With the success of Apple’s coveted iPhone, there has been a plethora of iPhone apps. The appeal is obvious, as not only making a good one can be quite lucrative, it can also give you a lot of kudos in the industry.
This is all well and fine, but many iPhone apps neglected the practical need of iPhone Apps users, resulting in the menu system lacking intuitiveness , and subsequently poor navigation followed. So if you’re thinking about designing an app for iPhone take into consideration these points.
Golden rule – Apps that offer something of value to people, will be something that can be done on the move. So an app that requires in-depth knowledge or a complex array of options may not be suited to an iPhone app format. So when in the design stages, ask yourself if this app can be something that be used on the move. If the answer is no, it’s time to think again.
The Purpose – What is the purpose of the app? There are many apps which do have a purpose that makes someone day that bit better. It allows them to stay in tune with their favourite website, such as Facebook, or offer an interesting read on the go. They have a specific purpose and execute their tasks well.
The user– As with web design, the user has to be the primary concern when designing the App. Once you have adhered to the golden rule, decided on the purpose of the app, then this is the next step. If the app is aimed at the business person, then the app has to be something that can be done on a subway train, or in-between meetings. If the app is media related, or a game, then you could be aiming for a completely different kind of user, who has a bit more space to play around with the phone.
Navigation – Arguably, this is more important on an iPhone app than on your PC. Many of the early apps just clunked along and did not seem to have a natural flow or intuitive direction about them. This really let the apps down, as this made them impractical. Remember when designing the navigation it has to be simple and have a natural flow. It has to be intuitive. Users are not going to want to look through help files when out and about. A user should be able to workout all the features of the app, more or less straight away. It has to be obvious and stylish. There is no substitute for this.
Appearance – Like anything connected to web 2.0 the appearance has to be stylish. That is not so hard to do, but building in the functionality on top of that can be a bit of a challenge to say the least. As mentioned before, the navigation of the app has to be obvious, so bringing in all these elements may seem a little over whelming at first. The best way to approach the app development is to stick with familiarity. Large buttons and menus that move from side to side, mimic the menus from Apple. This means that users will not have to learn a new menu system, as it is familiar from their use with Apple products such as the iPhone.
The iPhone is many peoples pride and joy, so designing a good, useful app for it, not only earns kudos, but can offer everything good web design should be : a challenge, rewarding, and in some cases fun. It is important however that you adhere to these rules as this will make your app useable by the iPhone user.