Examples of Mobile App Home Screen & Menu Designs

Posted by Matt Milloway on Dec 05, 2014

Most mobile app experiences start with a user tapping an app icon and launching a splash screen. What happens next, or once a user is greeted with a mobile app home screen, represents the first real test in judging the effectiveness of mobilizing a particular collection of content. Enjoying both an intuitive home screen design and the flexibility to change the organization and color of content in a menu gives organizations the ability to better control the user experience.

Understanding Design

Users who become confused with how to access certain content or navigate through the different sections of a mobile app may be turned off by the entire experience before it even begins. Giving users one or two-tap access to key material and avoiding the pitfalls of hidden menus or unintuitive design pays huge dividends in the all-important first few minutes of a user’s interaction with any mobile app. By dictating placement of homepage content within the greater scheme of a company or organization’s goals for the app makes the difference between a user meandering to a secondary page of little important or quickly jumping to a key promotional page, keynote speaker information, or other content added for optimal engagement.

The ability to effectively control a homepage not only takes flexibility from the mobile app developer, but first requires a better understanding of what content is most important. In some cases, a program agenda or featured products may be obvious choices, but in other instances advanced research is needed--including potentially polling users or doing market research--and is an important step to take full advantage of home screen and menu design options. Prioritize understanding both the end goals of the app and what a user considers most.

Homepage Options

Even with a great idea in mind for what and how to promote content on a mobile app's home screen, implementation still takes a mobile app development company with experience in creating different options and the flexibility to make it happen. Check out the examples below for a better understanding of existing options--many of which were initially created based on a specific client request.

Traditional homepage layouts include a tab along the bottom screen--displayed throughout a user’s interaction with the app--and a listing of the first tab’s content sections. For event apps, the first tab is often the program material with sessions or a welcome area with logistics and travel info. Sales and marketing apps might display a listing of product categories or overarching information about the company and its offerings. The list view approach is clean and offers the benefit of including a significant number of easily accessible sub sections.

Icon-Based Homescreens

Perhaps a more eye-catching and modern take on homepages is the popular icon-based design. Icon-based homepages offer more flexibility and can draw users to one or two major content sections or specific items like a product of the month or highlighted event.

In the first example below, content in the app--either entire sections or specific content pages--are listed in a grid format with small icons used to replace the traditional list format. Icon colors are controllable and icon images themselves may be selected from an existing library or custom-created by the client or app developer’s design team.

Display Frequently Updated News & Other Content

With multiple formats available and the ability to include photos or even filters for individual users to control content, displaying rows of scrollable content is another engaging option. The following example showcases news content in the form of RSS Feeds with a filter for users to control individual topics.

The approach may be extended to other types of content and offers the benefit of giving users more control over the mobile app, potentially leading to better long-term retention and engagement. Adding images to a homepage design and promote various sections of the app--including videos or PDF documents--represents one of the most visually pleasing homepage design option.

Hamburger Menu for Smartphones

The hamburger menu gives users access to app content without taking away additional real estate from the homescreen. Simply tap on the three horizontal lines--used in many of the most popular apps--to activate a sliding menu with content options traditionally found along the bottom of the screen.

Responsive Tile-Based Homescreens

Last but not least, creating a minimal design with only 3-4 content sections hightlighted as tiles on top of a background offers companies and organizations the chance to really draw users to a few specific areas. The tiles are responsive (i.e. conforms to the device's screen size) and can be changed from month to month based on a featured product, service, or other important item. 

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