The Importance of Good Design in the App World

Maybe it’s a tired cliché, but the “you only get one chance to make a first impression” is as true for the app development market as it is for the job market or the dating scene.

The 1998 book, You’ve Only Got 3 Seconds: How to Make the Right Impression In Your Business and Social Life, by Camille Lavington could easily apply to mobile app design today.

Good design that’s easy to use — and the payoff of a positive user experience — is critical within the first three seconds of a user opening your app.

Mobile apps should be user-friendly, productive, attractive, and in some cases, entertaining. Within a moment’s glance, the user should be able to understand how to use the app. If not, they won’t hang around, just as they would click off of any complicated, visual circus of a website. Even an app that takes too long to load will be a turn-off.

The user experience should drive the design, but the design should also be visually arresting in some manner. As author Jesse James Garrett once said in his book, The Elements of User Experience, “An information architect makes information work for people.”

When designing apps, we recognize that users are multi-tasking, which is the underlying reason there’s a market for these apps in the first place. Our users would not be able to multi-task if they were wasting their time figuring out how to use our apps.

We design with a multi-tasker in mind, who likely isn’t giving us all of their mindshare as they’re interacting with our app. Apps, social media and websites are the main ways we communicate with our audiences. Those path-of-least-resistance first impressions are key.

These are all tools to simplify lives and minimize time wasted. Our users are inviting us to communicate with them through push notification. If we don’t hold up our end of the bargain, they can easily delete us…, and they will.

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