Author:

Alex (@akomarov) is a Russian designer located in Melbourne, Australia. He runs a nimble mobile UX/UI studio, www.komarov.mobi, that helps clients create exciting experiences for innovative mobile products.

iPhone App Designs Reviewed: Critique Board and Lessons Learned

Some time ago I started a mobile app design review section on our company's website. The idea behind this "Crit Board" was simple: if mobile developers want to create apps that people want to buy, they'll need help with design and usability. But most of the time they can't afford it. On our Crit Board, developers can send us their mobile apps (iPhone apps, Android apps, Blackberry apps) along with questions and problems, and we (free of charge) will pick apart key usability issues, illustrate our design recommendations and post our findings.

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The only condition to get free criticism from us is that you agree for it to be made public, which is why I am able to share several case studies with Smashing's readers right now. It's hard to imagine something more relevant: these are real problems facing real developers. I hope these problems and the proposed solutions will benefit others who have similar issues and will be generally relevant to those working in the field.

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iPhone Apps Design Mistakes: Disregard Of Context

The iPhone will always be part of a much bigger picture. How well you address human and environmental factors will greatly determine the success of your product. All too often, iPhone developers create products in isolation from their customers. In order to create really appealing applications, developers must stop focusing only on the mechanisms of the apps. Zoom out: understand the person using the application, as well as the complex environmental factors surrounding that person.

To better understand the context of these design challenges, we’ll highlight several levels of human and environmental factors. We start with level 1: the app itself. This is how many developers view their apps. As a developer, you have a vision of what your product should look like and why customers will turn their attention to it. However, if you observe your product so closely, you may put it in the wrong context and design it for the wrong purposes and for the wrong users. This is why you need to zoom out.

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iPhone Apps Design Mistakes: Over-Blown Visuals

The development of iPhone applications has recently become a hot topic in the design community; everybody tries to come up with some creative idea, port it into a stylish iPhone-alike application and sell it to thousands of users through the iPhone app store. However, many of these applications are poorly designed and therefore miss the chance of providing users with a truly useful product that users would find worth recommending to friends and colleagues.

Overdesigned iPhone app example

We want to take a closer look at the design of iPhone applications and showcase some good and bad examples, best practices as well as useful ideas and recommendations for your next iPhone app design. This article is a first post of a new series related to the design of iPhone applications. Please let us know if you are interested in the follow-ups to this article in the poll and in the comments below. How should it look like? What should we improve? Please also feel free to suggest more iPhone app design mistakes in the comments to this post!

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