Businesses and mobile app developers are all working to improve the engagement and usefulness of their mobile apps in order to enhance not only the success of their app but their business as well. Often businesses are held back from mobile success by not understanding the specific characteristics of the mobile market. Without taking the specifics of mobile into account, it is hard to design and develop apps that are engaging to users.
With a mobile user base that is rapidly becoming more and more demanding of quality user experiences, user experience design has become an important part of the mobile app development world. User experience (UX) design can make your mobile app easier to use, improve conversion rates and increase customer loyalty. While many companies do not have a UX designer on staff, you can still make good use of these UX design techniques to improve your mobile app.
#1. Design for your audience
Designers are a group of people that generally take a great deal of pride in their work. They typically want to take almost any opportunity to show off their creative abilities, but when it comes to mobile apps, it is better to focus on creating a functional user interface with a great user experience than it is to try and show off your design skill. Mobile interfaces should be designed with the intent of helping users accomplish their goals.
UX designers will focus on ease of use and enhancing functionality over gaudy adornments and visual splendor. More than ever before, design is now user-focused. Your goal should be to solve problems for your audience. Most consumers prefer simple and engaging interfaces that address the needs of the situation and allow them to proceed in intuitive ways.
Addressing the needs and behaviors of your target audience, along with maintaining ease of use, are crucial aspects of successful mobile app design. To help you do this, you will want to make sure you put yourself into the users’ shoes and consider them at every step. There are several tools that can help you do this such as developing personas or customer journey maps.
Additionally, you will want to identify all the pain points in your existing mobile app and find better ways of meeting your customers’ needs. Testing prototypes of wireframes or visual designs can be a great way to eliminate items that add friction to the user experience before you have invested in coding and development. Utilizing A/B testing of various design elements such as layouts, colors, buttons, text, text styles, images, and other items can help you find the right combination to improve conversion rates.
#2. Design specifically for mobile
Don’t make the mistake that many businesses do of just copying their website when designing a mobile app. A mobile app is different and you must consider how people use mobile apps when designing yours. Not all digital experiences are the same.
When accessing the internet on a personal computer you will spend time browsing to satisfy a curiosity you have. But when it comes to mobile there is general a more specific intent in mind, where you grab your smartphone and do a quick search. Mobile users are typically on a quick hunt for specific information and will wait and do more time-consuming browsing type activities when at the comfort of their personal computer. This type of behavior should be considered when designing your mobile app.
Additionally, you want to consider technical issues specific to mobile, such as screen size, screen resolution, loading speed, etc. Clutter-free, light-weight designs make a positive impact on mobile screens and help address issues not only related to technical issues but also those created by user behavior patterns. Make sure you focus on creating an app with a quick loading speed that utilizes best practices for mobile design such as adequately sized tap targets.
#3. Avoid unnecessary features
It is not uncommon for businesses to pack too many features in their app. While they usually think more is better, when it comes to mobile apps, this is definitely not the case. Many apps are crushed under the weight of useless features that are never used and only seem to get in the way of users accomplishing their objectives.
To decide which features are right for your audience, you first need to get to know your target market. Why do they come to your app? Is there a specific feature that they want from your app? Once you are able to understand what they want, focus on that. Eliminate unnecessary features so they are not distracting users. It is better to have two or more apps that are streamlined, focused and easy to use than it is to have one that resembles a Swiss Army Knife.
Once you have decided on the important feature or features, facilitate your target audience accomplishing their intended task(s). Great mobile apps tend to do one thing and they do it really well.
#4. Utilize whitespace
The use of whitespace is an important part of good design. Whitespace lets the reader’s eyes take a rest in between visual elements. It also allows you content to be presented in a manner that is more engaging to your audience. Humans tend to be very visual beings and when presented with too many elements it can create a cluttered, confusing impression. By utilizing whitespace properly it not only encourages users to read your content but it also improves retention.
Utilize whitespace around headlines and text to improve readability; this is essential these days as most readers will quickly scan the text for important points and keywords. Adding whitespace around buttons will make them stand out and make them easier to tap on small mobile device screens. Try to reach a nice balance where your content is nicely formatted yet users don’t have to scroll endlessly on your application.
#5. Don’t force users to register if not necessary
When designing your mobile app, ask yourself if it is absolutely essential to force the user to register. In studies, one of the leading causes of shopping cart abandonment is being forced to register for an account. If at all possible, allow users to use your app without having to sign up for an account. By forcing users to register, especially when it isn’t necessary, you are increasing the number of abandonments your app will have.
If it is necessary to force a user to register, make sure you let the user know the value of doing so. Additionally, make the sign-up process feel like a natural action and not something that is forced. If you able to not force users to register and offer content that those users can engage with before registering, they are able to see the value of your application before signing up. Showing users this value first will increase the number of people registering for your app.