Your App Is Burried In A Folder - Make Its Icon Stand Out

Thu 06 October 2016 by yaniv

Meetup has finally updated its mobile app. More than that, it went through a complete re-branding, and as part of it also redesigned the icon of its mobile app.

From the look of the new icon, it seems that Meetup's designers assumed their app sits front and center in their users' devices. I hesitate that's the case.

It’s increasingly difficult for smaller publishers/brands to break through — even with downloaded apps — because of folders (being buried) .. --

I'm one of those users... while I use the Meetup app quite often, to stay in touch and communicate with members of the groups I lead, it's not one of the few apps I spend most of my time on. Therefore Meetup, like 98% of my apps, lives in a folder.

As a foldered app, it should have an icon that's visually distinguishable, and that stands out with every pixel, otherwise users will ignore the app and won't use it. Meetup's new icon is anything but standing out. On the contrary - it blends with the rest of the icons and lacks identity.

Take a look at Meetup's icon before and after:


Figure 1: Left - before, Right - after. In both images, it's in the top-right folder, the bottom-right icon

The previous icon, while not optimized for mobile - having to squeeze the name in the small icon - had some color contrast to it, which made it recognizable.

Your App Is Not Special

Don't assume users care about your app; they don't. After downloading it, they are likely to either delete it, or throw it into a folder. The least you can do is plan for the latter, and design an icon that's unique, and can be recognized in any size.

Take a look again at the screenshots above - which icons do better job at grabbing your attention, even when placed within a folder1?

  1. My pick would be the Workflow's icon (same folder as Meetup, bottom-left corner), as well as Spotify (right image, top-left folder, top-left icon) and Overcast (right image, top-left folder, mid-left icon).