When most businesses make the decision to go ahead and build a mobile app it generally isn’t a cheap one, because of this, you are going to want to follow best practices to help you avoid wasting time and money out of the gate. Leveraging best practices can help you increase ROI on your investment. Learn from the experiences of others and your app program will only be benefited.
These days, user experience (UX) design is crucial to building an app that benefits customers. Keep in mind that, UX design is not about creating attractive interfaces, it is about improving the user experience for those that choose to use your app.
Take advantage of the tips listed below to help position your app program for success.
Reduce the number of functions
When you are putting together your concept and working on wireframes you should plan on your application having one main function. If you look at most popular apps they are built with a main function in mind. For an app like the hugely popular Evernote, its function is to capture notes and digital content. It performs this function well and has been a staple in the app world because of this.
Many times when we first meet with clients they will have a large list of functions they want to include in their mobile app. If you can reduce the number of functions and focus on the key function, you will be able to reduce frustration on the user journey and also create a more streamlined and usable interface for your app. Having too many options will make decision making difficult for your users and lead to app abandonment
Perhaps you remember the Pareto Principle, which is more commonly called the 80/20 rule, this rule states that 80% of the results come from 20% of the inputs. This rule certainly applies when it comes to app design.
Most app developers find that around 80% of app’s use will come from just 20% of their app’s functionality. If you think about the apps you use, this should hold true. Do you use all of the app features of the apps on your phone? Or just focus on the core function(s)?
Use this information to improve the user experience of your application. Start by identifying the crucial functionality of your app and then work to make these functions as streamlined and easy to use as possible. Remove extraneous functionality that merely clutters up the experience and move less necessary components to the settings screen if they fit there. Look for any opportunity to streamline your app and improve the experience of the core functionality.
Remember user experience is not just about user interfaces
Businesses often think that user experience is just about creating attractive interfaces. While creating user interfaces is certainly part of user experience design, it is just a small part of a much larger field with broader goals. Designing a user interface is called user interface design. User interface design is a part of user experience design and it represents only a small portion of skills and techniques used within the UX field.
User experience is essentially about the relationship between people and technology. User experience designers will identify and design that relationship. As technology becomes more and more important to our modern lives, the role of UX design will become increasingly more important. Rather than just thinking about your app’s interface, think about the relationship between users and your app and how you can improve that experience.
Help users accomplish their intended tasks
When an app user opens your app they will do so to complete a specific task. Help your users complete that task as easily as possible. App users do not want to waste time, don’t slow them down with extraneous information that you think would be nice for them to have or clutter that gets in the way of the user experience. Review your app’s user experience and remove roadblocks that get in the way of users completing tasks.
When you are conducting your task analysis, you should make sure that you also consider the context and environment that the users will be in during use. This is a necessary part of the analysis to be able to give users a better experience completing their tasks. For example, if your app allows users to track their times while jogging or hiking, you will want to make sure your interface is higher contrast for outdoor use and make sure the buttons are large and easy to read as users may be looking for them while running.
Keep in mind that mobile users are usually not sitting at a desk focused on nothing else but your app. Talk to your users and find out where they are when they accomplish tasks on your app. Make sure you check for each task as they may perform different tasks in different environments.
There is no need to try and be unique in all aspects of your design. Leveraging familiarity helps promote rapid user adoption. For instance, when we open an app and see the familiar hamburger icon, most of us instantly know that is where we tap to find the menu.
The great thing about familiarity is that it leads to automatic responses. Just like how you know to step on an escalator, ride it up or down, and then step off, when your app’s users see familiar icons in your app they will automatically know what to do with them.
As humans, we have a natural tendency to seek the path of least resistance; this applies to digital experiences as well. By incorporating familiar icons and words, you allow your users to follow the most natural path to accomplish their task.
Pay attention to the details
Creating a favorable user experience that gives you an edge over your competition in today’s world requires a careful attention to the details. UX designers focus on carefully designing meaningful interactions and micro-interactions to help improve user experiences.
A micro-interaction is a contained moment that involves completing a single task. While micro-interactions may seem insignificant, you will find they are not to users. If properly designed, they can save time and frustration and improve the user experience. An example of a micro-interaction is when an app communicates feedback or the result of an action to the user.
A well designed micro-interaction will help facilitate interaction by providing feedback or instructions. When a user takes a step to accomplish an individual task you can help give them a sense of control when you let them see a result to their actions. Not only does this improve the experience but it can help prevent errors.