6 App Design Tips from Experienced App Designers

Duolingo app icon
Photo via Flickr / Cristiano Betta
Photo via Flickr / Cristiano Betta

A great app is one people want to use over and over again. And great apps all have one thing in common – a well-executed design appropriate for the platform and use. Sometimes it takes a few bad experiences (AKA zero-to-no amount of downloads) to get the hang of user experience in mobile devices, but sometimes it’s much easier to learn from other developers’ experiences.

Here are six expert app design tips to satisfy clients and keep users coming back.

1) Pixel Perfect Design

In an app, every detail matters. A good design makes every pixel count. For example, this desktop icon for the app DuoLingo does a great job of making their white seem brighter by adding the tiny white “reflection” on the icon’s eye.


Experienced app designers say: Don’t skimp on details because of the small size. The small size is a reason to pay even more attention. Create mock-ups of desktop icons on a desktop to see if they stand out.

2) Typography

Choose every font with great care and consideration for a great user experience. Take your time and figure out the perfect separations between titles, subtitles and content with bold, italic, and colors. And most importantly – sizes.

Experienced app designers say: Your clients may choose the font, but it’s up to you to make it look great. Impress your clients by providing a few different samples, featuring different leading and kerning/tracking. Sometimes when text “doesn’t look right” it’s not the font itself, rather it’s the manipulation of the font. Since you have less space in an app, tiny adjustments can make a huge difference.

3) A mobile app is not a website

Mobile app UI/UX has to be with the right approach, using mobile elements and gestures. There are standard sizes for clickable buttons and generally acceptable ways of doing things.

Experienced app designers say: You don’t need to rewrite the way of making apps. Reproducing the way an iPhone or Android works naturally makes apps easier to use. Users are accustomed in interacting with apps like calendar, phone, browsers, and e-mail. Using the standard features is perfectly fine and preferable in many cases. Check out Apple’s UI or Android’s UI for specific examples.

4) Design for different platforms

Remember that iPhone experience is different than Android, not just in look, but also function.

Experienced app designers say: Improve your marketability and skills by learning Android design principles and iOS design principles.

5) Navigation

How to navigate should be easy to understand from within the app. Take examples from Apple and Google in how to do your navigation. Navigating an app can be aesthetically pleasing, but not at the expense of functionality and intuitiveness.

Experienced app designers say: If you’re new to designing for apps, go for a personalized version of generally accepted navigation principles. Navigation is one of the most important features of an app and is not a place to try unconventional methods.

6) Color scheme and contrast

Choosing a color scheme is one of the more creative aspects of app design. Contrast and color schemes should be fun, beautiful, and contribute to the overall ease of using the app.

Experienced app designers say: Don’t use too many colors, particularly when designing an icon and theme. Find out usage scenarios to help guide your color scheme and contrast choices or look at templates and stencils aimed at improving design.


You can design an amazing app by following these design tips from experienced app designers. Help your clients build beautiful, functional, and fun to use apps by not only taking our tips, but by also using the resources Google and Apple provide.