I still find it amazing in this day and age at how many people overlook design in things where a design can make or break something. Apps has become one of those places.
The first time I ever used an app and understood what one was, was on the Nokia N95 (remember that beast and brick of a phone?). Symbian was where I truly discovered apps and realised how useful they were. Since then, apps have evolved massively, with Android and iOS just rocketing them into the mainstream market.
I know many of you reading this are “geeks” and “nerds” you could say. We love apps and use them more than the “average consumer’ you could say. We understand how design in apps can have a massive impact on how well that app does. Just head over to either the Android Play Store or the iOS App Store and look at the top apps for both paid and free. The ones that consistently (notice how I’m using the word consistently) stay in the top 100 are well designed apps. Sure there are some not so well designed apps in the top apps section, but most have been designed with UX and UI playing a huge role.
DoubleTwist’s Alarm Clock is simply as the name states, an alarm clock. But this alarm clock is in the top 150 paid apps section of the Play Store. There is no other alarm clock of any kind at all except from that one in the top 150. Also it isn’t cheap, it’s £1.99, actually quite expensive.
Now sure there are thousands of alarm clocks which may do the same job, but DoubleTwist’s Alarm Clock does it better. It’s not about creating a whole new revolutionary type of alarm clock apps, it’s simply about doing it better than everyone else. It’s just how Apple did it. They never came up with any original and revolutionary product, they simply did their products better than everyone else, and they did it first (OK now I bet there’s going to be a comment saying I’m all wrong).
The point I’m trying to get at here is about doing it better. The designer behind DoubleTwist has a whole article on how he designed the Alarm Clock, check it out here, it’s a must read.
And he even states himself that designed apps on Android is hard, simple as that. He goes through how because there are hundreds of Android devices, all with different screens, it’s practically impossible to get the look he wanted on all devices. So he’s had to make compromises and had to simply accept that on some devices it just won’t look “amazing”. He states how Samsung’s AMOLED screens are one of the worst at reproducing colours and are becoming worse.
Design is one of the biggest and most important factors of apps which most people overlook, that’s why so few apps actually become successful. The UX and UI have to be considered from the beginning. People oversee design and think they can simply do it themselves or have this mentality of “oh that’ll do”.
Next time you download an app, watch how you subconsciously overlook apps which have crap icons.