On Designing Mobile Education Apps

On Designing Mobile Education Apps

On Designing Mobile Education Apps

The art of design has a long tradition. History is filled with wonderful examples. But we are in a new age, where design, and especially educational design, is not only about space and graphics and looks. It is about the learning experience. It is this aspect of design for mobile education apps that is most crucial – not only the “look,” but also the “feel.”

Not Just Another Pretty Face

There are a lot of beautifully designed apps out there. They fit into the mobile nicely. They are aesthetic. They have points of interest along with an overall clean and neat look. The colors are well chosen, the graphics are nice to look at and draw the attention of the user. In short, there are a lot of pretty faces out there.

But education is a serious business. It is about really getting ahead. A user that chooses to get your educational app has a real motive – to be better, to improve, to learn, to get ahead in life. It is not only what is on the outside but what is on the inside of the app that matters. Just like in any real relationship, the app needs to supply more than just an initial attraction. It needs to foster effective learning and deliver real improvement and progress. It needs to build trust so that the user is willing to be led through the learning process.

Let’s Play

Games are fun, but learning is for a reason other than just to have a good time. A learner really wants to get something in addition to pure entertainment. On the other hand, boring old-style teaching just won’t make the mark any more.  Now that we have been exposed to great user experience we will not settle for anything else, and learning is no exception.

What does this mean for mobile education apps? It means that you can incorporate gaming into the design, but not make it the only focal point. You don’t engage in learning in order to play (and win) a game, you play a fun game (and win) in order to learn (winning in real life).

People will Use Your App If…

While the initial attraction to your app can rely on superficial aspects, the stickiness to use it for daily learning is much more about UX and design. How easy is it to use? How easy is it to understand? How engaging is the experience? What is the quality of the learning content? And how is this quality noticed?

And where does technology fit in all of this? When a solution incorporates state of the art technologies you must insist on reliability, stability, and consistency of user experience, even in variable network conditions. This is the staple of good UX. But remember, technology should be a tool, not the end-game.

So, why will people use your app? A good test would be to ask yourself honestly: Would I be my first customer? Try to spice your great technology and superb learning content with true passion for building the best teaching machine, and your answer will be – yes!

Design Do’s and Design Don’ts

There is never a cookbook or recipe for good design. After all, great design is considered ‘art’ for good reason. It is innovative. It is creative. It is functional. It serves a purpose and does it well. And, like in art, there is never really one way of doing something. But, here are a few mobile education app design do’s and don’ts.

Do

  • Focus on the purpose first
  • Plan a learning process
  • Invest time and effort in designing the best learning experience
  • Use great technology, but keep it  in the background
  • Try to keep it all simple
  • Remember that in education – content is king
  • For all of the tips above, remember that your user is mobile, so practice your app in various contexts and environments with a variety of your supported devices.

 

Don’t

  • Don’t use technology because you can
  • Don’t just focus on the look
  • Don’t import old-school education from other platforms to mobile
  • Don’t ignore users’ feedback
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment and change the design and flow
  • Don’t try to make a perfect version from the beginning – it’s a process

Eyal Eshed

RELATED ARTICLES

Wireframe your “IDEA”

Wireframe your “IDEA”

Introduction It all begins with an idea in mind, often asked question how do we write specifications and why do we

READ MORE