It is common knowledge nowadays that the mobile app ecosystem is literally overflowing with apps. As per the latest statistics, the number of mobile app downloads all over the world will cross the 260 billion mark by 2022 (source: statista.com). At the current rate, it is obvious that already there are more apps per human than it is humanly possible to use. Interestingly, not all mobile apps are lapped up by the users, and it is only a few most wanted apps that are dominant in the market.
In such a scenario it is no wonder that most apps that users download are used once or twice before they are discarded. But how to make the users stick with your app? Maybe you have put in all the latest features in your app, done proper app store optimization, used the best code to enhance the performance of your app…yet you find users are bouncing from it after the first user session. If this is the case, then the problem may lie in your app’s User Experience.
What Is UX?
User Experience, fondly called UX, refers to the response your app elicits from your users. User Experience is often confused with UI, which is the User Interface. While UI is no doubt a large subset of UX, the two are by no means the same thing. Before venturing on to explore more about UX, it is best at this juncture to clearly understand the difference between the two concepts, and what scope they occupy in the design and development of a mobile app.
Distinguishing Between UI And UX
Both UX and UI are integral parts of the mobile app design and development process, yet fundamentally there are many differences between the two concepts.
UI is largely inclined towards the appearance of the app. UI design mostly concerns itself with how the app will look to the user. The design of UI covers multiple visual connotations such as the colors and themes to be used for the different screens of the app, the menu styles, the size and type of font that should be used for the app, and the layout of the different interactive elements within the app window. Largely, UI design is a visual aspect in which mobile app development services employ the expertise of graphic designers who are trained to handle the various aspects of interface design.
UX, on the other hand, is a broader term which essentially deals with how the user reacts to the experience of using your app. UX design is an intensive process that involves understanding the needs the customer wants to fulfill by using the app. Then the app’s interaction wireframe is designed, based on which feature –sets are decided and included in the app.
The core target of UX design is to improve the interactive process between the user and the app, thereby increasing customer satisfaction by enhancing the usability and contentment in utilizing the app.
So the bottom line is this: while UI deals with how an app should look, UX tackles how an app should feel. With this in mind, let us now explore some common pitfalls in mobile app design.
Trying To Replicate Websites
One of the most fatal mistakes that you can make while designing the UX of your app is trying to replicate the features of your website in the app. This will almost always result in an abysmal user experience. The features and format that your website may be able to successfully utilize will just not work on the mobile platform, and you’ll end up delivering a shoddy user experience. Be careful to never design the UX of your app based on how your website functions. If possible, employ the help of a top mobile app development company to help you design your app’s UX.
Ignoring The User
It may be surprising to note that a common UX design mistake stems from ignoring the user altogether. Often, inexperienced UX designers try to incorporate all the latest UX trends into the design of the app, only to forget the person who will be using it.
To avoid this pitfall, always keep in mind that your app will ultimately be used by a human being, and thus should be created so that it responds well to the needs of the person concerned.
Improper Audience Analysis
No UX design should begin without proper target audience analysis. Before you even start to begin the design process of your UX, the first step should always be to perform a detailed analysis of your desired demographic and understand what they need from your app. Unless you do this first you are bound to deliver a UX which will not resonate with your users, thus leading to your app being ultimately uninstalled. So make sure you work closely with your mobile app development agency and invest serious time and effort towards user analysis.
Overabundance Of Unnecessary Features
Another mistake that you may make while designing the UX of your mobile app is to overcrowd it by stuffing in all features under the sun. Most people do it under the misconception that the more the number of features an app has the more users it will be able to attract. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
By stuffing your app with every feature imaginable you will only end up confusing and frustrating the users. They will not be able to use the app as they will feel confused regarding the very purpose of the application. This is sure to drive them away from it.
Avoid this pitfall by integrating only those features into your app which are absolutely essential. To understand which features are needed, you need to perform proper user analysis as mentioned above. Ideally, you should employ professional mobile app development services to guide you in this matter.
Inadequate Competitor Analysis
Along with target audience analysis, you must not ignore proper competitor analysis. Not analyzing what your competitors are doing right or wrong can harm the performance of your app in the long run. Take careful stock of the UX points of your competitors and see how you can improve on them. This will help you to create an app that will score more points than those of your rivals.
Mistaking UI Design For UX Design
Both UI and UX are important facets of the mobile app development process. However, confusing the UX with UI, and thinking that creating a stunning UI automatically translates to a rich UX is another common mistake many app designers commit. As mentioned above, UI is only a subset of the UX design process. Proper UX design should encompass all facets of the application ranging from feature-set, algorithm, and code, app architecture, marketing, and even customer service. Most mobile app development services agree that all these factors, and more, contribute towards delivering a UX that solidifies the position of the app in the minds and hearts of users.
Longer Loading Times
Bloating your app with unnecessary features and heavy visual content can slow down the speed of your app to a large degree. This will certainly contribute towards turning users away from your app. This is the era of multitasking, and users want the flexibility to quickly and efficiently switch between different apps on their devices. Hence it is imperative to take care and not include features that will result in a slow-loading app.
Push notifications are a good channel of marketing if used judiciously. However, in excess, they become nothing but a source of annoyance. No user wants to constantly react to notifications thrown at them by your app. It will irritate them and make for a very poor user experience. So it’s best if you hire the services of a top mobile app development company and work with them to chalk out a proper strategy for notification based marketing and promotions.
The navigation map and architecture of a mobile app go a long way towards deciding the level of user experience and satisfaction. While a properly navigable and well structured application is sure to retain users and generate more downloads, a poorly designed app with shoddy navigational features will not be able to deliver a UX on par with industry standards. Hence care should be taken to make sure that the app in question is well structured and built around common usage statistics and behavior patterns.
Don’t Follow The Crowd
Sure, that app released last year was a huge hit. But that does not mean your app should blindly copy its features and incorporate its looks. It is tempting to imitate the most successful players in one’s niche; in fact, there is no harm in taking suggestions from the UX of your top competitors. But that should not be a reason for forsaking the uniqueness of your app. To make sure your app stands out from the rest of the crowd, consider employing the services of a mobile app development agency to help you.
Last But Not The Least…
Don’t ignore feedback. Not paying proper attention to user feedback can be disastrous for any mobile app. UX design is a collaborative effort that must involve the active participation of all stakeholders involved in the development of a mobile app. Keeping the above points in mind will help you, or any top mobile app development company, to design apps that deliver a smashing UX.
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