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Team Think Labs | App Design DOs & DON’Ts
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App Design DOs & DON’Ts

Apps are taking over the world and with the continual growth of the App market, it is important to keep in mind some of the basic rules to live by when designing and developing a mobile app. Here are some important things to keep in mind.




Simplify Functionality

The easier the app is to use, the more the user will want to use it. It’s not about including as many features as you can, it’s about including meaningful and useful tools to accomplish a target goal.


Consider the Thumb Range and Size

When designing an app, keep in mind the range of the thumb. Don’t place important functionality in hard to reach places. The flow of the app relies heavily on the placement of its main navigation and size of each button or interaction. You don’t want your navigation to be too small or too clunky.


Touch, not Click

Always keep in mind touch and gesture functionality when designing for an app. It can be sometimes hard to get out of the desktop mind-set. But as many purposeful touch functionalities you can implement into your design, the better the experience for the user. And never assume your user knows how to use them. Highlight them to ensure your users make effective use of them.


Visual Consistency

As in any brand design project, make sure you maintain visual consistency across the board. Through colors, fonts, and personality, make sure you keep this in mind. Do all of your buttons have the same look and feel? Are you sticking to a color pallet? Can you tell what is interactive and what is not?


Mobilize not Minimize

Designing for a mobile app doesn’t mean you are designing a miniature website. You have to completely rethink for a mobile experience. Make sure yo nail down a flow before you start your wire framing. App designing can easily get out of hand.



Don’t Start with Low Resolutions

Always design for retina, high-res, pixel-dense screens first, then scale down. As the number of common screen resolutions continues to expand (iOS alone has 4 different resolutions to worry about), always start with the highest and scale down.

iOS Resolutions

iPad 1x

iPad 2x (Retina)

iPhone 1x (4s, 3GS, 2g)
960×640 (Retina)

iPhone 2x (5)

Download a helpful App Icon psd to get all sizes need for your app icon HERE.


Don’t Disregard the Development Budget

Keep in mind the development of your designs. Always communicate with your developer what functionalities you are designing for in order to make sure what you are designing doesn’t send the development budget sky high. Sometimes simple design functionality ideas can be not so simple on the development end.


Don’t Overuse Intro Animations or Leave Anything Blank

Intro animations are only successful if they are quick. Anything that keeps the user from almost instantaneously accessing an app will deter them from using that app. You don’t ever want to leave your user hanging. Blank screens are also big no-no’s when loading an app or content


Don’t Blindly Copy Style From Other Operating Systems

We want to try and not confuse the user as much as possible. Keep in mind the style of OS you are designing for. Each OS has a distinct look and you want be careful not to make the app look like it doesn’t belong on the platform.


Don’t Assume Usability is the Same with Everyone

Usability testing is very important, even though you might think your app is the best thing out there. Make sure your app functions the way it was intended.



In conclusion, the best app design is a well thought out one. Since we are now in a mobile design age, we must consider and carefully think through the way we design for the mobile device. Because it is a whole new and exciting breed.