10 Best Practices for Mobile UX Design in 2021

Learn the best practices and trends of mobile UX design in 2021.

Product design
April 19, 2021

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Mobile design and web design are two sides of the same coin. They have a lot in common; they have even more differences.

Nowadays, it’s not enough to slightly adapt website design for mobile. Users set a high bar to the websites they are interacting with or apps they are using on their mobile devices.

Designing user experience for a mobile device requires special knowledge and understanding of user expectations.

At the end of 2021, Statista states that around 50% of website traffic worldwide came from mobile devices. The number of smartphone users will reach 4.3 billion in 2023, showing steady growth in the following years. You cannot ignore the need to know the best practices of mobile UX design.

This article will be useful for designers who want to learn more about mobile UX design and for companies looking for providers of UX design services.

Let’s review some of the best mobile UX practices in 2021.

Design for everyone

Accessibility is one of the most important principles of mobile UX design. There are a number of different ways how users can interact with their smartphones and how they hold them.

For example, they can hold their smartphone in the left or right hand or hold it with both hands. Thus, you need to design the layout of the most important interface elements to be visible and accessible during all possible ways of interacting with a smartphone.

Avoid placing buttons and other elements in the lower corners and at the very top of the screen since these places are the hardest to reach.

Image credit: Pixabay

Remember about readability

Mobile devices have a limited screen estate. Companies that provide mobile or web development services should keep this in mind during the design stage

You cannot stuff the interface with all the information from a desktop version of your website or application. When it comes to mobile UX design, minimalism is always a good idea. Minimize navigation options, menus and sub-menus, and eliminate elements that don’t bring any value.

This way, you will be able to create a user-friendly and clutter-free interface that won’t distract users from the goals they're pursuing when using your application.

Design screens to be short

You might be tempted to provide some additional information on a screen. It won’t harm anyone, right?

On the contrary, web users spend 80% of the time looking at information above the fold, mentioned by NNgroup. They allocate only 20% of their attention to the below-the-fold information.

If you place some important information or a CTA below the fold, users are very unlikely to even notice it.

Try keeping screens as short as possible. For example, if you have a long registration process, you might need to break it down into a few smaller steps. When working with a company providing mobile app development services, companies don’t need to worry about this issue since such companies usually offer different approaches to address it.

Add more spacing and padding

Image credit: Pixabay

Trying to fit everything on a single screen, designers often forget about spacings and paddings. Overlapping elements are one of the reasons why users might abandon an app or a website.

White space turns a cluttered interface into a well-structured one. Increasing light height and spacing between elements make the design look more attractive to the eye.

Don’t be greedy, and remember that white space is not a waste of real estate. It’s an essential approach to build user-friendly mobile UX designs.

Make buttons tappable

There is nothing more frustrating than tapping a button and “…” missing it. Too small touch controls are the bane of users’ existence. They don’t help to save valuable screen space; they are harming the user experience.

Every operating system has its own recommendations for button design. In most cases, buttons of 44 px width and 44px height will work well on all mobile devices and operating systems.

Use the traditional navigation bar

Coming up with a unique navigation menu might not be the best idea. Don’t allow creativity to carry you away and forget about basic requirements to navigation.

For example, iOS uses a tab bar while Android devices rely on the navigation drawer. Such elements are familiar and intuitive to users, so they won’t have any problems when they first interact with your mobile application or website.

Use familiar items on the tab bar

Design by: zsolt hutvagner

The tab bar is an inseparable part of every application. The purpose of this element is to save valuable screen space and keep all the most important features always accessible to users.

The tab bar is not the best place to show your creativity and extraordinary thinking. You can either use the name of each feature or use icons. If you chose the latter option, it’s important to make sure that users won’t have problems understanding what each icon means.

Keep data input at a minimum

Mobile devices allow users to get access to web resources from any place at any time. While filling out a form consisting of six fields on a computer is not a bit deal, users are unlikely to fill it out on a smartphone.

To avoid situations when users don’t provide their contact information or place an order, try to minimize the number of fields. Better yet, provide them with an option to use social login and create an account with a Facebook, Google, or Instagram account. Users will need to only tap one button, authorize in service, and that’s it.

Provide feedback on actions

User experience depends on a number of factors, and one of them is providing them with feedback when they perform certain actions in your mobile application.

Designers can use animations and transitions to signal that a user tapped a button and performed another action.

Aside from visual effects, you can also use tactile and audio feedback. If you decide to use it, remember that a lot of users keep their phones silenced all the time. Thus, it’s better to use audio feedback in games, while tactile feedback can be used across different types of mobile applications.

Choose the right font

Last but not least, choosing the right font is no less important than creating visual elements of your mobile solution. Selecting the wrong font can damage your design and provoke wrong feelings. Make sure that you choose a font that will work well in multiple sizes and weights, keeping its readability.

Such companies as Google and Apple recommend keeping the font at 11 points. This way, users can read the information on the screen without zooming and while keeping a smartphone at a comfortable distance for viewing.

It’s also possible to create a unique font for your application or website. Even if you choose this option, the above principles still apply.

Mobile UX Design Principles: Sum Up

The design sphere is changing in leaps and bounds. It’s important to keep up with the latest innovations to provide users with the best mobile experience. One of the ways to do that is to visit such websites as Dribble and Behance. There, you can find a plethora of accounts created by professionals and businesses, and get inspiration from the best minds in the industry.

Discover an array of captivating voices and expert insights as our guest writers grace the pages of the Manypixels blog. From seasoned industry veterans to emerging talents, their thought-provoking articles will inspire and inform, enriching your reading experience.

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