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7 Rules of Mobile App Design- To Keep Users Addicted To App

7 Rules of Mobile App Design: To Keep Users Addicted To App

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Photo by UX Store on Unsplash

Most of us remain addicted to mobile screens for a considerable part of the day. It is only because there are mobile apps pretty much for everything and anything we can think of. According to most credible statistics average mobile user picks up his smartphone more than a hundred times every day.

But some apps are more frequently opened, and a handful of apps can grab most of the time users spend using a smartphone. These apps are more capable of engaging users in an addictive manner than the rest. How are these apps able to gain so much user attention? Well, the following development practices and time tested principles may help you to achieve the same success.

Keep the app design simple and straightforward. 

When it is about mobile app design or particularly the user interface, simplicity is the first watchword to follow. Instead of overloading your user’s cognitive capacity with a whole array of menu items, too many buttons and a lot of content, allow them to settle and find what they need or expect to see.

If you want how this simplicity works in the app design context, look at how Tinder’s favourite dating app works. The most significant impetus of using this app is, of course, the ease of use and clean interface devoid of visual distractions.

Using Push Notifications to engage 

To make your app addictive, it is also essential to develop an intelligent push notification strategy that can easily create external triggers to persuade users to embrace a particular course of action. Consider critical elements that make the successful notification, such as an instantly engaging and actionable trigger and right timing.

Any app that can schedule notifications based on the correct user contexts and create a sense of urgency through limited-time offers can quickly get results. Yes, of course, you need to send the notifications at the right time for the best results.

Enhance the onboarding experience 

Why does an app need new user acquisition continuously when it can just make its existing users return to the app repeatedly? Yes, of course, new user acquisition is essential, but you need to ensure that they keep coming and find the app helpful after landing on the app for the first time. Well, that’s what a great onboarding experience can do for an app.

When the users land on an app for the first time, make sure they quickly cross the so-called ‘sign-up barrier’ through social login or by filling up just one or two fields or just skipping the whole thing with a guest login. Please make sure the users can easily understand how the app works and navigate and get things done as per their expectations.

In some countries with a deeper smartphone footprint, such as Belgium or Germany, without a sophisticated onboarding experience, new apps do not stand a chance to engage users. Any leading mobile app development company in Brussels will tell you how businesses insist on superior onboarding experience more than anything for their app projects.

Provide incentives

An app works more like a tool to offer quick solutions, and hence users always look for specific real-life benefits instead of only content. But apps get doubly interesting when they provide real-life benefits such as discounts, promotional offers, etc.

Make sure the app allows people to interact with others and make users informed as soon as they do something with the app. Now, the same user experience can be further enhanced by giving rewards to the users for their in-app behaviour and activities.

Give users more control. 

According to some expert studies on consumer psychology, users become happier with business brands that offer more choices and options to choose different actions. Increased free choices and more options create a sense of autonomy that users, irrespective of locations, age and other characteristics, hold dear to their hearts. So, for your app to get addictive enough, giving users more control or creating a sense of enhanced control is very important.

It is human nature to like to be in control. It is also human nature to like to have freedom of choice and have total control over actions. While people generally lack such comprehensive controls on various things in real life while using their own handheld devices, they expect to be in total control. This is why enhanced control is a crucial aspect of superior and addictive user experience.

Sense of averting loss  

This is another psychological principle that works great to make users return to an app again and again. The principle is particularly effective in gaming apps where gamers, to achieve the perfect score or to fulfil the lost opportunity come back to the game app repeatedly.

You can easily understand this by understanding why gamblers return to the gambling table to make up for the money they have already lost. This sense of loss aversion can be used intuitively through gamification to make users return to an app repeatedly. The human mind is inherently programmed to return to where his profits and gain lie.

Give extreme importance to visual aesthetics. 

Finally, to deliver an addictive app user experience, it is extremely important to give importance to visual aesthetics and the app’s potential in engaging first-time audiences visually.

Apart from maintaining visual clarity, make sure you don’t use outdated graphic elements, noisy fonts, dull or glaring colour schemes and cluttered layout. Make sure your choice of fonts and colours perfectly resonates with the audience of your business.


All these rules and principles of design and development have been implemented by too many apps that have an addictive effect on their user base. Remember, perfecting an app with these elements is not just a one-time job but involves constant and continuous efforts.

Stanislaus Okwor is a Web Designer / Developer based in Lagos - Nigeria. He is the Director at Stanrich Online Technologies. He is knowledgeable in Content management System - Wordpress, Joomla and PHP/MySQL etc

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