Today, mobile devices are used for every single purpose that you could possibly imagine. Right from performing daily tasks, to taking control of electronic devices in your house, users want to have all the power in their hands, and fulfill all their needs without much effort. However, it is not always the case when a user arrives on a mobile app, enters a few inputs, and the job is done.
In some cases, when users arrive on an app, they have a tough time either finding the inputs or even if they do so they find it difficult to operate the same. In fact, a sign-up/login screen is so tricky sometimes that users are left with no choice than to operate it on desktops. Clearly, mobile apps and mobile websites, are not optimized even today from a user input perspective.
Merely accessing content is just not enough. If users cannot utilize the content to their advantage, by tapping on their smartphone keypad, then everything is in vain. Here are some of the best practices that you can implement in order to enhance your app inputs for an optimal use.
#1. Let your app allow relevant ‘keyboards’
You might have observed different types of keyboards present by default on your smartphone. Their main purpose is to kill user’s pain in typing text and saving their valuable time by automatically suggesting words or phrases. Why not let your app utilize this feature to the maximum. It can definitely redefine the entire user experience, letting it from good to great.
As an example, offering only an alphabet keyboard in the name field, and a numeric keyboard in the phone number field, of your sign up form, helps users to get rid of the pain they go through when switching between keyboards.
#2. Have ‘labels’ placed above the fields
Often many times do you see labels placed beside form fields (usually on the left side). Although it is a good practice, the only problem with it is the form fields compromise greatly on text inputs, as character spacing is replaced by the labels. This leads to limited characters, truncating the input text. Especially, with a small mobile real-estate, this could pose one hell of a big problem. It is always better to have labels situated above the form fields, bringing in clarity as well as allowing for long inputs.
As an example, assume that your name is too long. However, due to the label occupying a major section, you have to cut short your name. What kind of thoughts will you have then? You might consider this as an inability of the app, to acknowledge your inputs in its fullest form.
#3. ‘Social’ login integration is a must have
Imagine signing up for an app, by filling up lengthy details, which you have done a number of times before, in your social networking accounts and other apps. It is better to have social login integrated so that users do not have to go through the pain of signing up again.
Social logins cut down the pain of a tedious login process. In addition, it also helps in collecting social statistics of users, delivering an enhanced experience, saving the app, in frustrating users. So, next time when a user opens the same app, the app is completely aware of what is going on with the user through their social profile, and displays things accordingly, to make the app even more interesting for the users.
#4. Make best use of ‘auto-complete’ and ‘default’ features
If most users using your app belong to the US, your app definitely makes sense if the default country is set to US. This might seem small. However, think about it. If you belong to the majority audience, how cumbersome it would be to access the US from the drop down list, especially when the drop down list is far too long with almost every country covered.
Most travel-based companies make the best use of the auto-complete feature in their mobile web, or mobile app. A user searches for different destinations, to plan his/her holiday. Imagine, what a pain it would be to search the same destination again, after a series of searches. The auto-complete feature saves all the searches of a user, and fills all the information automatically, when a user goes through the same searched destinations again.
#5. ‘Shortcuts’ be made available wherever possible
Insert shortcuts within your app, wherein an activity need user inputs every single time, while the app is accessed. As an example, you need to type your username and password every time for logging into the app. If your app can remember the login details, it will work every time, enabling you to login with a single tap.
Voice commands, or controls, help users to operate the app solely through voice controls. You need to use your hands to access functionalities within your app. Just say out loud whatever activity you need to perform, and let the app do it for you. The most famous Siri app in iOS, works exactly in this way, whereby Siri acts as a personal digital assistant, following voice commands and executing the same.
#6. Offer an app ‘trial’ with minimal inputs
Why would a user bother to download your app? What value is being offered by the app? Offering the users to try out the app before actual use, is a great way to collect their details, and focus on customer retention for a longer term.
Maybe your friends have recommended a specific app to you, or you have read good things about an app. You would certainly like to check out what the buzz is all about. Let your app provide a walk through with the manual as well as features, and ask for a trial use in between all along the way.
Collecting only email addresses for an app trial use, is a great way to connect and stay in touch with your user base. This way, users can provide their details only when they get accustomed with the app. In addition, they just need to provide their email, in order to use the app for a limited time.
Images: ”Corporate user is pressing USER INPUT on a virtual touch screen interface. Information technology concept for security issues and challenges relating to the entry of data into processing systems. /Shutterstock.com“
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