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Common App Design Challenges and Their Solutions

April 11, 2022

Here is a little story: Prasanna searches for a mobile app relating to some task and ends up with one that seems to match her needs. So she downloads the app and tries using it to satisfy her need. But, once she installs the app, after using it for just a few minutes, she realizes that there are some odd bugs in the software that have caused a serious problem. She then blames herself for downloading a useless application that could have been completely disastrous for her. In other words, she becomes completely dissatisfied with the app she downloaded. So she uninstalls the app, then continues her search for another app that might satisfy her need.

This is such a tragic story, right? Have you ever wondered why an app would be so complicated that it falls short of even basic usability? You might have. What if the same happens with the app you’re about to develop for your business? The app’s users would feel the same way Prasanna felt. Everything depends on the success of the design phase. When an app is structured in the right way, all other aspects of the design fall into place naturally and easily.

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To prevent your app from encountering such issues or overcome your design challenges, it is essential that you know the pitfalls of app design and the common challenges you might face in the process. Without further delay, let’s get to know them.

9 Common Pitfalls of App Design

These are some of the most common pitfalls in app design and the best methods for avoiding them.

#1 Compatibility

The average smartphone user has about 80 apps installed on his device. Some of these apps might be dependent on other apps. For example, a restaurant app might require the help of Google maps to optimize delivery routes. If the map functions fail, this results in a dependency error and reflects badly on the restaurant app. This is the reason you must thoroughly test the compatibility of the app you’re developing with other apps.

Solution:

Use the best compatibility-testing tools to examine the implementation of your app design. These tools can be helpful for both platform testing and software-compatibility testing.

#2 User-Interface Complications

It is indeed important to create an impressive user interface. But that doesn’t mean you have to exhaust every ounce of your creativity. It is necessary to design an interface in such a way that it is simple and easy to use for the app’s users.

Solution:

Whenever you modify any feature of your user interface, be sure that design change is absolutely necessary. Use a limited number of screens, keep the interface as simple as possible, and make the app easy to operate and navigate.

#3 Replicating Other Mobile Apps

While we all use the designs of existing apps for inspiration, that doesn’t mean you should wholly copy the design of a competitor’s app. App users can easily spot the copies, which can negatively affect your business and users’ engagement with your app.

Solution:

Adopt the design best practices from competitors’ apps, not their designs. Doing just this is more than enough to overcome this issue.

#4 Inconsistent Design

You must design each screen of your mobile app to be consistent and work well. Ensure that your app’s visual design connects with your brand, is consistent across every device, and uses a background color that is suitable for your app.

Solution:

Take design elements from your brand. Make sure your app has a simple look that is consistent with the purpose of your application and is compatible with the operating systems of the devices on which it runs.

#5 A Lack of User Feedback

This is a crucial aspect that some designers miss. It is important to research the market to understand your users and have actual users test your application. Based on your users’ design preferences, you can alter the app before launching it officially. However, making major modifications post-launch, without getting any user feedback, could result in unwanted risks.

Solution:

Get user feedback starting from the initial design stages so you can implement design updates before launch and deliver a positive user experience.

#6 A Lack of Architectural Understanding

This is one of the major pitfalls of app design that is often left unaddressed. To design an efficient mobile app, ┬ádesign skills are certainly essential, but that is not all. Deep knowledge of an app’s underlying architecture is indispensable, including device compatibilities, OS design rules, and user-interface elements.

Solution:

Establish your understanding of the app’s architecture before getting into the design. From a technical perspective, map out the features, design components, and user flows.

#7 An Indefinite Timeline

You cannot design and develop your app overnight. You need time to think, define user needs, and design a solution that is in line with your brand. If you don’t have a well-defined timeline for doing all of this, you could end up running out of time and enduring a messy work schedule as you try to patch up problems.

Solution:

To manage app design and customization within the planned timeline, take advantage of app builders such as BuildFire, which provides amazing design templates and reduces time to market.

#8 Address Both the User Interface and the User Experience

To provide a seamless user experience to your app’s users, you must deliver a coherent, holistic design solution. Create a user interface whose design elements positively impact the user experience.

Solution:

Take both the user interface and the user experience into account when designing your app.

#9 Design and Development: The Keystones of an App’s Success

Both app design and development are crucial to delivering an efficient app. Without design, development can become tedious. Without development, there is no point in designing the app. Often, designers and developers work in isolation from one another, which can result in design misconceptions that cause problems during development.

