Hundreds of mobile apps are getting launched in the app stores every day. In 2016 alone, there were around 1.25 million apps which got published via Play store alone and around 5 Million apps are already present in the market.
Studies reveal that 90% of all downloaded apps are used only once and then eventually deleted by users. There are many reasons behind this, but the first and foremost reason is “Poor User Experience.”
“The average app loses 77% of its daily active users within the first 3 days post-install.” — Andrew Chen
Who will go on the second date, if the first date is not awesome?
So, What are the factors which influence the UX of a mobile application and how can the UX be improved? Below are few things I learned from my research.
Sounds crazy, but actually, the “Onboarding” is also like a date, which helps the users to adopt and fully embrace a product successfully. It’s very similar to have a date with someone. First Impression is the best
impression. So make your first date with your user as endearing as possible.
“Any user onboarding is all about psychology: the early feeling of success and accomplishment will make the user come back”. — Jane Portman
Onboarding can be any form such as Slides or Videos, Interface tour, helpful tips and so on. But to make the onboarding as more attractive, can follow the tips given below:
- Show less, provide more
- Trigger positive emotions
Know your users
To build an app with great UX, you should know your audience. Before starting the wireframe, ask yourself the following questions:
- Who is the targeted user?
- Are they experienced or beginners?
- When they use this app?
- Where they use this app?
- What they need, to complete their goal?
If the above questions are clear, you can start thinking about the User Journey. It will be good to start drawing the user’s journey first (even on paper is fine). Always the navigation should be smooth and straightforward, don’t ask users to dig out information. The KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid) can be used to achieve the desired results.
“But once the user logs into the app, they’re often left alone. They start drowning instead of swimming towards their goal”. — Jane Portman
So the user journey should be defined initially, before starting work on wireframes. But most of the developers skip this significant step.
Jonas Downey, Designer at Basecamp, wrote in his blog post, “A quick way to measure a designer’s maturity is to watch what they do at the beginning of a project. Inexperienced designers are often smitten by the allure of new tools and quick results, so they’ll jump into Photoshop or Sketch and start messing with layouts and style explorations. Seasoned designers know this can be distracting, so they might start by doing research or drawing in a paper sketchbook instead.”
People will fall in love with you based on your attitude, the way you speak and the way you interact. Similarly, the design needs to be more interactive with the user. Better interaction will improve the user attention. According to DesignModo, “Interaction design is a process in which designers focus on creating engaging web interfaces with logical and thought out behaviors and actions. A successful interactive design uses technology and principles of good communication to create desired user experiences.”
“Great Designs Should Be Experienced and Not Seen.” — Jared M. Spool
Follow the tips below to design a good interface for your app:
- Don’t ignore standards — Design principles for Android, iOS, and Windows. If we follow the standards properly, then most of the UI issues will be solved.
- Focus on User Goals — Avoid unrelated inputs. Eg: Unless the date of birth or complete address is needed, don’t ask the user to fill all the details in their profile. If we get some inputs from the user, then it should be used somewhere in the system. In this fastest world, everyone is looking for the shortest way to finish a transaction.
- Good Feedback — The real world gives feedback very fast. Similarly, your app should provide the response to any action by the user.
- Pop the button and snap back on tap — but not too much.
- Show loading animation if the user needs to wait for something to get finished.
- Show some warning message if the user does something wrong.
- Give a virtual high-five when I do something, you and I agree is awesome. (Thanks, MailChimp)
- Use negative space (white space) positively — After complete onboarding, the end-user sometimes feels like deserted or hits a dead-end. This happens when we see some blank page without having any hint or clue about what to do next. The context always matters. How does this sound? “You don’t have any friends.” Instead, tell the user how great it’ll be here later with friends in place, and provide a hint about how to get them.
- Graphics and Animations — Adding graphics and animation will attract the users and will also improve the UX. Images and graphics will leave a visual trace in the user’s memory, which is not easy to achieve with text alone. But you should make sure that the transition is seamless.
Some samples of interactive design:
Often I experience the frustration of accidentally hitting the wrong button, and ending up on a random screen.
Research says that around 49% of users just use one hand to hold the mobile devices. Among which around 75% of peoples interact with mobile using their thumb. So while holding the device with one or two hands, it was the thumb that doing all the work. The below graph shows the thumb zones and its accessibility.
Luke Wroblewski, Product Director at Google, wrote in his blog post,
“When designing for mobile today, it’s worth considering a 4-5.5 inch smartphone, in portrait (vertical) orientation, being used with one-thumb. Of course, their many variants as well but making sure your mobile experiences work well in this context is a great baseline to start from.”
Know your colors
We are in the world where people judge a book by its cover. The dress you wear will introduce itself to others. Your dressing contributes to half the impression. So choosing the right color for your app is crucial. Each color conveys different meanings and emotions. So the color scheme plays a critical role in user experience. You can find the common color trends of mobile app design (here).
According to marketo.com, if you look at the top 100 brands in the world you begin to see a trend in color use. Color influences purchasing decisions, making it important to note that 29% of the world’s top brands use red, 33% use blue, 28% use black or grayscale and 13% use gold or yellow. Even Google did not place much importance on color within apps earlier, other than a white background with minimal color tints on icons. But now with the Material design, it makes a massive turnaround. So think about the context of your app and choose the right color.
So what do you think?
How can we improve the usability of a mobile application?
Share your views in the comments section.