Your Biggest Competition as an App Designer

You’re a designer. You’re designing an app, so who’s your biggest competitor? Who should you be inspired by in your design?

How about the Domino’s Pizza app?

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Of course it’s tempting to look to the cutting edge of visual and UI design, you could spend your time sifting through dribble for slices of beautiful visuals. But your audience are thinking about other slices. Deep pan double pepperoni slices.

If you haven’t spoken to your customers how will you know which other apps they’re spending most time with? Über is an amazing service with a great app, but are your users using it? Maybe they are, or maybe they use their phone in a different way.

I single Domino’s out not because I want free pizza – in fact, to be clear I don’t remotely endorse their product. But that’s the whole point, it doesn’t matter what I like – I’m just the designer.

Empathy, not really

It’s also worth saying that this isn’t so much about empathy – although putting yourself in the shoes of your customers is vital – this is more about understanding your customers expectations.

The best examples of interface design aren’t found in your industry.

If you’re designing for a bank, a shop or a car company you should be looking at Domino’s to understand what users expectations will be. It doesn’t matter if you are the best banking app in the world, you sit on users phones alongside Domino’s. And domino’s have a great app.

Apps like CityMapper, Candy Crush and Snapchat are setting the bar. The good news: they can all give you great inspiration for your work.

The next time you meet with your users ask them which apps are making them smile. Then get using them yourself. Learn what’s setting your users expectations, more importantly understand where they’re spending their time because ultimately this is what you’re competing for – their time.