6 Anti-tips for Mobile UI Designer, or How to Make a Perfectly Awful App

Bad mobile apps are everywhere. We bet every single user have seen a bunch of those, and still remembers the amazingly terrible experience they offered. If you’d like to join the cohort of bad designers, this guide will help you to create a properly abysmal product.

Make users type more

People who download your application just love to type endlessly at their little touch screens. Give them the pleasure — don’t use auto-complete and never remember what they typed earlier.

Even if there’s a choice of only three possible options, don’t put them on buttons, let the user type it in full. Remember — they love typing.

Prolong the start-up time

Mobile app users enjoy waiting for the app to start-up. There’s nothing comparable to the joy of staring at a blank screen, while your perfect product is on course to present itself in all its horridness.


If, despite all your efforts, the app still needs less than 10 seconds to launch, try adding a couple of 10-megabyte BMP images to the start screen — it should work. And, of course, never implement smart loading that shows the most important elements first — it will spoil the impression.

We need more bugs

It’s a pity you can’t add actual insects to your mobile app, but there’s always a possibility to please your users with virtual ones. Make the experience more versatile by introducing random unintelligible error messages all over the app.


And of course your product has to crash right after the user has typed over 500 characters without saving them, because — remember? — users love to type.

Force users to register right away

If the user has downloaded your app, he’s all yours, and you can do whatever you want. We recommend to start with putting a long and exciting register form with a lot of typing involved before the user can see the application itself. After going through this experience, the user will be committed to use your app for the rest of their life more than ever!

The smaller, the better

The users of your app need to train their sight permanently, which means that your icons and control elements need to be as tiny as possible. Be a good Darwinist — let only the users with a good eye use your perfectly horrible app!


Of course, the same rule goes for scrolling bars. Users’ life is just too easy, so you need to offer them a challenge — for instance, to manage to scroll a form in less than ten attempts. And one more thing — don’t forget to add double or even triple scrolling wherever possible.

These were the worst practices of creating a mobile app. For the best practices, check out our upcoming meetup in San Francisco on October 8, 2014 — hope to see you there!

October 3, 2014