Like web design, app design can be tackled from many angles and results can vary. Some apps will look fantastic but fail to deliver results; some may have a poor design experience but make millions of £s. There is a fine balance of user experience vs design vs functionality when designing apps. Here are 6 principles that we use to guide us into creating the most successful apps for both their users and the businesses that own the apps.
- App Navigation And Exploration
- In-App Search
- Driving E-Commerce Conversions With Smooth Transactions
- Making Your App’s Registration Process Seamless
- Simplifying Your App’s Form Entry Processes
- Focus On An App’s Usability And Comprehension
As a Mobile App Designer, it’s important to understand how much attention span the average mobile app user has. Often this attention span is less than a minute of time. According to research undertaken by the Nielsen Norman Group, "Users often leave Web pages in 10–20 seconds, but pages with a clear value proposition can hold a person’s attention for much longer.” So within the overall design of an app, it’s important to show its’ value upfront. Giving the user what they expect to receive straight away will help to keep them engaged.
Organising an app’s navigation buttons and menus should take into account the user journey. How easy is it to find what the user is likely to be looking for? How easily can a user re-trace their steps with a clear back button? Much like websites, reducing the amount of swipes, clicks and button presses in an app will increase conversion rates. The experience of navigating an app should be as seamless as using a website.
Users appreciate being able to find relevant content in the quickest amount of time possible. Providing a prominent search bar within the app, ideally on the home screen is the best way to support this behaviour. People by nature are lazy or pushed for time as they are often on-the-go when using apps. Paul Boag, User Behaviour Expert of Boagworks describes the nature of people stating that “they don’t care about using your app or website, they only care about the result it delivers.” He also explains that app users will “always choose the easiest option, so if we want a competitive advantage we must focus on simplicity”. This emphasizes how important it is to provide the most relevant features where users expect to find it – in the search bar. The functions displayed on the app’s search bar should be well organised and include options for the user to filter the results, to minimize scrolling.
People will be more likely to become repeat users of your app if you make them feel that you care about the authenticity of your content. If users feel you’re providing them with all the necessary information they need to inform their decision making processes, they’ll appreciate it, and will reward you with more app use and more purchases. Reward your users for being loyal to the app by providing previous search and purchase information, allowing them to see both good and bad reviews by other customers. To instil even more confidence in your users, if you have a shopping app, you can allow users to make price comparisons with other sites.
When it comes to checking-out, a good mobile app will offer users several methods of payment that are clear and easy to follow, with the option of securely retaining card or bank details to allow one-click transactions in the future. The easier it is to pay, without really thinking about it or taking time to type in details, the much more likely it is that someone will impulse buy.
When asking users to register on your mobile app, it’s important that you don’t make your sign-up forms seem too intrusive. Provide users with reasoning of why you are asking them for specific information, i.e “We ask for your date of birth so that we can send you birthday discounts”. Being transparent about data handling will gain your users’ trust.
When it comes to accessing data on a user’s phone, such as the “settings” or “photos”, ask them for permission in context, rather than all at once. Nick Babich, Editor in Chief UX Planet explains “In most cases, if a new user experience begins with a set of permission requests, you may be missing a critical opportunity to engage users. Apps should ask for permissions in context and communicate the value the access will provide. Because once users are engaged, they could be more likely to accept your requests.”
Another key element of a well-designed app registration process goes back to our earlier point about human behaviour. By providing the ability to save passwords in a world where everything requests a password, one-touch login can be the difference between a user signing in or not bothering to use your app. Yes, as a species it really is that much of a deterrent. Therefore, make it a frictionless experience.
Nobody enjoys filling out forms but, collecting data and user preferences on a form can be a crucial element fora business to be able to understand who its customers are. To encourage users to fill out in-app forms fully, you need to communicate errors to the users in real time, match the keyboard with the required text inputs and provide helpful information that explains exactly what you need from them. Where possible try to offer multiple choice selections, instead of asking the user to type in their information – we all know how tiny those Smartphone keyboards are!
A well-thought-out app provides users with several different language translations to choose from – taking into account our international society and eliminating important features of your app being “lost in translation”. Another way to support international communication clearly is through using visual keys to clarify visual information, such as a question mark for the help pages. Symbols can be a very useful and often universal communication tool. When users interact with symbols within your app, giving them a response to make them aware their significant action was effective, can help them to see that the app is working well.
A further important feature of any app is to allow users to control the level of zoom for optimal viewing experience, no matter what size screen they have, so that it’s not too fiddly to use such symbols and buttons.
There’s a lot to think about when creating the perfect app for your business, so this is why we recommend working with an experienced team of Mobile App Developers who will have a framework in mind, to help you plan and develop your app’s features and user experience, getting the best return on your investment.