With an ever-growing supply of mobile apps, it takes a lot to stand out from the crowd—both in functionality and design. The vast majority of that time is spent in apps and on websites.
A good UI is the key to an app’s success. “Design is not just what it looks like or feels like,
design is how it works”.
An app with a good design doesn’t just mean an app that looks good but really, an app that delivers the results it promises in a smooth, seamless manner, guiding the user from one step to another with ease and reaching the destination, be it a sale, conversion, sign-up or download, without overwhelming the user.
The difference between a good app and a bad app is usually the quality of its user experience (UX). A good UX is what separates successful apps from unsuccessful ones. Today, mobile users expect a lot from an app: fast loading time, ease of use and delight during interaction. If you want your app to be successful, you have to Mobile app design, UX to be not just a minor aspect of design, but an essential component of product strategy.
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There are many things to consider when designing for mobile. In this article, I’ve summarized a lot of practical recommendations that you can apply to your design.
- REDUCED COGNITIVE LOAD
Cognitive load refers here to the amount of brain power required to use the app. The human brain has a limited amount of processing power, and when an app provides too much information at once, it might overwhelm the user and make them abandon the task.
The less friction and confusion users have when interacting with an app (e.g. the cognitive load), the better the chance that app stays around.
- CUT OUT THE CLUTTER
Clutter is terrible on desktop, but it’s far worse on mobile (simply because we don’t have as much real estate on mobile devices as we do on desktops and laptops). It’s essential to get rid of anything in a mobile design that isn’t absolutely necessary because reducing clutter will improve comprehension. The technique of functional minimalism can help you deal with the problem of a cluttered UI:
- Keep content to a minimum (present the user with only what they need to know).
- Keep interface elements to a minimum. A simple design will keep the user at ease with the product.
- OFFLOAD TASKS
Look for anything in the design that requires user effort (this might be entering data, making a decision, etc.), and look for alternatives. For example, in some cases you can reuse previously entered data instead of asking the user to type more, or use already available information to set a smart default.
- OPTIMIZED USER FLOW
Understanding how users interact with an app is essential for optimization. As designers and developers, we should understand the user’s goals in the context of the entire user flow. This knowledge will help us identify the most common friction points during task completion.
Here are few popular ways of optimizing user flow:
- Chunking for big tasks:If a task contains a lot of steps and actions required from the user’s side, it’s better to divide such task into the number of subtasks. One good example is progressive checkout flow in e-commerce apps. You can separate a checkout process in the number of steps each of them requires a user action.
- Use the information you already have about your users: You probably already have a lot of information about your users — you just need to use it properly. Consider example below — the app doesn’t ask the user about his/her location, it automatically detects the location based on geographic data. At that point, the user only needs to select a pickup location.
- USE FAMILIAR SCREENS
Familiar screens are screens that users see in many apps. Screens such as “Getting’s started,” “What’s new” and “Search results” have become de facto standards for mobile apps. They don’t require additional explanation because users are already familiar with them. This allows users to use prior experience to interact with the app, with no learning curve.
- MEANINGFUL ERROR MESSAGES
To err is human. Errors occur when people engage with apps. Sometimes, they happen because the user makes a mistake. Sometimes, they happen because the app fails. Whatever the cause, these errors and how they are handled have a huge impact on the UX. Bad error handling paired with useless error messages can fill users with frustration and could be the reason why users abandon your app.