Today, there are more than 1 million apps on Google Play and Apple app store alone. Looking at this figure would certainly tell you that the mobile apps industry is one vast landscape where scouring for a desired app turns into an arduous undertaking. And this search becomes more intricate, as day after day more than three hundred new applications are posed to grace the shelves, enticing thumbs to ‘download’ them over the other.
Aesthetics: The Way Out of the Continuously Expanding App Store Cobweb
Now that every mobile app store—Google, Apple, Windows, BlackBerry, and Amazon—has already turned into a cavernous marketplace, more apps, as they continue to increase in number, suffer from obscurity. But not all users and downloaders would be as painstaking as an eager app lover and would spend hours and days to look for their preferred app. Most of them, believe it or not, lean on a very simple principle: purchase the one that has an attractive logo, a beautiful design, a readable typeface, and a usable interface. Period. Nothing more.
On design and usability
In 2010, aesthetics played a crucial role in satisfying users disappointed over poorly executed branded apps. In this EffectiveUI study conducted by Harris Interactive, it is revealed that users no longer trusted an app for its brand name but leaned more on the design and usability when it comes to purchasing. This talked a lot about defeating brand loyalty, an important marketing entity that big brands depended for a long time. Four years later, startup app developers can now compete with their branded, more popular counterparts through strong adherence to aesthetics and user experience.
Embracing most important design principle
One of the most evident aspects of life that smartphones and mobile apps have successfully altered is our attention span. We are now accustomed to facing thousands of information every day so long as they are short, concise, and digestible. We get lots of these from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram in form of vignettes. But the unfortunate thing is that we are fine committing them to oblivion straight away, right after chewing them off.
This is the era of simplicity. Typically, every app developer would have lots of details and features in mind, but a large percentage of these are useless to his app’s future users. Game developers, in order to target simplicity, reduce an app to its most basic function, eliminate the unnecessary features, and go back to the most basic principle of simplicity to polish their design.
This answers the question why there are lots of flatly colored, 2D games that became more popular than ones with an astounding, hyperrealist graphics. Or why a pricey calendar app with simple design and language got more downloads than a free, stupendously designed one.
Applications are built according to their purpose: to entertain, guide, or aid the user. But all these purposes are impossible to meet if they are enveloped in intricacy, filled with features only a game developer with a Math and Art Degree would appreciate and understand.
At the end of the day, aesthetics is still all about appreciation and mobile apps are about living up to its purpose. How can your app be appreciated if it does not live up to its function and purpose?