Designing for mobile devices is in some ways easier than designing for desktop, as the small scale factor means you have to make many more decisions about how content is structured and flows.
Design with less
With a much smaller canvas, you have to prioritise first and foremost what the user sees.
Everyone wants to achieve the feel of a simple app, one that feels easy to understand and use, but understanding how you achieve that is less well understood.
Making something user-friendly is not added on by a designer once the content is ready, you need to design with the content and for the user. If you want it to be simple, make the content simple. Make some hard decisions and cut things out. Do less … but do less brilliantly.
A user-centred design process is a great framework to follow for success.
See also: Mobile First approach, MVP (Minimum viable product) or minimum loveable product, lean development techniques.
Why go native?
There are many advantages to designing a native app
- smoother transitions
- finer control
- integration with other applications such as camera/gps/sharing
- distribution via the appstore, the in-built payment model.
However, HTML5 has enabled browser-based websites to access many of these features too and with support for local storage, HTML5 websites can now work offline too.
Follow a user-centred design process to improve your app’s chance of success.