What differentiates a successful mobile app from an unsuccessful one? It’s User Experience. With visual appeal, intuitiveness and easy functionalities, creating a compelling mobile app will be easier. In this article, I will share a few secrets for designing mobile apps that will be able to deliver a better user experience. Although some of these secrets may be common to websites, they will prove quite resourceful for designing mobile apps as well.
1. Opt for ‘device-first’ design
We live in the mobile age and stressing on mobile-first, device-first designs cannot be enough. To create unique user experiences, simply shrinking or compressing your desktop version to a mobile app is not enough. A well designed app comes with a good intent, good design and excellent execution. To design it, begin by thinking about building customer experience and eventually enhance the design by adding the right elements wherever appropriate. Visual hierarchy, proper call-to-action buttons, enlarged targets for touch, zero-hover effect are some key points to consider.
2. Know your users and their behaviour
You can never neglect your users, never ever! The way users will go through your app will not be similar to flipping the magazine pages or using a desktop website version. Mobile users include surfers- who browse to kill time without worrying about specific tasks or outcomes and information junkies- who look specifically for information and are concerned about the outcomes. If your users are surfers, offer them a faster access to information to keep them enticed to your app and if they are information junkies, allow them to complete their task in smaller steps by removing all unnecessary functionalities.
3. Minimum functionalities = maximum intuitiveness
App users use only a few functionalities out of all the ones that you have added in your app. Identify and include only those that are vital to make the app as intuitive as possible. Every function you add should help your users identify and complete the task. Sense the users’ intent and expose them with relevant possibilities so that they can interact with your app fluidly.
4. Greatest designs are the simplest
Remember to keep things simple. Users do not expect to read a manual for using your app. An app should do what it is supposed to do. You cannot use the web annotations in space constraint mobile phones, so opting for iconography will be a smarter move to make. The simpler the app, the easier it will be to use and the faster it will update.
5. Intelligent use of Human Computer Interaction
Through human computer interaction, a user generates tremendous amount of information compared to what an interface can actually capture. The generated data is user or environment functioned and is established on behavioural patterns as well. Factors like sound, movement, location, social networking, user intent and many others play a considerable role in maintaining the interaction.
Mobile phones, compared to any other device have an array of communication channels and sensors that allow faster capturing of data. You can use these features intelligently to improve the overall user experience through the app you are designing. Using the data given off by the user through their device is an intelligent way of developing interaction design for mobile apps. This will turn out to be a surprise element for the users, making their experience memorable and interesting.
6. Keep partial user attention and interruption in mind
One thing that is always going to stand in user’s way is the interruption while using mobile phones- be it from environmental surroundings or the phone itself. To handle these interruptions make sure you keep the app design simple with a clean interface. This will not only reduce the user’s cognitive load but will keep them engaged to your app.
While finding ways to keep your users away from disengaging, ensure that they can pick from where they left off earlier. If they are disengaged from your app due to a phone call or any other interruption, save their previous data or guide them by putting the context in line.
7. Let your designed app evolve with the mobile market
Even if you meticulously consider delivering commendable UX through your design, a few flaws may come up when your app is put to use in real time. If something does not work in a way you imagined it to work, do not hesitate to scale it down a little. Work on the glitches by going back to the design stage and find an alternative way to deliver it to the user.
Any designed app should be able to evolve and adjust with the evolving market. So, treat your app as a unit that evolves continuously. By combining data analytics, user feedback and smart technology, user experience of your app can be massively improved. It’s all about going with the flow and emerging in the ever changing market with something exceptional.
8. Lastly, trust your own experiences
Eventually, the major thing that sets mobile phones from desktop is its size, external/ internal features and space. Mobile phones give you very little scope to go overboard with your design and add all sorts of features and flaccid layouts. Even if you are designing mobile apps for the very first time, considering all these constraints will help you in following the best design practices. Your own experiences in developing user- centred design for websites will help you in developing an app that is as exceptional as it can be.