Mobile apps have come a long way from the early days of the smartphone. Once considered more of a cool feature of having a smartphone, most users now depend on apps for so much. People use apps for a variety of communication needs, entertainment, organization, wellness, shopping, navigation, and so much more.
With tough competition in the app stores, UX is critical for building a loyal user base. If today’s app users find any fault with the UX, they know that they can probably find a competing app that will serve them better. That is why iPhone app developers spend so much time and effort refining the UX of every app.
While there are no shortcuts to creating an awesome UX, the following tips can help any designer deliver a better experience.
Design for Fingers
You are not designing for a desktop device with a mouse. People use their smartphones with their fingers. You need to create interactive elements that can be used with easy taps and swipes. Make sure the buttons are big enough to click and that there is enough space between interactive elements to avoid mistaken inputs.
Beyond that, you also need to consider how people hold their phones. About 49% percent of smartphone users prefer to hold their phone in one hand using a single thumb to press buttons. There are also 36% of users who cradle the phone in one hand and use the other hand to interact with the device. Only about 15% of users hold the phone with both hands while using both thumbs.
It’s a Small Screen
You don’t have a lot of space to work with on a smartphone screen. If you load the screen up with content and different interactive elements, it can make for a cluttered, confusing experience. Consider the purpose of the screen and only include the necessary content and elements to help you and your users achieve the goals of that screen. Other features and functions can be on different screens. You can also allow for more options in menus or the click of a button can expand the options to make things cleaner and more organized.
Make it Easy to Navigate
People download apps to make their lives easier. They do not want to install an app and then feel like they are learning a new skill or a new language. With thoughtful design, you can make the navigation of the app obvious. Follow designs for UI screens that will be familiar to the user. Take common UI elements that are in a lot of apps so users see them and already know what they do. As an example, you could use a button that looks like a house to direct them back to the home screen of the app.
Know the User
Most apps have a target user or a few different target groups. If you want to make an app your users like, you need to know them and understand what they want. Take the time to develop personas for the different people who will use your app. Perform user research and get to know what they want from an app like yours.
Along with knowing the user, you should also consider the context in which the app is used. The same user might have different expectations depending on how and why they might use an app. As an example, the same user may have very different expectations when they use a fitness app in their free time as compared to a productivity app they use for work.
Do the Work for Them
Take as much work off the user as possible. People want to be able to achieve their goals quickly and with as little effort as possible. If you can take a step out of a process or make something a little easier, you should do it. As an example, if they need to fill out fields, have it automatically populate with as much information as possible. If users need to enter numbers, have the app bring up a numeric keypad instead of the qwerty keyboard. Simple steps like that can make for a much more enjoyable user experience.
As a final tip, test as much as you can. Even with all the best practices and top tips, you never know how good a UX is until it is in the hands of real users.
[Image source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/apple-office-internet-ipad-38544/]