Five Most Frequent iPhone Design Mistakes
The five most frequent iPhone design and usability mistakes, and how I plan to deal with them.
- Over-blown visuals.
Probably the oldest, yet extremely popular design problem is overdesign. Designers of iPhone applications often tend to disregard common design and usability conventions by offering users slick and shiny user interface designs that go way beyond their standard look and also way beyond their claimed functionality.
Why make things look, feel and work complicated and why do designers like to re-invent the wheel? The answer is simple: they want the application to be different; look different and stand out from the crowd. Unfortunately, a different look isn’t necessarily helpful for application’s usability and functionality.
So how does an over-design in iPhone applications look like? To better understand it, let’s look at an example:
At first glance this design might look slick to you, but it has lost it’s focus. This is supposed to be a settings screen and it is different from what the users are used to. The multi-touch gestures are not the same, and over designed.
Noticed the difference? Being inconsistent with other products makes yours worse for two reasons:
- Going against convention makes your application less intuitive. Over-styled controls look different and require users to re-learn how they work.
- It’s a waste of time and money. The resources you have spent to make your app look different, but not necessarily better, could have been used much more effectively.
- Neglecting technological limitations, such as slow Internet connection, slow processors and single-threaded OS architectures.
- Confusing navigation (flow, layout and taxonomy).
- Confusing the iPhone with a computer. Neglecting to use new iPhone interactions (fingers instead of the mouse; multi-touch gestures; turn, tilt and rotate) and technological features such as phone functions, built-in GPS and accelerometer.
- Disregard of context. A lack of understanding of how, when, where and why the mobile device is being used.