May 19 2016

Mobile App Design: Improving the User Experience

When it comes to designing mobile apps, there’s a lot of things to worry about. These things range from the app’s marketing to its price point. However, all of this is meaningless if it doesn’t provide easy for the average user to understand and operate. This is why designing with the user in mind is so important. Fortunately, there are four basic things that designers can do to improve the user experience.

Know The Importance of Color

One of the most overlooked aspects of mobile design is your use of color. Be sure to research your particular regional demographic to discover what they respond to–for instance, The Next Web points out that Chinese consumers respond well to bright colors on mobile apps due to the prominent use of the color red in Chinese websites, so including such bright colors in a mobile experience for a Chinese demographic is a must. Color is also important to drive sales, such as using red and green coloring to get more customer responses for your calls to action.

Use clear signifiers

One of the highest compliments that a relatively non-technical person can give to an app or other mobile experience is, “It just works.” They don’t know the technology behind the app or the methodology behind the design, but more importantly is that they didn’t need to. Your app should use signifiers to create a clear visual language (such as underlined blue text to indicate a hyperlink) so that customers can intuitively navigate the user interface. This pleasantly inverts customer expectations: instead of squinting at complex instructions to learn basic functions, they will learn on their own and feel rewarded by their own understanding.

Create Simple Steps and Clear Function

One rookie mistake of app design is making the consumer dizzy with a dazzling array of options for what the app can do. Instead of feeling like they got more bang for their buck, the consumer is likely to ditch your app for something more direct.

Consider the Uber approach: the customer needs a ride, and they simply tap three buttons to receive that ride. Design your app in a similar fashion by determining its primary function for users and creating the absolutely quickest path for the customer to achieve their goal.

Have Real Users Test Products

Despite many of the best mobile design tips relating to the experience for users, many individuals and design teams don’t bring in any real users to test the app. These people provide the invaluable “man on the street” perspective regarding the usability, signifiers, and overall “feel” of the app. It is difficult (if not outright impossible) to replicate such an experience by only testing the app via computer and design experts who are unable to anticipate the problems and concerns of the aforementioned non-technical user of the app. And, of course, this real input from real users helps designers tighten up everything else, from adding more clarity to signifiers to reducing the number of necessary steps the consumer must take.

While many aspects of app design will change as mobile devices become even more powerful and versatile, these four tips are part of a core of good design that will never change. By designing with the consumer in mind, you create a tighter app that is far likelier to bring in new customers. This ensures that you, like your app, will continue impacting mobile history.


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