Lecture One: Introduction to App Design

Lecture Notes: Week One



  • Apps are a type of software, designed to perform specific functions the user may need. For instance, a calculator, compass or weather prediction.
  • Three types of apps include: HTML 5, Native and Hybrid. 
  • HTML 5 responsive web design that combines HTML, CSS and JavaScript coding. Often named “write-once-run anywhere.
  • Native – runs directly on the mobile device and developed specifically for an operating system, i.e. what may work for the IOS may not work for Android, therefore coding is altered to ensure smooth running of the app on that particular device.
  •  Hybrid – combines elements of Native and HTML 5. Primarily built using HTML 5 and JavaScript, however access to Native features such as the aesthetics and offline operation is possible.
  • Pros of HTML 5 include being able to quickly transform any website to be made available on a mobile device while maintaining user friendly features. The best part, all the coding only needs to be done once. However, there are cons which include, poor user experience as well as poor performance. There is also no possibility of accessing the in-built features a smartphone has, such as the camera, calendar etc., from within the app.
  • Pros of Native consist of the User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) running smoothly along with fast loading, powerful performance both offline and online, easier discovery on the systems store and is deemed much more private and secure than HTML 5. Cons are Native app creation is the most costly and time consuming as developers need to create coding for both IOS and Android as it is non-transferable.
  • Pros of Hybrid include the ability to operate like a HTML 5 webpage but similarly operates and aesthetically looks like a Native app. Cons include slower performance.
  • When designing an app the following should be considered:
    • The UI needs to be familiar to the user and designed with the intent of being used through touch gestures.
    • The resolution of the device must always be considered, time is important as you have a short amount of time to get the information across to the user, therefore the simpler the better.
    • Screen space is limited, thus the elements of the app need to maintain their readability with compromising space.
    • Context is important, understand what your audience want by conducting research and testing prototypes etc.
    • Wireframes are vital before producing any project as you get a sense what the app may look like prior to its completion along with deciding if any alterations need to be made.

Image source:

Telerik. (n.d). Unknown [Digital Illustration]. Retrieved March 8, 2017, from, http://venturebeat.com/2013/11/20/html5-vs-native-vs-hybrid-mobile-apps-3500-developers-say-all-three-please/