Not able to target elements on Native mobile pages when testing with Appium

So our tester is using Appium and setting up automated testing on our Android and iOS apps. He cannot seem to target the elements on the mobile pages. We've been using the element names (such as "actionButton1") and targeting them with findElement and then tried by name, by id, by xpath. They all seem to show the following error: "org.openqa.selenium.NoSuchElementException: An element could not be located on the page using the given search parameters. (WARNING: The server did not provide any stacktrace information)".  Any experiences with this? 
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