Once upon a time in 1983, when Steve Jobs was addressing the International Design Conference in Aspen (IDCA) he predicted a future where he said that Apple’s strategy is to “put an incredibly great computer in a book that you can carry around with you that you can learn how to use in 20 minutes”. Decades later, Job’s prediction was spot on!
The world would be a different place without all the mobile applications- chaotic and complicated. Contrastingly, the world is still a chaotic place because there are thousand of apps which ‘promise’ to deliver a better solution. Although there are a number of factors which constitute to the success of a mobile app, user experience (UX) has come out to be an undefeated champion.
Why, you ask?
Because if you look at the app store, you will notice one common thing among all five star rated applications- they all have been rated for an incredibly wonderful user experience. People swear by their ‘simple and intuitive’ design.
So what constitutes their arsenal?
Well, we can help you with a blueprint. Here are the six best strategies you need to implement which have stood the tides of time-
Quickly pivot on new inventions
If you were born in the 90’s you would remember that when Nokia came up with the ‘Snake’ game, they revolutionized the way mobile phones were used. Apart from sending texts and making calls, users could have fun too. So after this invention, the competitors neither stopped nor resented. They quickly pivoted on this ‘innovation’ and grabbed the market with colorful animated user ‘engaging’ games.
So always keep a check on what’s trending in the market and quickly pivot your innovations in that direction. Because stories have been retold over and over throughout the ages – still some are just better than others. Beauty and the beast was made 4 times, each one better than the previous.
Do the minimal
If you are designing for a mobile application, the first thing that should come to your mind is- people are struggling and are discontented with their current solution.
Because your competitor choked them with a plethora of options on a 5 inch screen and now they are confused. So if you want to grab their attention, reduce that load of information, keep the navigation easy and let the customer win. Avoid adding causeless elements. No one will ever complain that your app is too easy to understand. The platter should fit the customer appetite. No more, no less.
Ease out the on-boarding process
Remember your first flight? Remember the anxiety and excitement when the plane took off? But all of it eased up when the beautiful hostess gave you a step-by-step demonstration of ‘how-to-tie-your-seat-belt’ and ‘use-your-mask-in-case-of-emergency’.
Every new user who downloads your app should be treated in the similar manner. Demonstrate, how quickly they can start using the app. This will not only attract new users, but it will also retain your ‘sign-ups’. Provide multiple options for new registrations, collect only that data which is required (name, email ID etc.). Do not make them fill long registration forms. This will boost your sign-up rate by multitudes.
Chose the right color palette
Ever wondered why the ‘Delete’ button is always red and ‘Submit’ button is always green? Or why Facebook is all blue? The answer is color psychology. Colors are every designer’s musings. He/She might not a be a born artist but their creative eyes always catch the right meaning. However, here they need to make a judgment on the right usage of colors at the right place which will make a powerful impact and impress their users so that they keep coming back. Apply the Triune Brain model to your design and you will understand how human brain responds to different stimuli.
Although color is just one of the many factors which affects the overall aesthetic of your application, it’s an important one. For a quick reference, have a look at this giant color wheel to understand meaning of colors in different cultures. This will be useful when you are targeting a specific audience in a geographical location.
Adopt the personalization strategy
Mix, weigh, pay- Yes! It’s that simple at Menchie’s- the frozen yogurt shop. The Co-Founders wanted to make it personal where people can come in with friends and family, pick a cup and sprinkle their favorite flavors with marshmallows or hazelnuts, whichever they liked more.
People love getting pampered. So it’s important to add this flavor into your app. Keep a track of your user’s past behavior, frequent searches and interests. For example, if your user frequently purchases books online, then keep track of the genre. Personalize it with notification about the change in the price of the book, discount coupons and your recommendations from the same genre.
Always design keeping in mind your end users
If you are building an app, then you should be able to answer this question- “Which product’s users are you going to steal?”
That’s a mean thing to say, I know. But hey, you are doing business. Not charity.
But stealing a customer is not easy. You have to hit at the right spot. Start with the research- who is your target audience? Who are your competitors? What is it that you are trying to solve? In which areas you can beat your competitors?
Only after you realize your customer base, you would be able to create a better experience for them.
However complicated or simple your app’s various user-flows may be, but you have to design user-interface in such a way which makes it easier for your target audience to use the features designed for them and helps them take the correct action as per your app’s aim (for e.g. purchase, consume content etc.). That is when your app will succeed and that is when you did a commendable job. So do a proper user-research and talk to your design team about features and user-flows earlier in the development cycle.
Don’t ever sell your saddle to competition, the mad rat race of who becomes the millionaire. Empathize with your users, have a human side. Always follow good design principles, every time you sit down to design.
7. Don’t aim to shoot in the dark. Adopt app UX Analytics.
If are looking to build great app and be informed about weather your intended goals/requirements are being met or not, become a fan of analytics (like the one Google Analytics offers) and start looking at the bigger picture.
Here’s a good example. Say, Google Analytics shows that a user is not able to register a new account with your mobile-app. So now you know where your users dropped off the ‘Signup’ screen. But is that enough? After putting so much effort in designing, would you not like to dive deeper into your user’s problems and why they couldn’t finish important processes (such as registration or cart checkout)?
Adopting UX analytics will provide you with a ‘why’ and the points of friction while interacting with the app. It will also provide you with touch heatmaps, i.e. where you are able to gain attention of your user or which call-to-action (CTA) button needs to be shifted a few pixels down in order to get user’s attention.
To conclude, building a mobile app is nothing like ‘one-size-fits-all’. Building a great application depends on a lot many other factors depending upon the business you do. You can get away with building less number of features but not without a great user experience.
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