The Rules Mobile App Design

Over and over I have the same conversations about the principles and difficulties of mobile design. Here are a few simple rules to keep in mind:

Focus your app

The best apps do one thing really well.

Let me repeat that.

The best apps do one thing really well.

Mobile devices don’t have a lot of screen space, and you can’t really do more than one task at a time on them. If you peruse the iTunes or Android App Stores and look at the top rated applications in each category you will notice a trend. The 4.5 & 5 star apps tend to be laser focused on doing one thing incredibly well. This isn’t by accident.

Start with one OS

Developing great mobile apps is neither cheap nor easy.

Simultaneously developing a great mobile application for iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry is a monumental undertaking. Each of these platforms has different strengths and weaknesses which complicates simultaneous development.

Pick a single operating system. If you must do two at once, go with iPhone and iPad, at least they run on the same operating system.

Unless you are targeting a very specific audience that primarily uses Blackberry, don’t bother with it at all.

Money & time

As I said before developing great mobile apps is neither cheap nor easy.

Designing a great app takes a lot of thought and planning.

Developing a great app takes a lot of work.

Don’t expect this to happen overnight or on a shoestring budget.

If you want to do this inexpensively, you’re probably going to have to learn how to code.


A well-executed app can be an awesome thing.

Great apps can build business, solve problems or be plain old fun.

Just remember that they don’t appear out of thin air.

(Image: PickMore)

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