Here are ten hot tips for those planning on creating a mobile app:
1. Take your prospective audience into account. In short, know who you're building the app for. How do you picture the users of your mobile app, and what do they want to see in an app?
2. Make sure your idea is unique before you build it. As great and unique as you figure your idea may be, always check the app stores prior to spending all that time, manpower and money on building it. It may already have been done!
3. Storyboard your idea. It's always a good idea to outlay your mobile app design concepts on paper first to weed out any incongruencies or design flaws, first.
4. Get potential app users into the design process. Sometimes a design team can be myopic about what it's creating. Getting some potential users of your app into the process by getting their feedback is a great way to make needed changes before full commitment.
5. Make your app user-friendly, of course! Adding clear user instructions along with graphic displays ensures users don't get confused.
6. Don't overwhelm your audience with graphics/animations. Using vector graphics in place of bitmaps and large graphic file sizes will decrease load time and give your users a better experience.
7. Properly space and size your buttons and icons. Always keep in mind users' fingertips and the space between buttons and icons. Users will reject using a mobile app that they cannot navigate due to bunched-up and too-small features.
8. Don't overwhelm users with features up-front. Translation: create a core application for only those most used or important features, and leave room for add-ons and plug-ins for users to augment the app as needed.
9. Postpone sign up in favor of a "like" or "heart". You will experience significant drop-off if you require an initial sign up and log in to use your new mobile app. Try offering it first through a trial use period, and let them get used to and "like" it before purchase.
10. Use color in effective branding ways. You have a broad color palette to choose from. Remember that it's not about your affinity for those hues, shades, tints, etc. It's about the emotional impact they have and what users associate with it in terms of your brand identity.
Other great tips for developing a mobile app include: Don't initiate wireframes or app designs without a flow map; do not blindly copy-over styles and designs from other apps; and don't assume your users will use your app the same way its designers do. And, most of all--have fun!