1. Not keeping it simple

Smartphones and tablets are new to consumers and most people are still getting used to them. What’s more, they pose a restriction in terms of screen space, processing speed, available memory, resolution, and many other resources that are abundantly available in a PC. All these factors point to the most important principle when designing for a mobile device – keep it simple! Every aspect of your application should be simple to understand and simple to use. Users should not have to think hard about how to execute a particular task or how to access some feature. The purpose of the app or website should be clear and it should be made as easy as possible to achieve that purpose.


In this app by Bloomberg, the text field is difficult to recognize


Standard text fields are much simpler to implement and to recognize

  1. Losing focus of who the user is

Most apps or websites provide a service targeted at a particular set of users. This user segmentation could be on the basis of their age, geography, preferences, profession, or any other factors. No matter how broad the customer segment is that you are targeting, it is extremely important to keep in mind what their likes and dislikes are, and how they are expected to use the app.

Here’s a perfect example to illustrate this point. Say, you are building an app for stock traders, allowing them to easily access the latest stock quotes. The last thing you want in this app is lots of images. The user wants information as fast as possible and wants to take a quick decision on his trade. There’s no need to overload him with images or fancy graphics. As long as you are able to provide a real time quote in a clear manner, the user will be happy.


Voice memos are often used by people while driving. Apple voice memo has a very small button for
recording and pausing in the corner, making it difficult for drivers to press it.


iTalk has a big green button that is very easy to press for drivers

  1. Taking too long to load

Whether you are designing a regular website or a mobile app, keep in mind that users just hate waiting. It’s even worse on a smartphone, because people don’t usually multitask on a phone. This means if your app or site takes too long to load, users will simply close it and move on to something else. And don’t forget, you will be extremely lucky if that user gives your app/site another chance. A positive first impression may not hook the user to your app, but a negative first impression will almost always make sure that the user will never use your app again.

  1. Not differentiating between necessary, desirable and avoidable components

Many people tend to stuff their app/site with so many features that (a) the really important features et buried in the clutter; and (b) the user ends up being confused. That is why, even before you begin to give shape to your app, make sure that you divide all the potential components in three categories: necessary, desirable and avoidable. Include all the necessary components and throw out all the avoidable ones.

The desirable ones are tricky. You need to debate with your business associates on the importance of these components. Be very selective about which ones to include. When it comes to mobile applications, it is always safer to err on the side of simplicity.


This app called Grades has a bar at the bottom, which is not really necessary

  1. Failing to use the inbuilt features of the phone, like access to user location

Smartphone manufacturers and OS developers are already doing a great job of offering many important features in the devices. It makes perfect sense to use these features to enhance the functionality of your application and improve the user experience.

For example, if your app helps people find out local restaurants and pubs, then why not use the phone’s inbuilt GPS and make default suggestions based on the user’s current location? Similarly, you can use the phone’s accelerometer, camera, voice controls, calling function, and much more.


This Motion X GPS app implements a new ON and OFF feature, taking a lot more space