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Breaking the rules — “breaking” interaction patterns on mobile devices

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You are starting to develop your own brand new mobile application (or redesigning an existing one). What’s the right way to do? Would it make sense to find design guidelines for target platforms, take screenshots of the most popular apps and create “another one” that would yet feel familiar for users? Or, would it be more efficient to turn on the maximum of your creativity and create something new and memorable, however, completely unfamiliar for users?

Did you recognize yourself? Have you ever have such thoughts?

What might be the reason of such doubts?

The competition in the app stores is currently very tough. Take a closer glance — don’t they look similar and don’t they follow standards? They have a lot of users and receive positive feedback. So, it works. Or does it not?

Is there any guarantee that the following standards and generally accepted patterns will help you succeed? On the other hand, is there any guarantee that an ordinary application will be remembered, and most importantly, loved? A lot of popular applications are extremely unfriendly to users, but still — they work.

The task may be complicated by the fact that the application must be designed for various mobile platforms. Users of different platforms have different habits, different experiences of interaction, different mental models, different expectations.

So, is it possible to create a one-fits-all application for several platforms at once, or is it an unproductive thing to try?

How can you find your own balance of success? What’s that particular “red carpet” for your app to go out and progress?

In this report I will try to answer these questions based on my experience of designing a mobile application for a large service with a huge international user base. I’ll describe how we were looking for ideas, worked on papers and interactive prototypes and gathered user feedback on them. Also, I’ll speak about the difficulties that we encountered in solving such problems.

Nikita Efimov

Nikita EfimovNikita Efimov

UX Designer, Wrike Inc.

Graduated ITMO with master’s degree. Has more than 6-years experience in software development in different roles: developer, architect, project manager, UX designer. During this time, worked both in product and outsourcing teams on different projects: from compilers to project management systems.


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