Mobile apps that are unsuccessful have one thing in common– poor user experience. As mobile platforms continue to evolve and develop, it’s becoming increasingly important that the user experience remains top of mind.
A quick scan of the app store will prove that there is a lot of competition in the app market, which is why it’s more important than ever to stand out from your competition. There are a myriad of fast and responsive apps in the app stores that offer users a unique and valuable experience, however many still suffer from poor user reviews. Why is this? Most likely because users found it difficult to complete a task or were frustrated by poor usability.
Mobile app user experience (UX) is how someone feels when interacting with an app. UX encompasses a lot of different factors, some of which are under the control of a developer or designer and others that are based on preference. These factors include usability, accessibility, performance, design, utility, ergonomics, and marketing.
Understanding Your Users
The first thing to understand if you want to establish a great UX is that your users always come first. Understanding and meeting a specific groups of users’ needs will ensure that your app’s user experience is a success from a user’s standpoint.
A user persona is one of the most valuable tools to ensure a user-centered design. A persona is data derived from user online and offline behaviors, attitudes, pain points, and their needs and wants for a particular product, in our case, a mobile app. Rather than tailoring an app to meet the needs of a generic group of people, a persona is designed with a specific group of users in mind.
10 Best Practices to Improve Your Mobile App User Experience
For user experience, the first and arguably the most important thing to remember is that your app needs to be entirely error-free. If it crashes when a user is mid-task, it will be detrimental to the overall user experience. Once the app is error-free, you can focus on other important elements of the UX. This post highlights 10 important mobile app UX best practices ranging from user adoption to retention.
Onboarding is an essential component of the user experience that can either make or break the success of your app. If a user isn’t onboarded properly, app abandonment rates will skyrocket. There are a number of reasons why onboarding affects the user experience, but above all, it’s important to not confuse your user. For mobile app onboarding, you want to provide users with basic instructions. Too much information during the onboarding process will take away from the experience. You want to leave some parts of the app for the user to discover to boost retention rates. Simply demonstrate the value your app provides users but don’t go into too much detail explaining each feature.
Simple Login Screen
Your login should be simple and quick. It’s important to have a simple registration, allowing users to login from external accounts such as Facebook or Google. Only ask users for information that is needed. If the app doesn’t need access to the user’s phone number, for example, don’t include it because it will act as a barrier during the onboarding process. It’s also important to consider how easily the user will remember their username. If you ask for a new username, or one with many characters and numbers, they will likely forget it and not bother to recover their credentials. Instead, help them out by doubling their email as their username. It’s also a good idea to include an option that allows the user to stay logged in so that they can use the app more frequently, avoiding the extra step of logging back in.
Many people mistake user experience with usability. Although they depend on one another, they are fundamentally different. The UX is the experience, emotion, intuition, and connection a user feels when using an app. Usability is more about the effectiveness of a mobile app’s design and how user-friendly it is. Usability is a key component of the overall user experience.
Keep Menus and Navigation Simple
Designing a menu for a mobile app is much different than a website where the menu bar is typically located at the top of the page. You want to make sure the most important pages are accessible. Don’t confuse users with complicated navigation bars.
Make it Obvious
Users should know what a button does by how it looks. Make it clear to the user what can be selected or swiped. Follow design patterns to reduce the learning curve for users and to make the mobile experience more intuitive. Dedicated apps should follow platform-specific standards and guidelines for both iOS and Android.
Content on mobile is not the same as content on a website. Screens on mobile devices are much smaller which makes it difficult for users to view information. This may be a straightforward tip to follow, however, many people forget that a mobile app offers an entirely different experience than a website. You should present the most essential information. Use content to guide the user through your app, providing value along the way. You don’t need to cram everything onto the first screen. Users like the interactivity of mobile app design because they enjoy the satisfaction of self-initiated discovery.
Reduce Search Effort
Remove all barriers for users find the item they’re looking for, particularly for a retail app. Adding too many steps will deter the user from completing the checkout process. Additionally, it’s important that the search doesn’t come down to 0 results. Instead, show related items for the user to explore more products.
Limit User Input
Reduce the amount of effort a user has to input during the checkout process. Make it as easy as possible for users to complete a task and consider using autofill and reducing the number of fields the user needs to fill out. It’s also a great idea to offer a Guest Checkout option so that they don’t have to make a new account before purchasing a product. This streamlines the path-to-purchase and will directly impact conversion rates.
Assure Security and Trustworthiness
Include security badges to guarantee that users’ personal information is safe and secure. If a user feels that their personal information is unsafe, they will refrain from entering their credit card or other personal information. Ask your users before collecting their data, such as location (check out some tips on how to ask for location permissions), and allow them to opt out of targeted advertising.
Offering customer service is a simple yet overlooked element of the user experience. Make it easy for users to access help and support options. Users commonly look for help in the toolbar or menu of a mobile app. Also, you should offer multiple ways for users to receive support, including options relevant in a mobile context, such as self-serve FAQs, live support via click-to-call, and so on.
Listen to User Feedback
It’s important to think about your users’ pain-point when you’re initially developing your app, however, it’s just as- if not more important- to continuously gather feedback and iteratively improve your product. If you are continuously solving your users pain-points, your retention rates will skyrocket as a result.
Neglecting the mobile app UX can result in high user abandonment rates and ultimately negative reviews. To avoid common mobile app UX pitfalls it’s important to build an interaction-rich experience that will drive users back to your app time and time again.
By now you should understand that the user experience is not simply a phase in development, but a fundamental component of the entire mobile app development process. It’s important to partner with app development company that understands the importance of the user experience and can offer expertise to building the best experience for users.
As a Digital Marketing Specialist at Clearbridge Mobile, Britt writes about mobile app development, on topics ranging from mobile app ideation to market deployment, and beyond. As a content marketing enthusiast, she educates her audience on how mobile innovation is creating an avalanche of disruption in all industries.