Let’s start with these statistics about smartphone usage globally to have an understanding of mobile UI design;
There are around 3.5 billion smartphone users globally. Approximately 20 million users join the fray every year. In the United States, about 77% of Americans own a smartphone. – Statista
In 2019, there are around 204 Billion app downloads globally, and 66% of smartphone users globally cannot live without their phones. – Techjury
Lastly, 56% of traffic came from smartphones in 2019, and this figure is expected to grow with the adoption of 5G network. – Digital 2019
Why are these statistics vital? The explosion in smartphone usage means there will be an increase in mobile app usage also. Of course, Mobile app creation is growing steadily with usage, and an essential aspect of mobile app creation is Mobile UI design.
However, there are differences between a Mobile UI design and desktop design; the laws that guide the two are different. Of course, there are dozens of rules that guide mobile UI design, but we’ll focus attention on only five that are considered most essential.
1. Follow Interface Guidelines To The Letter.
Never trade a vertical and straightforward layout in mobile UI design for anything else. Align this with the guidelines set out by Android and iOS. In this guideline for mobile UI design, designers are informed of what to do and what not to do.
2. Only One Course of Action For Every Screen
Do not put more than more course of action on a single frame in a mobile UI design; it’ll confuse the users. Once the users are confused, that’s negative user experience, one that will affect the performance and acceptability of your mobile app.
Therefore, to optimize user experience, your mobile UI design should be focused on just a single action and core information. Achieving would be to build a hierarchy of information and analyze user journeys and needs. This will help you build their route through the mobile application.
3. Always Provide Ample Whitespace
It’s all about providing a positive UX through your mobile UI design. You should consider the size of the screen that will be displaying your design and the whitespace all around it. Let’s take buttons as an example, and it should be large enough for users to see and click without any confusion and mistake.
If you refer to the interface guideline on both iOS, Android, and even by the Google Search Console team, there’s a clear rule on what should be the size of whitespaces. Imagine placing two identical buttons side by side, or over each other, without adequate space. There’s bound to be errors, and this will easily piss off your users.
4. Consider The Thumb Size in Sizing Your Mobile UI Designs
As a mobile UI designer, the screen size of smartphones will always be a constraint. Screen Size will always determine the aesthetics, ergonomics, visual design, and user experience. When designing, always remember that users will always interact with the design using their fingers and not a mouse cursor. This is important, especially if you have a desktop experience as a mobile UI designer.
Know the areas on the screen that are areas of comfort; this is where you should place the call to action in the mobile apps. The comfort areas are the easiest to access when using just a hand in operating the smartphone.
5. Your Design Must Be Readable in Extreme Conditions
Whether in the sun or the dark, ensure that your mobile UI design is readable everywhere. Take into account all the environments your mobile apps will be used. For example, if you have a recipe app, it’ll be used in the kitchen mostly, your mobile UI design should be synced to that environment.
Smartphones are used everywhere and anywhere, indoor and outdoor, even in extreme sports. Consider the variation in contrast in your mobile UI design. Check out these contrast checkers to know if you’re in line; Contrast Checker and Contrast Ratio.
Final Thoughts on Mobile UI Design
Every mobile app creator should strive hard to streamline the mobile UI design in an easy to use manner. Do not allow other trivialities to come in the way of ease of use and user experience.