So here’s the scoop: you’ve just had the next great idea for an Apple app and you want to get it into the hands of customers quickly and easily. If you want to design a new app for the Apple store, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, you’ll need to find a developer who understands the direction your app is going. Is it business-facing, focusing on uses for business and enterprise, or is it consumer-facing, offering options directly to those who buy and use the app? A good app developer will know how to help develop your app based on the direction you’d like to take it.
Next, you’ll want to choose the best platform for your app. While Android is slowly catching up, Apple and their iOS platform still dominate the mobile app world. According to the Gartner Technology Research Group, Apple sales continue to set revenue benchmarks and will continue to climb in the mobile app marketplace. The bottom line is this: if you’re going to make an app that will appeal to businesses and their clients, iOS is the way to go.
Now that you know your target market and your platform, here is everything else you need to know while conceptualizing interfaces for iOS. While the focus of this article is only on Apple apps, a great deal of this advice translates directly to other mobile platforms, as well.
The first step is to Understand Your Medium. This may seem abundantly obvious, but designing apps instead of websites actually represents a huge shift in mindsets and an entirely different design paradigm. Apps aren’t websites and shouldn’t be designed like them, either. Consider that apps have a completely different user interaction model from websites: taps vs. clicks, views vs. pages, buttons vs. links, etc. Discussing app design using the right language will help you keep the right frame of mind.
In addition to a different UI, apps should have different modalities. Never overload the user with too much in one view, and always separate different functionality into different views. This is even more important on the iPhone than on the iPad, since screen space is limited. Navigation is very different on iOS – there is no chrome browser or Back button. Since iOS launched, many navigation conventions have emerged; which one is right for your app depends on the specific needs of your eventual buyer or client.
You’ll also want to make sure that you Design Universally. The best applications are those that work on Retina screens and non-Retina screens; they work on tall screens and short screens; they work on iPads and iPhones and iPod touches. Remember that users aren’t using your app in a web browser and they also aren’t using a mouse. Instead, all interactions with your app are made with a finger, so be sure to customize all your functionality to this one tool.
The last and perhaps most important piece of advice is to Involve Developers Early, which is why we mentioned this step way back at the start of the article. The best apps are made when developers are involved early in the design process, and when designers stay involved late in the development process. Collaboration between designers and developers will lead to some great work. Find a mobile app developer that is used to working in key markets, such as media, enterprise, mobile payments, retail, and QSR. Canada’s Clearbridge Mobile is an app developer with loads of experience (they are a member of the Apple Developer Program and have designed over 200 million mobile apps that have been downloaded over 20 million times).
Clearbridge Mobile has worked with a number of premium clients, including Fortune 500 companies like The New York Times, Bravo, Tim Hortons, PayPal, and Disney. A company that is familiar with iBeacon, EMV, gift card integration, store locators, and mobile ordering systems can help you develop the next integral business-facing app. Check out the Clearbridge Mobile Blog to see more ways that this forward-thinking company can help you stay ahead of the mobile app trends. Partner up with a professional, expert development team, and your app will be competitive in no time.