Common App Design Mistakes to Avoid

Abhinav Girdhar
By Abhinav Girdhar | Last Updated on February 16th, 2022 10:47 am
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App Builder Appy Pie: The thing about brilliant apps is that you don’t even notice how brilliant they actually are. It is always the hiccups and the problems with the design of the app that get our attention. If you are planning to come up with a fabulous app, you are going to have to have a designer who would have a deep knowledge of devices, an understanding of user psychology, and a willingness to abandon all that has been learnt and then start from the scratch.

The thing about a typical app user is that they are not going to engage with an app that has been designed poorly. Also, did you know that a whopping 77% of the app users uninstall the app within 90 days of downloading it.

Whether you are designing your app yourself, or are hiring someone to do it for you, it is important that you are aware of some of the most common mistakes that need to be avoided. So, here are the most common design mistakes that people make and that you should avoid!

#1 Ignoring the Use of the ‘Thumb’

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Most of us use only our thumbs to navigate through the app, and if the app you design requires any actions that require more than the thumb, it is going to be a cumbersome experience. It is important to pay attention to the area of the screen that is accessible for a normal sized thumb. This zone varies according to the screen size, which means that while you are trying to optimize your app for various devices, you would have to take care of this.

As Apptentive mentions here, it is important that you prioritize the most used elements of the app in this thumb zone because it is impossible to accommodate everything in this area. The study conducted by UX matters establishes that of the total number of people who use their phone with a single hand, 67% use their right-hand thumb. However, simply because there are fewer left handed users, we can’t possibly ignore them completely.

How To Avoid?

This needs to be taken care of right at the development stage by carrying out thumb mapping which would give you a visual map identifying the areas that can be accessed by a single thumb. Make sure that your CTAs are placed in this area.

The second point here is to pay attention to the size of the buttons. If they are too big, the design looks ugly, and if they are too small, they become unclickable. The ideal size of the button would be in the range of 7 to 10 mm.

#2 Inconsistencies in Aesthetics

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The style and design of every UI element whether it is the button, the text, images or anything else must have some sort of a consistency. This article by Design Shack tells us why maintaining a consistency in the aesthetics of your app is so important. Though some of the buttons you come across might be really trendy and cool, but if they do not fit in with the overall design or color theme, but using them mindlessly is going to mess up the overall look of the app and confuse the users as well.

How To Avoid?

If you are looking for an aesthetically consistent design for your app, and are trying to enable seamless movement from one color or typography or any other design element to the othe0072, it is better that the visual progression move from heavy to light!

#3 Not Providing App Walkthroughs

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While it might be expected for the app to be intuitive enough for the users to navigate through without any walkthroughs, but as the functionality of the apps get increasingly complex and diverse, in recent times a proper walkthrough is being appreciated by the users. According to Telepathy while deciding if or how you are going to execute a walkthrough, you must remember your target users and their usage patterns. In the struggle to balance functionality with ease of use, precisely executed walkthroughs can prove to be of great use.

How To Avoid?

While developing your walkthrough, remember to make them engaging, visually appealing, and most importantly give your users an out, which means it should be optional.

#4 Cognitive Overload

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Have you ever visited an app and felt like you were finding it stressful to keep up with it. Marvel blog here mentions that the moment you open an app, there is a learning initiated in the brain for every action as you try and navigate, process the layout, or take in all the visual elements on the screen. The effort that your brain puts in doing this is called cognitive load. However, if the information presented to your brain, at any point of time exceeds the amount that it can handle, the brain might either slow down or abandon the task, which here means your app.

How To Avoid?

There some techniques like progressive disclosure technique, minimizing the number of design elements, and using microcopies, that can help you reduce the cognitive load while still maintaining an engaging and rich user interface and app design.

#5 Doing Exactly what Others are Doing

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While looking for inspiration, it is not uncommon for designers to cross the line and step into the pitfall of plagiarism. While doing a competitor analysis, it is important to keep an eye on the real picture and not get carried away, like Usability Geek explains. While it is important that you really know and understand your competition and may be even pick up a few elements from those who seem to be doing it right, but when you end up cloning the app to the tee, you become a cheap knock off of a better app.

How To Avoid?

Conduct a deep competitive research, analyze what they are doing right, use it in combination with your own ideas. Apart from this, you can also keep an eye on their flaws, so you know what mistakes to avoid, and how to improve upon them to make your app superior.

#6 Forgetting about the User Experience

This is a rookie mistake. Most first-time app developers make this mistake and this can be fatal for the future of your app. This primarily happens because as a first-time developer, it is tough to clearly visualize the niche user base you want to target. True, it is tough to know exactly what they are looking for, but what is doable is, to optimize your app design around their convenience and keep in mind the overall user experience.

How to avoid?

One of the most effective ways to do this is through A/B testing. Frankly, the do one and be done approach can be a bit of a disaster. Come up with multiple versions of your app and use A/B testing. This is a tried and tested method of optimizing the user experience of an app before the final app launch.

#7 Too many features

It is great to have some really cool features in an app and as a developer, it sometimes becomes way too tough to narrow down the list of features you want to add to your app. However, it would do you well to remember that a cohesive and simple design forms the foundation for an app that has a bright future. Make sure that your app is purposeful, not all-purpose.

How to avoid?

List out the one true purpose of your app followed by a couple of intents that can support the main purpose. Now cross out all the cool features you wanted to add, but don’t really need it for the fulfilment of the purpose of the app. When you reduce the number of features in the first version of your app, you will naturally create an app that is powerful, user-friendly, and functional, as opposed to an app that is bloated, unintuitive, and cumbersome.


These mistakes may seem trivial as you are going through the blog, but can actually spell the difference between creating an app that makes its mark and one that bombs. Now that you know what not to do, let me tell you the one thing that you must do, right now. Head to Appy Pie AppMakr and start building your app!
Create your perfect app now!
Do you think I completely tripped on one of the common mistakes? Let me know in the comments section.

Abhinav Girdhar

Founder and CEO of Appy Pie

App Builder

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