Mobility has become one of the most important means of computing. Its pervasive nature allows users to stay connected and to collaborate from virtually anywhere. Smartphones have become mainstream and tablets are now breaking into the enterprise.
iPhone and iPad Design
At SMC, we've built a solid team of iphone app designers who work alongside our world-class iPhone developers. Throughout every step of the process – our app design team makes a concerted effort to consider usability, functionality, and aesthetics for every component of an iPhone app. This comes down to two things, understanding how your users interact with their smartphones and reflecting your brand faithfully.
iPads have the ability to recognize long-presses, swipes, pinching, and zooming. Conversely, they can't recognize right clicks, mouse hovering, and don't have overlapping windows. Therefore, designing iPad app software takes an entirely different skillset than that of PC or web design.
Optimization for large screen-sizes apart, SMC's iPad app design team specializes in creating connected app experiences, leveraging your businesses existing cloud and local systems, thereby mobilizing your business. By leveraging existing systems smartly, our app design team is also able to minimize the overall development times when building companion iPhone or Android apps to compliment your iPad app development.
Android App Design
However, with the large population of the Android smartphone and Android tablet population, there are few caveats to sound Android app design.
Android Screen Diversity: Android comes on smartphone sizes ranging from 3-6 inches in various screen resolutions and aspect ratios. Android app design that doesn't form fit to a user's device will create subpar user experiences.
Android Software Fragmentation: Android has multiple types of software iterations. Software from three years ago may not have proper memory management, software from two years ago may not have in-app purchases, and software from 1 year ago may not have integrated mobile payments. Strong Android app designers take this into consideration to make sure apps are useful across all software versions.
Android Hardware Variety: Unlike iPhones, there are many different types of Android hardware in the market. If not considered, this can lead to poor app performance if apps are not specifically designed to run on older, less powerful hardware, of which there are still hundreds of millions of devices.
Windows App Design
The Windows Phone design philosophy is exemplified by clean, uncluttered app screens that operate quickly, minimize typing, and surface new info automatically. Interactions happen directly with content, and visual elements have great fit and finish. You have the opportunity to use the phone for what it's best suited for — apps for the mobile lifestyle. The principles in this section will help you realize your unique contributions to the Windows Phone platform.
Metro Design Principles
Metro is the name of the design philosophy that goes into Windows Phone and into Windows 8. Much has been written about Metro, but I’d like to go over the Metro design principles briefly before I get into the actual process of designing an application.
Clean, Light, Open and Fast Applications should be easy to understand at a glance. They should be highly responsive to user input. They should have a clean, open look with lots of white space.
Celebrate Typography Words are common across all UI designs, and how they appear makes a difference. Type is beautiful. Not only is it pleasing to the eye, but it can also be functional. The right balance of weight and positioning can create a visual hierarchy. Moreover, well-placed type can direct users to more content.
Alive in Motion Motion is life, and motion brings Windows Phone to life. Live Tiles, transitions and response to user input tie everything together. Transitions are an important part of user experience design. A good transition gives the user clues about context in your application.
Content, Not Chrome Users are interested in content. Content should be elevated and everything else minimized. By removing as much chrome as possible, you bring the content into focus. This is particularly important on a small screen. The content is the UI and the user should be able to interact with it directly. The ability to resize an image using a pinch gesture is an example of this direct interaction.
Authentically Digital Design explicitly for hand-held devices that use touch, a high-resolution screen, and simplified forms of interaction. In other words, be “authentically digital.” Don’t try to simulate analog controls such as knobs.