3 Rules For App Design

February 3, 2015

Scouring design blogs for articles to review, I quickly came upon an article entitled “3 Rules Of App Design, According To Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer.” Well… that was easy. The tips in the article apply all too well to a class called “Design for Smartphones and iPads” that I couldn’t pass it up.


CEO Marissa Mayer was at the front lines as Yahoo! was rebranding itself as a design-first internet company. While Mayer’s tips are fantastic, I actually learned 4 tips from her 3 rules for app design:

  1. The Two Tap Rule: Anything you want to do in an app should only be two taps away. If you have 10 different features in the app, they should all be easily accessed from the home screen

  2. The Five Point Rule: Count every different font, font size, and color on a page. If you count more than five, it’s time to redesign.

  3. The 98% Rule: A product or an app will be used in only one way 98% of the time and it should be designed for that. If it is a camera app, for example, there should be a big button at the bottom that makes it easy to use as a camera app.

Here’s the bonus tip…


Don’t use the color purple… or if you do, go all out. Alright, when I say this, I’m not just talking specifically about the color purple. Yahoo! is commonly associated with the regal shade of violet on all of its branding. The color purple has long been associated with royalty, which often makes users regard Yahoo! as an elite corporation. Not the brand image they want to have. Though there was backlash from users over the Yahoo! App design, the company decided that they had been associated with the color for so long that there was almost no point in changing it now. Moral of the story, be conscious of your app designs. Colors and shapes often take on unconscious connotations in the users mind.


All of these rules are fairly intuitive and can be used by anyone creating an app, not just those trained in advanced UI/UX design.

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