Why Graphics are Important in Application Development
Imagine opening a newly downloaded app and seeing a hastily put-together UI, a basic logo, a simple home screen, hard to read buttons, and no visual cues. You have to think about which path to follow.
On the other hand, you open an app with dazzling motion graphics, a striking colour palette, a beautifully designed home screen, an intuitive layout, and easy to follow commands with a minimal learning curve.
How would you feel about each app? Which app would you stick to? Which app are you more likely to recommend to your friends?
Ever wondered why users choose to download some apps over others that offer the same features and functionality? From a users’ perspective, the first reason has to be a great design.
Customers usually form an opinion about your app within the first few seconds, and compelling graphics allow you to make a great first impression and persuade people to download your app. This is because the first thing users usually notice is the graphical presentation of a mobile application.
So, the more eye-grabbing and aesthetically pleasant your app, the more eye-balls it will attract.
Terrific visuals make a user feel more comfortable with an app, which boosts engagement. Let’s explore why graphics are an integral part of application development.
Attract More Customers
People who say looks don’t matter will probably never download an app with below-par graphics. So, you may frown upon “beauty is only skin deep”, but you have to admit that presentable looks can help people forge a positive impression about anything, including mobile apps.
This means that you have to focus on the graphical design of your app to attract potential customers. If you succeed in developing a mobile app with great visuals, an eye-grabbing theme, popping imagery, an easy-to-follow layout with white open spaces, and intuitive navigation.
In that case, you will attract the users’ attention from the first go. Aesthetically pleasing, professionally designed graphics that resonate with users will help them stay in your mobile app as long as possible.
Well-thought-out graphics not only compel users to download an app themselves but also recommend it to others.
The ASOS shopping app features high-quality imagery with multi-coloured graphic elements against a white background, with the search bar, category navigation and menu items popping out.
The clutter-free, minimalistic graphics make the app highly user-friendly and engaging, ensuring that users can easily find an item they wish to buy, instead of getting distracted by clutter and an overwhelming layout.
Stand out Amongst Competitors
With thousands of apps available on the Play Store and Apple store, with many similar to yours, it’s a cut-throat arena. Even if your app idea isn’t unique, aesthetic graphics may be the key to drawing attention and making your presence felt in the market.
Users will inevitably gravitate towards a customer-oriented, user-friendly option with a unique presence and grabbing visuals when presented with similar apps.
Great graphics stick in the minds of decision-makers long after they have interacted with a brand and can influence their choices.
For instance, even though there are hundreds of apps touting to help you better understand your spending habits, a new app, ‘joy’, is creating quite the hype.
The smooth onboarding process and an appealing modern and fresh design aesthetic make the app truly a joy to use. A bright colour palette and large, bold typography and conversational interface make the app cheerful and upbeat compared to the dull financial apps we are accustomed to.
Offer Intuitive Functionality
Another important reason to highlight the role of graphics in mobile application development is to ensure your app delivers an intuitive user interface.
Remember that users seek a painless experience from brands. For instance, you want to make sure all the CTAs are conspicuous, stand out against the background, and are in places where you would intuitively reach for them.
This means that you want to simplify your users' navigation from the homepage to perform their desired actions in the least number of steps.
Remember that a decent UI and hassle-free user experience earn you a loyal customer base. In turn, satisfied users spread the word about your brand.
For instance, the “Let’s Fly” app is the classic definition of a no-nonsense, to-the-point, purpose-centred app that is oriented toward helping users find the most affordable flights to their desired destinations quickly and easily.
The app follows simple, easy-to-follow navigation that lets the users get down to business without getting sidetracked. While maintaining simplicity, efficiency, and functionality helps the app solve the users’ pain points quickly, colours and visuals break the monotony without taking away the focus from the task at hand.
Cement your App Content
A picture is worth a thousand words. Where words fail, great visuals pick up. Whatever message you are trying to portray to your customers, aesthetic visuals summarise these ideas in a way that’s more relatable and easier to understand. Today's users may not have the time to read lengthy texts to convince them to purchase your product or use your app, but one compelling graphic will leave them hooked.
See how Vine stands out in the market by letting graphics take centre stage. Vine is a popular app for people wishing to record and share creative, memorable or humorous moments.
However, apart from its unique idea and stellar functionality, the app incorporates striking visual elements, such as adorable, functional icons for commenting, re-vining and liking individual posts, and beautifully designed illustrations punctuating content throughout the app.
Similarly, the Nice Weather app has become a popular go-to weather app for checking the temperature, wind speed and rainfall.
The minimal weather app uses simple visual elements crafted with white lines against a solid background to communicate all the information that you need to plan the day in a momentary glance.
