fantasy footballers need to have highly accurate data; avoiding colors like red and green prevents the creation of unconscious user bias.

SDI’s design cycle is in-depth, intensive, and excellent. We believe that developers should go through every step in the design cycle, thoroughly. We go through a prototype process that includes wireframing, storyboarding, and repetitive testing cycles. The result is a product that wows users and earns our clients cash hand over fist.

If you would like to learn more about our design and development cycle, or are just looking to talk to someone regarding your idea or current project , please give us a call at 408.805.0495 or email us at team@sdi.la. We offer a free consultation and quote on your product, so there is no loss to you! Contact us today, we love hearing from enthusiastic entrepreneurs with an undying passion for success.

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