It’s funny how the design ideas circle around.
When the very first browsers came around, the HTML was in its infancy and there was no way to use the background images on pages, insert Flash videos and do many other things available today. The internet was still a novelty. But as more people came to use the internet, the developers worked hard to add additional functionality. The next generation of web browsers allowed using background images, Flash and other stuff. So everyone started using backgrounds on pages and build Flash sites. Some experts even declared the Flash was the future standard of the internet designed to replace HTML.
Sometime later of course everyone got sick of the backgrounds. The new wave of web designers declared backgrounds uncool, and started to remove all the backgrounds including images and pictures from webpages. Flash sites became a sign from the past, and the use of the Flash format was pretty much narrowed down to advertising banners and videos. The forecasts about making every website a Flash site weren’t going to come true. Forget about colored backgrounds, flying elements etc. That’s when the over-simplified designs came into existence. Talk about Facebook and Google to name a few.
But of course the development wouldn’t stop there. Things have to progress forward, or rather rotate around a circle, so the ideas about the backgrounds were dusted off, presented as new, and came back as innovative and cool again. Notice the image backgrounds on the Twitter sites, Bing, and lately on PayPal , which actually converted its main page into a movie showing random people doing mundane tasks like drinking coffee, using phones, walking the streets, etc. Don’t ask me what all that imagery supposed to mean or what it has to do with what PayPal actually does – sending money between the email addresses – but the page does look better now than before. Hey, after all we have all the modern browsers capable to doing so much, might as well create the sites to take advantage of it. It only makes sense.
Now the mobile app design is the whole different story. It started with the backgrounds and moving elements, and it isn’t going away. There are several important principles creating nice and functional mobile apps, and every designer has their preferences. Some designers create the apps with the functionality on mind; others are more graphic -oriented. Some developers are designing the apps from ground up, others prefer to buy source code and create the apps based on it. There are plenty of places to buy the apps, including Apptopia, Chupamobile and this marketplace . Note, of all the apps, the games must be entertaining and engaging, so pretty much every Android or iPhone game makes use of graphics, images and vivid colors.
But not every app is a game or designed to entertain, and therefore there are many apps that may look a bit boring. For example, various calculators and other apps for business and family do not have a requirement to be entertaining or engaging. So why bother with graphics. In fact, extra design efforts in such apps may distract attention from the core functionality of the app, and therefore achieve a negative result.
Therefore it is extremely important to design mobile apps in such way so that they perform the expected task without distracting attention. Only then your users are going to like the app and reward it with good reviews, vital for the app ranking in the app stores.