View all blog posts >

A UX guide for creating awesome apps

August 24, 2017

Consistency & Familiarity

How users feel when using your app is important. Consistency with the platform will ensure that users are familiar with how your app works.

Interaction Design

How users interact with your app should be consistent with how users interact with other apps so follow the platform guidelines. It helps users to immediately know how to interact with your app. Not following them will make your app hard to use it and trust me, that’s not good!

Two devices displaying the Human Interface Guidelines for iOS and Material Design Guidelines for Android.
Human Interface Guidelines for iOS and Material Design Guidelines for Android.
Information Design

Make sure to present information based on what you think is the best to get it across to your users. If you think that you should present your information in graphs, maps, lists, grids, photos etc then that’s exactly what you should do. But you should leverage what the platform provides for presenting information.

Devices displaying how the apps Duolingo, Overcast and Instagram all have different ways of presenting information.
Duolingo, Overcast and Instagram all have different ways of presenting information.

It’s important that you get your brand across to users so that your app is instantly recognisable. Do this by blending your visual identity with the OS design such as adding tint colours to buttons, labels and widgets.

Two devices displaying the Strava and Shazam apps.
Strava and Shazam do a good job in getting their visual identity across.


How your app simplifies the lives of your users is key to its success. You constantly hear the word simple when people are praising news apps, “It’s really simple to use” and especially when compared to it’s competitor’s. With that In mind I’ve a few little tips that will improve the simplicity of your app.

Don’t let them get lost

Users should know exactly where they’re in your app so that’s it’s easy to get back there the next time they use it. With this in mind you want your users to be able to discover content and share that content. They’re going to be able to do this a lot easier if you make navigating your app simple for them.

Devices displaying the DoneDeal mobile apps.
We provided quick ways of finding features on DoneDeal.
Do the heavy lifting

Instead of getting users to do most of the work, your app should do it so that novices will be able to do tasks that they never dreamed of. Also don’t ask the user for information that you can gather without pestering the user. An example is instead of asking them for their currency, pick one based on their location.

Make decisions

There is a time and place for displaying confirmation dialogs. Every user action does not need one, so it’s acceptable to make some decisions for your users but allow them to revert the decision.

A device displaying the DoneDeal app and how users can delete their ads instantly but we provided an undo option.
In the DoneDeal app, users can delete their ads instantly but we provided an undo option.
Keep it brief

Making your app content as readable and digestible as possible is a must. Make sure to use short sentences, don’t use industry jargon and speak in same language as your users. By writing clear and short text you’ll ensure that all your messages are brief which in return will make it easier for the user to understand them.

Provide help

Provide your users with help when they need it. This might mean providing tips or hints when they first interact with a certain part of your app or having a dedicated help section. Make sure you keep it up to date and accessible when the user is offline, chances are that’s when they’ll need it the most.

Devices displaying how Facebook, Amazon and Bear all provide different ways of accessing help pages.
Facebook, Amazon and Bear all provide different ways of accessing help pages.


Chances are they’re many similar apps to your one. So you’ll need to encourage users to pick your app over a competitors one. Here’s a few way’s to ensure that you encourage instead of frustrate users and keep them using your app.

Permissions are scary

If your app requires permissions then make sure you ask users at the right time. Not doing this will frightening them with a barrage of permissions. So only ask them for permissions when they’re needed.

Two devices showing one with a scary list of permissions and the other with a nicer way of asking for them.
A scary list of permissions and a nicer way of asking for them.
Don’t block users

Too many apps ask users to sign up to the app before they can try it out. This will put off new users who are still unsure of whether your app is right for them. Remove blockers by letting users use the basic functionality of your app without needing to sign up or log in.

The Medium app and the Etsy app.
Medium blocks users till they sign up and Etsy encourage users to sign in.
It should always work

Designing around how your app will respond when things go wrong will result in a better user experience. The app should be able to handle when the user has no internet or when an error occurs. Try to ensure that your “app just works”.

An app not responding.
The app should always work.

Never spam your users

How might I do this you ask? Push notifications! When done right they add a pleasant experience that keeps bringing users back into your app. But when done wrong it will drive users to uninstall your app. Make sure that any push notifications you send to users are both useful and valuable.

A device getting spammed by notifications.
Try to remove bloat

More features in your app doesn’t mean more value but it can increase complexity. Generally, the best apps don’t have the most features but have excellent core features.

Respond to user feedback

Be honest with users and always respond to user feedback if possible. For the DoneDeal app we made sure to respond to all feedback — good and bad — within a few days. It’s not good a user experience if you only respond to positive feedback and ignore the negative ones.


Some of the best apps and games enchant users, they do that hocus-pocus stuff that makes the user say “WOW!” when using the app. The following are essential to enchanting users.

Make it fast

It’s best to let the user know why they’re waiting. Sometimes you can mask slowness in your app, Expedia in particular did a fantastic job of this in their app. Searching for a flight they mask the load time with an interactive flight window which takes the users attention away from the app loading.

It should be fun 😀

You want your users to keep coming back to your app and for them to enjoy using it. It shouldn’t be chore for them but rather it should be fun. There are plenty of way’s you can add fun elements into even the most bleak or boring part of your app. Ask yourself is there a way you can make the user smile or how can you present a sense of your humour to the user.

An app displaying a "No internet connection" message
This app makes error screens enjoyable.
Attention to detail

When developing it’s easy to say “no one will notice that” or “it’s not that important” so you put it off to doing it till later. Generally, it means you’ll never do it because something more important will jump in the way. Don’t do this, it’s important to show an attention to detail when developing an app because it shows that you care. It distinguishes you from the competition and your app will look all the better for it.

Animations & Gestures

The things that bring your app to life. Providing users with that “WOW” moment.


Should be subtle yet noticeable as well as being both purposeful and informative. They can make your app look very polished and have that wow factor. A warning for having animations in your app is that poor implementation will make your app look crap.

An app with a nice loading animation.

They reward users who like to discover things in your app and speed up tasks for your power users. They shouldn’t overtake actions but enhance usability so provide another way of performing the same action — for your less savvy users.

Examples of two apps that provide gestures for shortcuts.
Google Inbox and Spotify provide useful gestures.

Finally don’t be afraid to mess up. It happens, we’ve all done it at some stage so be brave and if you do mess up, learn from it!

Want to get in touch?
Even just to say hi 👋

Fill in the form below, and I'll get back to you within 24 hours.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.