History of App Design

In the beginning, mobile users had access to simple apps such as calculators and messaging. At this time companies guarded their secrets on how they made these applications and thus were made in-house.The first call made on a mobile was in 1973, it ran no apps and be another 10 years until the first mainstream mobile available to the public.

The first ‘time-waster’ app that was made was the ‘Snake’ game which was first featured on Nokia mobiles in 1970’s when it was first created.  This became a globally-used app as it was the first of its kind.


IBM Simon 

This was the first touchscreen mobile, which was made in 1994. It had the ability to revive Fax, Emails and calls. It featured apps such as calendar, calculator and was able to be written on to make handwritten notes. There was no colour on this OS except for the yellowish background and black text and outlining, this was quite boring and the OS had no personalisation options either.

Palm OS

This was a touchscreen interface created in 1996 as a rival to the Psion as it was cheaper, and had a greater database of apps including third party apps which  made it so popular. The interface began to include a wider variety of colours as opposed to the standard boring background and black text UI as seen by the previous operating systems.

Image result for palm os
The original app designs that were used amongst the first set of mobile devices were often resembling ‘8-bit’ designs as they consisted of blocks to create the final logo and interface. The colours featured in the UI were mainly a black outline that was the app (featured in the early Nokia devices). This meant the UI lacked personality and branding (etc Youtube is an app known for the white and red interface) the lack of colours meant it was very boring to look at and use, as the apps did not have many features, they did the bare minimum of what they were meant to do. The typography also were simple in the sense that there was no variety in the fonts that were used in the apps and its interface.

In the early 2000s the mobiles being made had sliders, flipping keyboards, rotating displays with displays placed upon the keyboard. The Blackberry OS, Palm OS and Windows OS were beginning to become popular. These OS had to take advantage of the designs and features that made up the mobile functionality.As technology advanced the personalization  of apps and UI’s grew; the colours became more pleasing e.g. blues, reds and yellows were now included in the apps and logos.


In 2007/2008 Apple released the first iPhone, and app store which android soon followed by releasing the Play store. This meant that people to search for applications and download them to their device.  The design used in iPhone interfaces used a transparent glass effect on its app logos in order to create a clean look to the UI. When apps were being designed the user was the primary focus of the user interface as this is essentially what will appeal to the target audience, if the user interface is messy and clogged up the app wont appeal to many people. The app design has to take into account the functionality of the app e.g does it use ‘swiping’ motions which are easy to do and is a simple way of using an app, or does it require various hand gestures and various menus to make the app function.


Instagram new app layout

Image result for old version of instagram

Image result for new instagram


The new version of instagram lost the blue and grey colour scheme and replaced it which a  monochromatic, white colour scheme instead.  It made new wire type icons to make a cleaner UI and to fit the clean white scheme, and to give it a futuristic theme.

The new version now features the ‘story’ option which is similar to the stories used in snapchat which makes more of a personal feel towards the app. The simpler design makes the user focus on the pictures rather than the text which is the main focus of this app- to share photos.





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