Mobile App Design Mistakes to Avoid At All Costs

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Did you know that there are over six billion smartphone subscriptions in the world today? According to Statista, this number is slated to increase by several hundred million in the coming years. It is easy to estimate the power that mobile phones have in today’s world. Almost 60 per cent of online searches are done via mobile phones today as per the statistics by Hitwise. It is estimated that an average person spends nearly 4 hours per day on their mobile phones – a large portion of which is spent on mobile apps. All of these data point to one direction only – your user experience needs to be top-notch if you want users to visit and stay longer on your app or website.

Today users have become extremely sophisticated and impatient. They will not spend a second more on your app if it does not appeal to them. They like to have a good user experience that includes fast loading times, great designs and easy operability. Therefore, the success of your app and your business depends on how good a user experience you are able to offer.

Unfortunately, mobile app designers often put in elements in the UX that do not add value. How can you identify the pitfalls of mobile app design and work your process around them? Read on to know more about the common and potentially fatal mistakes that could kill the prospects of your mobile app.

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#1 Pitfall: Complicated Designs

Complicated Designs
One of the most common erroneous decisions that designers make is to not design a simplistic user interface. Adding extra buttons does not help the user as much it confuses them. Adding unnecessary elements to the design is one of the most common mobile app design mistakes. Therefore, do not complicate your user interface design by offering more information than what is absolutely necessary. Declutter your user interface by reducing on the number of buttons, text, images or icons that are taking too much of the screen space.

#2 Pitfall: Showing Everything At Once

Showing Everything At Once
Agreed that you have a phenomenal app that can change the way work is done today. And thus, you can’t wait for the users to see it all at once. That is where designers commit the second most common mistake. They show all their cards, or information for that matter at one go. They often forget that users need time to process information. It is for this reason, that information must be disclosed in a step by step manner. For example, if you are planning the design for a mobile app to book cabs, you can use multiple levels of interfaces to choose your cab, fare and payment mode. Now imagine if you had everything on one screen, how would your users feel? Trying to fit in all of the information in one screen is another common mobile app design mistake that can be easily avoided.

#3 Pitfall: Using Jargons

Using Jargons

Well, sure we like fancy words. But mostly we prefer functional words – basically words that are used in everyday language and are simple. Imagine that you have provided the option to ‘browse’ a list or catalogue. Now, instead of using the standard and more universally acceptable “browse” as the text, your designers choose a fancier term like ‘peruse’. How do you think that could pan out with your users? Well, for one, your users may find themselves confused since the term ‘browse’ is a very familiar term but ‘peruse’ is not. Your users will not like to wonder what ‘peruse’ would do and may just leave your app as soon as they encounter jargon that confuses them more than it impresses them.

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#4 Pitfall: Flashy Screens

Flashy Screens

Designers are constantly trying to outdo their competition. To create screens or UI designs that grab the attention of the users, designers often forget about the comfort level of their target audience. Many times they create screens that are flashy and confusing. For instance, screens for “What’s new” and “Search Results” are standard screens for mobile applications and are often almost the same everywhere. As the user is familiar with these screens, they do not have to relearn how to search for something or look at the results that are presented in a similar pattern across applications. Taking away this familiarity often makes them feel overwhelmed. Not using familiar screens is a classic mobile app design mistake. Therefore, when designing a UI for standard screens, avoid making them deviate in pattern and design.

#5 Pitfall: Asking for Unnecessary Inputs

Asking for Unnecessary Inputs

Another common mistake that designers often commit is asking for too much input for the user. Mobile screens are small and have no separate keyboards. It is cumbersome for users to input data through mobile screens. Users often leave the app if they see that they have to type in more data than they deem necessary. Therefore, UI/UX designers must make a conscious decision to ask users for data that is absolutely necessary. Also, the correct type of keyboard must be displayed when inputting data. For instance, if numbers are to be input, then the numeric keyboard must be displayed when clicking on that field. Asking for inputs is another major mobile app design mistake that plagues the UI/UX designer more often than not.

#6 Pitfall: Scrolling

Scrolling is an absolute no-no when it comes to mobile app design. Many designers fail to understand this and often create screens where users have to scroll down for information, data input or submission buttons. A good design for a mobile app screen is where the user can see and do everything at once without having to scroll down.

#7 Pitfall: Absence of the Back Button

Absence of the Back Button

As the user moves from one screen to another, he or she may find the need to go back to the previous screen. If the back button does not work properly, or is completely absent, the user will surely feel frustrated. And that’s the last thing you will want. Most designers do not include a back button on their UI design and that compromises on the navigation of the mobile app.

#8 Pitfall: Not Designing Accessible Interfaces

Not Designing Accessible Interfaces

Mobile app designers often skip accessibility checklists when designing mobile screens. Nearly 1 in 12 men suffer from color-blindness in the world. As designers do not anticipate such issues, they often overlook the accessibility parameters when choosing colors for their UI. For instance, color blind people are unable to make out red and green colors and they would not be able to read anything written in those colors properly. Designers, therefore need to keep in mind the accessibility checklist if they want to create good designs.

#9 Pitfall: Complicated Navigation

Complicated Navigation

Users do not like to get confused by the navigation of the mobile app. Designers often sacrifice on the ease of navigation when designing screens and concentrate more on features of the app. Users may feel dissatisfied if they are unable to go to the screen of their choice with one or two clicks. Again, users, should not feel lost when they are using your app and must know where they are at any point of time. Therefore, designers need to show which section of the app the user is currently in and how he or she can go to any other section easily. Not having a clean and simple navigation process is another classic mobile app design mistake that can have far-reaching effects.

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#10 Pitfall: Asking Permissions in the First Screen

Asking Permissions in the First Screen

According to a survey, users find it annoying when they are asked for permissions in the first screen itself. Although location permission may be required to show the relevant information, it is best to ask for it after the first screen loads. Users do not like to register themselves or reveal their information before checking out the mobile app. Again, permissions are often required but they should only be asked while doing a relevant task. For instance, your app may ask for permission to use the camera when taking photos form within the app. It would however, be a complete overhead if permissions are asked beforehand but the user does not require the service at all.


While aesthetics plays a crucial role in the success of a mobile app, it is the functionality that matters in the end. The UI/UX of a mobile app has to be in sync with the purpose that the mobile app serves. It needs to have a clear and concise navigation so that the user does not feel lost while using the mobile app. Accessibility for all users should be taken into account when designing the app. The UI/UX designers must therefore focus on developing functional mobile app interfaces that keep the users engaged by avoiding the common pitfalls.

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