When it comes to mobile UX design, the two most important aspects are how useful the app is and how easy it is to use. If an app isn’t useful, then it won’t provide any practical value to the user and no one will use it. If an app is actually useful but has a really steep learning curve, then users will switch to an app with a simpler design. And a good design is one that tackles both of these issues head on.
A mobile app has to be user-centric. In most cases, users will install an app because they require the services offered by said app, which has a clearly defined purpose. However, this purpose can easily be overlooked by the average user if the app’s UI isn’t clear enough and straight forward. Every part of the interface needs to be easily recognizable, even for those who’ve only just installed it. So here are 9 crucial UX tips for creating an outstanding mobile user experience.
According to a research from 2015, a people spend around 85% of their time using apps, as opposed to using mobile web. And the most important aspect of mobile user experience is the mobile UI. There are numerous different elements that go into app UI, such as buttons, color, pop-up keyboards and even the difference in screen sizes of devices on which the app will be installed. Two of the biggest tech giants, Apple and Google have published specific guidelines aimed at mobile app developers. These guidelines are regularly updated and they represent a unification of mobile UI in order to provide the users with a seamless user experience across all apps.
Adequate color selection
There’s an entire field of science which explains the use of color and the impact it has on grabbing user’s attention, conveying a specific message or selling a product or a service. Certain colors can make us react in a specific way, and mobile app developers have been taking advantage of this fact by using colors which rank high in conversion rates (such as red and green) to color the CTA or call-to-action buttons. But have in mind that the use of a specific color scheme depends on the demographic, location and the culture these colors are being used in.
Minimal UI design
Minimal UI design is one of the trends which have been growing quite a lot over the last couple of years. It can be applied to almost every part of the application, ranging from registration screens, in-app purchases, placing orders, etc. The main principle behind the minimal design to only give the users information that is needed at that specific time. The key is to smoothly introduce the app to the user and avoid bombarding them with a ton of information they may or may not end up using.
Use of Splash Screens
Splash screens are those launcher images which provide the user with instant feedback that an app is launched and loading. Both Apple and Google recommend the use of splash screens to simulate quick loading times, and even Facebook is using it on their official app. The splash screen itself is only visible for a short amount of time while the app is launching or loading specific resources. If the time it takes for your app to launch is less than 10 seconds than a splash screen is a way to go. However, if it takes more than 10 seconds to launch, then the best course of action is to use a progress indicator.
The onboarding experience
You know that saying, the first impression is the last impression? This is especially true when it comes to onboarding. When executed properly, onboarding follows the users around the app once they’ve installed it and provides them with information on how to use a specific part of the app. This is called progressive onboarding, and it’s an excellent solution for apps which have hidden functionalities, multiple sections or have gesture-driven interfaces. Poorly executed onboarding, however, can quickly distance the user from the app, resulting in a loss of revenue.
Removing the clutter
A properly design mobile app needs to grab, hold or direct the user’s attention where it wants it to be. The cluttered interface can easily distract the user from the parts they should be focusing on. The most efficient rule used to combat clutter is to have one, and only one primary action per screen and any information that is not absolutely necessary to that primary action need to be removed. Every button, image, video or a line of text needs to have a specific purpose on its own, or in relation to the task at hand. Many developers fail to catch the user’s attention immediately and research shows that 26% of apps get uninstalled after very first use.
Make the navigation as simple as possible
Good mobile navigation has to be coherent, consistent and able to indicate the current location. It doesn’t matter how many great features an app has if the user doesn’t know how to access them quickly. This is why navigation needs to have proper visual signifiers which don’t require any additional information to be understood. Not only that, but it needs to be consistent throughout the app and not hidden behind different buttons and menus. The users need to know where they are at any moment during their use of the app.
Use the analytics data to further improve the app
App UX analytics help the app developers understand how users interact with the app. This data includes touch heatmaps and user recordings, which are far more insightful than the traditional, Google Analytics. Where Google Analytics can provide you with the information that you’re experiencing a major drop of the rate during the registration screen, UI analytics can, for example, show you that this is due to an issue with creating an account with Google. This doesn’t only explain the drop off in users, but also shows you the part of the UX responsible for this issue.
More than a half of internet traffic comes from mobile devices. Having an app which represents your business has become a real necessity and with so many apps available on the internet, you need to make sure that your app is made following the proper guidelines to ensure that the users actually keep using it after they’ve installed. There is no sure proof for creating an excellent first-time experience but these are just some of the tips you can use to make the most out of your app development experience.
Written by Sam Cyrus, CEO and co-founder of agseosydney.com.au.