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Building a mobile app can be a very beneficial and profitable endeavor. This has always been the case, but it’s true especially now as the popularity of apps keeps growing. According to current trends, by 2022, annual mobile app downloads are projected to reach 258 billion.

If you decided to create your own mobile app, you can’t go charging into the project without considering how you’re going to approach certain elements. There are many different things that go into mobile app development and it isn’t easy to create the perfect application.

To do that, you need to know how to create an app. Below are listed the most important dos and don’ts of creating one.

The dos of building an app

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Let’s start off with everything you need to take into consideration when you’re in the process of building your app.

Always have the user in mind

Before you start developing your app, think about who will be using it. Take into consideration what the user will need from your app, their points and intentions, and on which device they will be using it. Put yourself in their shoes to create an app that puts user experience first.

Build simple navigation

Nobody wants to use an app that’s hard to navigate through. The navigation on your app needs to be as simple and minimal as possible and also very intuitive. Users need to have good control of your app and know exactly which steps they need to take to achieve their end goal.

The best thing to do for navigation is to use the style your users are already familiar with. For IOS users, you should use the tab bar and for Android users the navigation drawer. A clear hierarchy of screen flow needs to be established by different priority levels for each option and task.

Finally, make sure to include an error message that will pop up when something goes wrong that will explain to the users what the issue is and how they can resolve it.

Think about accessibility

Most mobile app developers only take people with good vision into consideration when they’re creating their apps. This means that they fail to create an app that can also be used by people who suffer from low vision or are color-blind, which makes their app somewhat inaccessible.

If you want to think about accessibility and make sure your app can be used by everyone, you need to think about three things: readability, high contrast, and conciseness.

Another important thing you need to consider is whether your users will be able to click all of the buttons in your app with their thumbs and fingers. A good touch target size is at least 10mm x 10mm and it will leave enough space between your navigation items and buttons.

Research your competitors

The immense popularity of apps can be a double-edged sword for app developers. While the chances of your app succeeding are high if your app is well-built, it can still fail if you don’t take your competition into consideration.

The number of downloadable apps on the Apple App store is 2.2 million and on Google Play it’s 2.8 million, which means there are a lot of apps for users to choose from. If you want your app to be noticed, you need to research your competitors who have released similar ones.

Look at the reviews of those apps and see what the users say about them. Take into consideration which aspects of the app they liked and which ones they thought need improving. This way, you can build an app that’s much more appealing to users.

The don’ts of building an app

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There are some minor and major mistakes you can make that will ultimately cause your app to fail. Here are all the don’ts of mobile app development.

Designing based just on trends

One of the worst things you can do as an app developer is to create an app that is based only on what’s trending at the moment. Trends come and go and even if your app finds success at first, as soon as the trend fades, users will become bored with your app and uninstall it.

If you try to keep up with the trends, you will have to end up re-designing your app once every few months to keep up with what’s popular at the moment. This is both expensive and time-consuming, so the best thing to do is stick to an evergreen design you can update every few years.

Avoid building an overly-complex app

Complexity is never a good thing in app development, especially if you’re creating your first app and need to make a good first impression on the market. If that’s the case, you need to follow these important tips for building your first app.

Your main goal should be to structure an app in a way that’s easy for anyone to use and access without any difficulties or confusion.

Including too much or unnecessary content

The saying “content is king” is true in many regards, but the content you include in your app needs to be well thought out. Consider what content is absolutely necessary so your app can function well and the users can understand it easily.

There’s no need to throw more content at your users than necessary, only give them what they can handle.

Including too many transitions

Transitions can be a good thing if they’re done properly. However, a mistake that many app developers make is that they misuse their transitions and prioritize visual appeal over clarity. Don’t overdo your transitions, as this can hurt your app’s user interactions.

Being impatient

Creating a mobile app is a lengthy process that requires a lot of work and research in its initial discovery phase. This phase usually takes longer than you would want it to, but the most important thing to remember is that you should never get impatient and try to rush things.

Perfection takes a lot of time to achieve and unless you want your app to seem unprofessional and low-quality, you need to have enough patience for every step of the way. It may take a long time, but you can be sure that the end result will be worth all that time and effort.

Final thoughts

Creating a mobile app isn’t an exact science. All developers think differently and every app that is created is unique in one way or another.

However, there are certain things you should always keep in mind when you’re in the process of developing the app and those are the dos and don’ts you just learned about. As long as you follow all the advice listed above, you will avoid making common mistakes and implement the right features.

About the Author

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Mirko Humbert

Mirko Humbert is the editor-in-chief and main author of Designer Daily and Typography Daily. He is also a graphic designer and the founder of WP Expert.