Great app design is a well-balanced mix of art and science. Art for emotional impact and science for structuring natural flow and easy comprehension. Too much art and you get non-functional beauty, too much science and you get functionally uninspired.
To help strike the right balance in my design work, I've created my own set of laws for UX design. I use these laws to maintain consistency across the elements of projects and as a check on the artistic aspects of my designs. The first of my design laws is:
Like all good laws it is simple in concept but complex in application, and in my opinion one of the most common fails in modern UX design. It might seem counterintuitive to strive for low touch fidelity when audio fidelity, which is where we're use to talking about fidelity, is better when higher, but the opposite is true when it comes to touch: lower is better. To demonstrate, consider a basic application of this law: make sure all the buttons within an app are large enough that users don't have any difficulty pressing them correctly . Lowering the fidelity of the buttons, by making them larger, reduces the touch precision required for users to press them correctly.
It's a basic example, but a surprising number of app designs fail to achieve it. Among the rest, the prevailing wisdom can be best summed up as the "functional fidelity" rule. Instead of seeking to minimize fidelity, designers only lower fidelity to a point where they feel it "becomes functional." This vague idea of low fidelity allows for more artistic designs, as the elements are more compact and easier to layout in interesting ways, but they can easily frustrate users.
That's why my law takes low-fidelity to the extreme, providing users with the most comfortable experience possible. I don't, of course, suggest that every button should be the size of the screen. I'm advocating that buttons should be sufficiently low-fidelity that 99%+ of the time users press it correctly, and that the artistic aspects of the design deal with this reality.
So to all you app designers, I encourage you to think early and often about the many ways you can further reduce touch fidelity in your apps. And stay tuned for my next article where I'll discuss a few keys ways I applied this law to Letters in Motion and the innovative UX that came about as a result.