App design: 5 good apps and 3 bad apps

STS-image 1Stack The States

Purpose: The purpose of Stack the States is to practice your geography skills by stacking states on top of each other, for example, you would begin with one state, you would then have to figure out what the state is and from there, you can continue to stack the states that you think go on top of the state. This will result in acquiring more knowledge on location on states,

The complexity is simple which makes the app easy and understandable. This app is targeted at kids to learn the states. The text and font are easy to read with basic wording.

It has a simple interface which make it clear to press and read. With the visuals being quite plain with a cartoonish vibe to it with the eyes on each of the states. Each of the
Levels have realistic photos of various country depending what level you are on.

Clarity of communication: the clarity the game demonstrates is simple, it uses bold text to make it simpler and easier to read and the way it characterises each state you use during gameplay means it ensures that you are learning about the different states while keeping the element of fun that the app brings across.

Easy of use:
Any kid can use this app as each of the interfaces and design make it simple to use and to make it even more accessible, the game shows instructions on how to play the educational game. Simply by answering each question correctly to get a state which then can be used to stack up a tower of states. You goal is to build a tower of states high enough to the reach the checkered line. Nothing too complex which is good as a child can use this to get educated.

Design of UI/UX:The game uses a very simplistic interface that is more stereotypical to what you would find in an app of this nature. It uses a simple gridded button system each entitled with what page the button will take you too, or what function it serves.

During gameplay, the way you select each state remains very simple in that each state is lined up towards the top of the screen and you must use the touch-screen to rotate each state as you rotate them. This is still keeping in mind the app’s young audience by keeping the UI simple, but effective, while still remaining accessible to an older demographic.

User experience/journey:
After viewing different videos and watching different users play this game, I can see that the game is quite involving for a younger audience because as you complete stacking more states, you unlock more of the map in which you choose what state you want to build on, the more map you unlock the more states you can choose to stack on. As the user would play more it would become more addicting as you would be more determined to complete the whole map. The designers used soft pastel colours, to create a laid back atmosphere and appeal to both young and adult users. The sound the game uses enhances the fun mood of the game and there are also some sound effects that were used to grab people’s attention and emphasis on the scores and prizes the user is achieving. There is also a voice over, that you can turn on or off, as it might be quite annoying to adult users.


Furthermore, there are a lot images put in the background that symbolises a famous location within the state. Another unique feature the game involves is how the states are almost like cartoon characters, which would appeal to children. However, there is also a competitive element, which consists of beating other people’s high scores/time taken to complete a level. This allows multiple players to compete against each other simultaneously. In the beginning there is a short introduction of state


Purpose: The purpose of Duolingo is to teach a variety of languages to many people

Complexity: Duolingo has a simplistic design and layout, making it accessible to both children and adults due to it’s ease of use. Algorithms are used to calculate how well or not you are learning a language, and uses a skill tree to show your progress. This accessibility and simplicity allows users of almost any age to use this app.

Clarity of communication: It’s text uses a bold, arial font on a plain, white and blue (sometimes green) background, making the text and different language examples very clear and simple to read. The almost cartoonish aesthetic and use of images for each word, gives the app a clear and friendly look and allows each user to follow the app with ease.

Easy of use: Duolingo makes it easy for the user to learn another language with ease. Due to its simple design and availability. You a prompted with a login screen to keep track of what language you want to learn. Especially with an app that helps you to learn a language you want to make sure you can find everything that you need to achieve your goal. Its has a fairly simple layout so that even kids can use the app but it’s more aimed at teens and adults. The end goal is to hopefully learn another language. The daily goal helps to stay on track to make sure you don’t forget words and make sure your hitting targets to succeed in learning the language.


Design of UI/ / User Journey The design is relatively simple you start with a login screen which you can then make an account to keep track of your progress.
There is some psychology with the design of duolingo to encourage the user to progress with their learning by showing your current achievements. It also shows you how fluent you are in the language you have chosen. I tested the app myself and I can verify that the app is very rewarding every time you progress; which in turn is an incentive to continue to learn languages.

This is the first screen you will see after you have logged in and chose a language, to start learning you will obviously have to know the basics. The design is very simplistic alongside with some complementary colours. This is very easy to the eye; it has some psychology behind the colours as well



Purpose: Circa is an online app that was created to challenge the way that the news is being produced and written. It includes some minor news stories that more mainstream news outlets online such as BBC may not consider important enough to release to the public.

Complexity: Circa is laid out and wire-framed like a mainstream online news app but with a very monochromatic colour scheme and a more friendly way of writing. So each article and story is divided into their own categories such as entertainment, food and tech news. This more minimalist approach to it’s design makes the app very accessible to it’s adult audience and if they’re more used to apps like BBC news, it also gives the app a sense of familiarity.

Ease of use: The way that Circa uses a repeating grid pattern to display it’s news articles, gives a very straightforward and simple way of navigating it’s menus making it very easy to understand and use.

Design of UJ/UI: You begin with the latest and most popular news story displayed as a large graphic near the top of the screen, which could lead a user to click on that story first to keep up to date with current events. The other latest stories are displayed In a repeating grid pattern below it, with more minor stories or ‘editor’s picks’ displayed near the bottom of the page.

circa user journey.jpg

At the top of the screen, there are categories for each story and article, for example Food, Lifestyle and Tech that you can select and choose from if the stories on the home-page don’t interest you or if you have finished reading them. If you want to stay connected with the app, there is a selection of social-media apps such as Facebook and Instagram displayed on the right side of the screen, which allows the user to interact with the app more.


Purpose: An app designed to make it easier for men to choose which clothes they should buy or wear.

Complexity: Mylo is relatively complicated in it’s coding and what it is designed to do, but remains simple in the way it is laid out. For example, it has categories for all sorts of clothing like casual weddings, formal parties and house parties, and selects the best clothing for those occasions based on what clothes you have available, which must require very specific coding but presents those options in a very simple and monochromatic design style, much like Circa.

mylo user journey

Ease of use: Because Mylo’s layout is streamlined and accessible, it becomes very simple to use. Simply select the type of clothing you want it to seek out for you, and it then selects what it thinks is the best clothing you have for that situation.



Purpose: Netflix is a streaming service that lets users watch hundreds of different TV series and film through a subscription service.

Complexity: Much like Mylo, Netflix is complicated in what it sets out to do but it presents itself in a relatively simple way in which anybody can use the app, therefore it remains accessible to its target demographic. It lays it’s TV series and films out in the repeated grid pattern each separated into different categories that scroll right to left as if your browsing through a selection of DVDs.

Ease of use: Because of it’s simple layout, browsing through entertainment is accessible to anybody in it’s wide audience of older viewers to young viewers, giving easy access to all of the films and TV shows that it is streaming.

Design of UJ/UI: The app begins with a simple login screen where you type in your username and password before gaining access to the main home-page where you can browse the categories of TV and film. If you don’t want to look through all of the categories there is a search option on the right of the screen where you can directly search for the entertainment that you want, or on the left hidden menu, there is a selection where you can choose what category you want to search user journey













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