Five Most Frequent iPhone Design Mistakes And How I Plan to Deal With Them

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.
If one thing I learnt from my design class last year  which were VA301 and VA302, it is that I have the excitement to over design. My teacher Elif Ayiter and Onur Yazicigil thought me to deal with this by re-designing my first draft over and over, simplifying and reducing elements one by one, to see if they are really needed or not. And since Literary Jukebox is minimalistic in it’s design I will follow the same color coordination with simple yet chic 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:

  1. Going against convention makes your application less intuitive. Over-styled controls look different and require users to re-learn how they work.
  2. 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.
The application will be unique in look but the controls used will be the standard IOS controls.
  • Neglecting technological limitations, such as slow Internet connection, slow processors and single-threaded OS architectures.
The application I plan to built my have some problems in this area, but in class today I will clear these clouds and come back to edit this topic.
  • Confusing navigation (flow, layout and taxonomy).
For this confusion I am now creating a flow chart, layout chart and content chart so all will be in constant revision as not to have any problems.
  • 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.
The application does not require much multi-touch gestures that would confuse the user. It now holds two specific interaction, tapping and double tapping. If any other is added I will note it down as well.
  • Disregard of context. A lack of understanding of how, when, where and why the mobile device is being used.
This phase is eliminated thanks to our proposals that we were required to write elaborately. I have already attached my proposal and it can be viewed in my previous posts.

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