• Does it matter to the user if the application has 70-80 screens as long as all the functionality are provided?

  • Does it depend on the platform, e.g. Handheld devices vs Desktop ?

  • Is there a limit on maximum number of screens? Does more number of screens make an application less lightweight? Does it affect user's decision on whether to use the application or not?

Personally, I would like to ensure that my app is as lightweight as possible without compromising the functionality.

  • 1
    I don't think the count of screens matters that much, but each screen should have a purpose and hopefully be very focused on that purpose.
    – scunliffe
    Commented Jan 18, 2013 at 4:06

4 Answers 4



  • It definitely matters. Common user will find himself in a screen jungle. I would say, if the target app(lication) is not unavoidably complex like Autocad or something, coming out with 70-80 screens indicated severe (system analysis &) design flaw.

  • handheld device apps need much more sophisticated use of the space & device-features to build an pleasant user-experience. so, much more design skills are needed to ensure utilization of every available pixel space.

  • No limit on the total number of screens, unless it conflicts with free memory.

  • No. More number of screens is more likely to make it heavyweight rather than fewer more-complex screens.


No, it should not. The reason for this is that you should use the number of screens that you need, to make the app function well and user-friendly. If you have a good reason why you need 80 screens, go for it. If you can trim it down (which you should do if you can), then do so.

But never focus on number of screens as a KPI for your usability. Otherwise you'll end up forcing too much (probably unrelated) functionality in the same screen, which will only make matters worse. A great screen is a screen that makes sense. It should have the right functionality and the right focus for that context.

So, the only question you should ask it: am I using the right amount of screens.

However, one big caveat: make sure you design the screen on top of some framework. Although the contents of the screens may be the different, they should all follow the same conventions and guidelines. Otherwise you'll indeed create a screen jungle. In the end usability comes down to the question whether or not your users can find their way in your app and do the stuff they need to do as easy and simple as possible.

  • Or, would you consider segregating your application into multiple applications. Since otherwise it looks that user has to do too much work, or may be I am thinking aloud :)
    – ripu1581
    Commented Jan 18, 2013 at 8:23
  • 1
    I would never do that unless it makes real sense. It makes sense that Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel are different products. It wouldn't make sense to separate editing spreadsheets and creating charts into separate applications. However, if it really makes sense to split applications from a user's perspective (and from a commercial perspective) you can do it.
    – user12741
    Commented Jan 18, 2013 at 8:35
  • +1. Especially for "never focus on the number of screens as a KPI" Too often these arbitrary numerical guidelines become goals in themselves to the detriment of why they were instigated in the first place. Commented Jan 18, 2013 at 10:33

The number of screens matters much less than that the user knows where they are, what they can do, and can get on with meeting their needs; this is a kind of wayfinding problem – so focus on making sure that each screen has value and that you're starting from a clear understanding of your users and their goals.


Yes, it matters for ease of use.

Last year I made a Usability test with two desktop software, both covering the same topic, and same workflow, but different product to be planned. It's a construction software. Test users were same personas and 8 in number. The only difference were the product, and because of some reasons, the total number of screens (less workflow). Each screen covers a specific step in workflow.

So the result was a 10 point better rate in SUS for the app with less screens. But this app had some major usability bugs in how to place objects, though. Imagine how surprised I was to see the better rating. My guess is: It is because of ease of use because of less screens because of less workflow.

  • And it matters on handheld devices. Too many screens enforce a complex navigation, which isn't suitable on handhelds.
  • Still you will have issues there and its not easy and recommendable to have high density UIs on handhelds like you could have on desktops.

I am really curious how complex apps like Photoshop will be with the new Win8 Modern Style as it is a very low-dense UI.

  • can you please add some elaboration on "was a 10 point better rate in SUS"? thanks.
    – kmonsoor
    Commented Jan 19, 2013 at 12:12
  • 1
    Sure, one was 68 SUS points, the other 78. SUS in a nutshell measuringusability.com/sus.php
    – FrankL
    Commented Jan 19, 2013 at 15:48
  • @FrankL Its an interesting and relatively more objective answer. Do you have any further experience of dealing with SUS when it comes to mobile devices?
    – ripu1581
    Commented Jan 21, 2013 at 7:51
  • @ripu1581 No sorry, no mobile app tested yet. My comments on mobile are based on common knowledge and I can't provide references for this. SUS is good for task-oriented desktop software. There is SUMI for web (sumi.ucc.ie/whatis.html), WAMMI for experience measurement (wammi.com/whatis.html) and one I find promising, but haven't used is AttrakDiff (attrakdiff.de/en/Home). This in correlation with ISO dialog priciples and gives you nice reports.
    – FrankL
    Commented Jan 21, 2013 at 11:34

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