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What Makes a Visually Appealing App?

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With over 500,000 apps in the Apple Mac App Store and approximately 450,000 on Android, it’s important to create a strong visual interface that is simple, compelling and unique in order to stand out in the competitive market. It’s challenging to create the perfect app that appeals to all your users and clients.

Part of a UI/UX designer’s role is to evaluate existing apps.  As a designer, here is what I ask myself: 

  • Is the app intuitive and aesthetically pleasing?
  • Would I use this app for a second time?
  • How was the overall experience and was it memorable?
  • How was the navigation and was it fluid?
  • Is the user experience unique to specific mobile devices? 
  • Is there consistency in design elements?
  • Speed – How fast does it take to load? Transition?
  • Would you recommend this app to a friend?

Here are examples of apps with strong interface designs that capture the phones and fingers of many.

Scoutmob was created to “help our fellow citizens be better local explorers.” This playful app gives users a glimpse of discovering new places, things to do, and culinary goods in a specific city. The use of bold graphics (including cool mustaches) and great photos with illustrations overlayed gives users a taste of a city vibe. What’s even cooler, they threw in groupon deals and articles of current events. The sublties of navigation, such as small arrows and table views allows users manouver through the app successfully. (built with Appcelerator Titanium)

GetGlue has over 2 million users sharing entertainment through social media. Similar to many social apps out there, getGlue is memorable by using entertainment as the base to share things. Curiosity of what others are doing and watching is incentive to use that app again and again. What’s cool? You earn stickers based on checkins which has makes this app a model of gaming for social networks. Navigation is fluid and easy to follow which gives the user confidence with using the application again. (built with Appcelerator Titanium)

Path is and app that lets you share life with friends and family. Path is praised in the design world-and for good reason. It’s very simple and has grown to over 2 million users since November 2010. The memorable components to this application are the UI and navigation. The experience is guided by the user. You create your own path which is a great metaphor in what we all do in life. Its visual appeal of places, people and things that have crossed your path is a way to reflect where you have been and where you are going and who you have met along the way. The navigation broke the “average” way to flow through screens. Instead of having your typical nav bar at the bottom of the screen, Path created a big red button that animates in a spiral which has captured not only the users but designers as well.

Pinterest allows us to create inspirational moodboards virtually by pinning what we find in our everyday lives via web or mobile. They have over 10.4 million registered users creating and sharing boards. For being in the mobile space these days, it is a pleasant reminder that people can still find beauty in the daily grind. 

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