Solution:

You can bridge the gap between your team’s app designers and developers by maintaining an interactive communication channel between them. Get everyone on the same page through regular meetings—and make those meetings productive. Together, you can avoid unnecessary anomalies.

Top 8 Challenges Designers Face When Designing Mobile Apps

Now, let’s consider some possible challenges that you might have to face when designing your mobile app.

#1 Ideation for App Design

Be aware of why you’re designing an app and what its potential objectives are. Every app begins with an idea, and you must have a clear understanding of that idea. Then you must precisely implement that design idea throughout development. Make sure you can answer the following questions:

  • Who is the target audience?
  • What are the objectives for the app’s development?
  • What is the app’s key functionality?
  • Is the app a wholly new idea or an improvisation that is based on an existing idea?
  • Can the app handle its market competitors?

#2 Deciding on Your Target Audiences

The goal of app development is to satisfy the customers’ needs and, thereby, extend your business. To earn profits, you must know your target audiences. Conduct a deep analysis of your target audiences and answer the following questions:

  • Would the app’s users require previous knowledge about the app?
  • What knowledge would be necessary to use the app?
  • Are the target users experts or beginners?
  • What are your users’ expectations?
  • Through which channels would your potential audiences find out about new mobile apps?

#3 Hold Down Your Financial Outlays

The tools you use, your design and development process, and the time you have from a project’s inception until the app’s launch, all contribute to your development costs. To avoid runaway app-development costs, conceptualize your app, follow a proper app design and development process, and use a rapid-prototyping tool or design framework. Doing the following can also help you hold down your app-development costs:

  • Come up with crowdfunding ideas.
  • Pull together a small project team.
  • Make a strategic project plan.
  • Set clear task milestones.
  • Define your budget for app design, development, testing, deployment, and advertising.

#4 Know the User Requirements

To understand how your app will work for users, create prototypes and clickable wireframes. Consider releasing a prototype version of your app so you can learn how well it satisfies users’ needs and identify what additional requirements you might need to cover.

When creating interactive prototypes, you can use some excellent prototyping tools that help you to make your app look like the real app you’re going to build, but with just its basic features. Get immediate feedback from users, then modify your design accordingly.

#5 Design an Interactive User Interface

An app’s user interactions are everything. Just adding exclusive features is not enough to make your app phenomenally successful. You app will engage users only if you portray it in the right way and make it attractive to them. Use mechanisms that let you implement interactivity in subtle and tangible ways. Enable your app to be more responsive to user actions such as tilting the screen, long presses, and changing menus and settings.

#6 Make the App Self-explanatory

While an app’s functionality might seem clear to its creator, the same might not be true of the users. So it is important to incorporate intuitive app interactions. Don’t add too many icons and thumbnails because they might confuse your users. Provide concise instructions for first-time users and brief tutorial videos that make the necessary interactions clear to the app’s users. To get ideas about how to design an app’s interactivity, refer to competitive and other relevant apps to see how they’ve incorporated features and design elements in ways that make their app simpler for users.

#7 Ensure Smooth Performance

The design of the perfect layout and structure should ultimately lead to a highly performant app. The challenge you face is not simply designing the app, but ensuring that the app’s performance has a positive impact on the user experience. Use smooth-running graphics and animations to avoid the creation of friction during an app’s usage.

#8 Develop Responsive Features

Useful features are at the heart of your app. Appropriately showcasing them leads to increased app usage. To make sure your design does justice to the features you’ve included, use new design tools that support the latest technologies, manage screen dimensions efficiently, and ensure the screens have sufficient responsiveness at various formats and screen sizes.

Closing Thoughts

Now that you’re aware of the common pitfalls and challenges of app design, you’re ready to start ideating and designing your app, while making sure you avoid getting into any of these sticky situations. You can easily prevent possible issues and stay ahead of the curve. Following the guidance that I’ve provided in this article and making use of design best practices will pave the way for a successful app design! 

CTO at Pyramidion Solutions

Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Karthik SakthivelKarthik has more than five years of experience as CTO at Pyramidion, guiding many projects for a variety of businesses. As a solution architect, he uses the best modern technologies to create highly responsive, innovative apps. Karthik believes that design is the most important aspect of any development project and good design can lead to the creation of an impressive app. His technology-related perceptions and wide knowledge of good design have led to the success of many technology projects at Pyramidion. He is a tech enthusiast and keeps up with the latest technology trends. He is an Engineering graduate.  Read More

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