Convey A Sense of Professionalism
We cannot stress enough how great graphics affect the decision-making process. Ugly ducklings are ignored, no matter how well they deliver on the functional promises. Apps incorporating well-designed, high-quality graphics are perceived to be more trustworthy and high-functioning.
Graphics portray a sense of professionalism and authority that paves the path to the user’s heart. Research shows that most users are excited to use a well-designed app, more forgiving with bugs, and willing to spend more time learning its functionality.
Not to mention, great visuals make the content look more engaging and navigation less complicated, which results in a bevvy of satisfied customers.
Keeping tabs on your weekly expenses can be quite a drag, but look at how the fantastic app ‘Expense Manager’ helps you manage finances with great visuals.
The app leverages clearly defined colours to categorise your expenses and gives you an overview of your daily expenditures via pie charts and other easy-to-understand graphical representations. The gorgeous use of colours and graphics lends a highly professional appeal to the app.
Tips to Pull Off an Exceptional Mobile App Design
Keep Text Legible and Conspicuous
All the text on your mobile app should be two things: readable and legible. If users cannot make out the text or even find it in the first place, there is no point in including any in the first place.
As a rule of thumb, aim for a font size above 16px and always use a clear, easy-to-read font type. Also, it is crucial to ensure ample contrast between the font and the background to make the text pop out. Light grey text against a white background may look classy, but users will have a field day deciphering your message. You can add accent colours to certain text parts to divert users' attention to it and help them retain the information presented.
Also, aim for 30 to 40 characters per line and ensure plenty of space between lines of text. Make sure users don’t have to pinch or zoom to read the text, as it would ruin the user experience.
Use HD-Quality images
This one is a no-brainer, but make sure you only use the highest-quality images so they don’t appear pixelated on HD screens. Another factor to be mindful of is that your images appear in the perfect aspect ratio: neither stretched too broad nor too long.
Distorted images are highly unappealing. Also, image format counts. Instead of .gif, use .png as your preferred format since it gives you greater colour depth.
Furthermore, you should optimise your images and other graphics for fast loading speeds. Remember that most users do not have 4G, unlimited data plans, or access to fast coverage. This is why it is good design practice to keep all files small and compressed for ease of download.
Not to mention, files over 50 MB cannot be downloaded over 4G and need WIFI access. This situation is highly unfeasible for on-the-go apps usually run over 4G. A lag-free workflow will highly boost the experience for your users.
Establish Hierarchy with colours
Using shades of the same colour establishes a sense of hierarchy, which intuitively moves your user along the path to accomplishing their goal or even denotes purpose. For instance, if one button is black, the next dark grey, and the third light grey, it shows that button 1 is the most important or denotes the first step, button 2 comes next, and button 3 comes last.
Similarly, colour associations can help you gently push users to take the action that you want or the most popular option available. For instance, when presented with a red and green button, most users click on the green button by default and avoid the red one without even reading the text.
Also, ensure high contrast in buttons to make them pop out against the background.
Repeat Design elements throughout the App
Design elements can easily be repeated throughout your app. Start with defining the graphics elements and colour palette for your home screen, and then carry those visual cues through the rest of your app.
If one of the ‘next’ buttons is the colour orange, then all following buttons on the app should follow the same palette. If one CTA button has rounded edges, all the CTAs on your app should have rounded edges. If one screen has 10 px padding on all sides, all screens need to ensure the same. This eases the learning app and makes the app feel intuitive.
For instance, the eOxegen app is filled with carefree, likeable illustrated characters that appear at every crucial point of navigation and user journey and assist users in fulfilling their required actions.
Rounded fonts and flashy accent colours, and the use of colour to separate text modules are replicated throughout the app for a lighthearted, warm look. Design-wise, we see plenty of consistency throughout the app’s pages.
Make sure your Graphics are Flexible.
Make sure your graphic elements are fluid enough to allow for rotating screens. Remember that mobile screens can rotate; unlike desktops, users can view screens in either the landscape or the portrait mode.
A fluid design looks good no matter which way it is viewed. Most graphic designers create separate versions of graphical elements for both the portrait and landscape view to ensuring they look good in every orientation.
Don’t go overboard with graphics.
While graphics can significantly enhance the look and feel of your app, make sure that all the components in your app should be relevant and do not distract the user from the intended purpose.
A UI with too many colours, images, fonts and menus will be hard to navigate and lead to a sensory overload. UI should be intuitive and straightforward and allow the user to perform the necessary task accurately. Whenever you need to add graphics, make sure they contribute to the intent and make it easier for the user to use the app.