The mobile-app design and development industry is growing very rapidly and continuously. In fact, it is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world today.
Statistics revealed that there are now around 2.87 million apps available for download on the Google Play Store and 1.96 million on the Apple App Store. Moreover, mobile-app developers are publishing over 30,000 new mobile apps on the Apple App Store every month, and industry analysts expect these figures to increase in the coming years, as more and more industries invest in creating various kinds of mobile apps.
Unfortunately, people use many mobile apps just once, then uninstall them. There are various reasons why this scenario occurs. A common reason is that these mobile apps have failed to live up to users’ expectations—especially in terms of their overall user experience.
Mobile UX design is a key factor in making or breaking a mobile app or Web site. Because the user experience is critical to the success of any mobile app—especially in today’s constantly changing mobile-technology landscape—you need to make UX design your top priority when building a mobile app.
In this article, I’ll provide some important do’s and don’ts of mobile UX design. Always take these into consideration when you’re designing and developing a mobile app.
Do’s of Mobile UX Design
First, let’s consider some do’s regarding the mobile UX design process.
Do Conduct Thorough UX Research Before Designing Your App
You may already have an idea about what kind of mobile app you want to create and how you want it to look and function. When you’ve already visualized your design concept, it can be quite tempting to put aside UX research and jump straight into sketching your mockups. However, you should never give in to such a temptation. You must do proper, thorough UX research to achieve stellar design outcomes.
Always start any new mobile app–development project by conducting thorough UX research. You can conduct competitive research to gather relevant information about other mobile app–development companies who are offering similar mobile apps. Conduct user research to learn about your target users and their needs, preferences, and motivations. You also need to identify the painpoints that your target audience typically experiences when using similar apps.
Do Conduct a Competitive Analysis
When conducting a competitive analysis, identify your competitors, then gather relevant information about them. You can read product reviews, analyze their online presence, study their marketing strategies, check the design and features of their apps, and learn what users feel and think about them. Identify their strengths and weaknesses. You can leverage the strengths of your competitors’ apps to further strengthen your mobile app. Their weaknesses could give you ideas about how to remedy users’ common painpoints and turn these solutions into competitive strengths.
Put yourself in your target users’ shoes. Try to use and study similar mobile apps that are available on the market, and identify the things that you like and dislike about them. Doing so can help you to understand what a typical user is looking for in a mobile app such as yours. This can enable you to create a UX design that resonates with your target users and drives better user interactions.
Ultimately, it is your target users who will be using your new mobile app, so you must create a UX design that satisfies their needs and wants.
Do Create a Well-Organized Information Architecture
Your mobile app’s content, structure, and overall information architecture should be clear, concise, and well organized. Your mobile app’s UX design should be simple, straightforward, and easy to navigate so users can get what they need from your app in just a few steps.
Do Create a Clutter-Free User Interface
Adding too much information to each section of your mobile app would not only overwhelm or perplex users, it would also add unnecessary clutter. Web pages that are too cluttered are quite annoying when users view them on a desktop computer. This problem becomes even more pronounced when they’re trying to view pages on mobile devices with limited screen space. Clutter can be a real headache for your users and degrades your mobile app’s user experience
To ensure a smooth, easy-to-use, pleasing mobile-app design, eliminate any unnecessary clutter. Get rid of all unnecessary images, user-interface elements, extra lines of text, and buttons. Focus users’ attention on the content and elements that are most valuable to themand ensure that they are clear and concise. Also, whenever possible, provide only one primary call to action per page or screen. If you do all this, you can make your app’s user interface light, airy, seamless, and easy to navigate.
Don’ts of Mobile UX Design
Now, let’s consider some don’ts for mobile UX design.
Don’t Overpopulate Your Mobile App with Features
Integrating as many features as possible into your mobile app could make it stand out among all the rest and give it an edge over its competitors. But overpopulating your mobile app with too many features is more likely to negatively impact the overall user experience. Adding too many features would unnecessarily complicate your app and prevent your users from having a hassle-free experience.
Instead, create a more simplified user interface and add only essential features. Define the key features that would be beneficial to your users and are necessary for the proper functioning of the app, then implement just those key features. In this way, you can create a fully functional mobile app that is also easy to use.
Don’t Be Afraid to Stick with Standard User-Interface Elements
Adding unique features and user-interface elements could make your mobile app stand out. However, when it comes to designing a mobile app, the best approach to delivering the greatest value to your users is to use standard features and user-interface elements.
Design a mobile app that prioritizes the user experience, leverages standards, and fits users’ expectations. Instead of using eye-catching and attractive, but unfamiliar user-interface elements such as buttons, symbols, shortcuts, and controls, choose standard elements with which users are already familiar. This makes it easier for them to identify elements and quickly and confidently take actions.
Don’t Forgo Usability Testing
Mobile apps that have been built and tested on a desktop screen might not be adequately functional and responsive when people use them on mobile devices. You need to test your mobile apps on the devices on which people will actually use them. Plus, even the most sophisticated, seemingly perfect mobile app might have some hidden flaws.
Launching your mobile app without first conducting usability testing would deprive you of the opportunity to correct its flaws at an early stage. The outcome could be your getting negative feedback from users after launch or, worse, having users uninstall your app from their mobile device.
To avoid such dreadful scenarios, never forgo conducting usability testing before launch. Test your app on various devices, screen sizes and resolutions, and Internet connections. Find out whether your app is equally responsive and functional across different mobile devices.
Don’t Expect to Get Everything Perfect on Your First Attempt
You can’t expect to perfect your mobile UX design on the first attempt. Creating a seamless design requires iterative design and testing. Mobile app design is a tricky, multifaceted process that you cannot complete in one go.
Although you should always aim for the best design from the beginning, there will always be room for improvement. So don’t set your initial goals too high, and don’t be discouraged if you fail to attain them immediately.
Creating an attractive, functional, usable UX design can help your mobile app to stand out among the plethora of similar mobile apps that are available in the marketplace. However, a poorly crafted mobile UX design results in a poor user experience that, in turn, could drive users to uninstall your mobile app.
Observing the do’s and don’ts of mobile UX design that I’ve outlined in this article could help you to create a well-crafted mobile app that provides a positive user experience. To learn about users’ behaviors when they are using your app, use heatmap software such as UXcam or analytics software such as Mixpanel. Having in-depth knowledge about how users are actually interacting with your app can also help you to decide how you would want them to interact with your mobile app, giving you a clearer view of the UX design changes you need to make to attract more user engagement, improve the overall user experience, and minimize the app’s bounce and drop-off rates.
With over ten years of experience, Gaurav Khanna is successfully delivering innovative, unique Web and mobile applications, UX and user-interface (UI) designs, and digital marketing to organizations of all sizes. He turns boring brands into game-changing industry leaders that get people talking. He makes this happen with top-notch writing and strategy skills that cut through the noise and are backed by sharp thinking. He has hands-on experience in consulting and has worked with clients from Australia, the USA, the UK, Germany, and New Zealand. He was involved in various big deliveries and team management at Wolters Kluwer and has launched various other startups as well, including a1complex.com, learnKode.com. Gaurav believes every organization should fully leverage digital opportunities for business growth, and he is eager to help them through his technical and marketing skills. Gaurav’s real strength lies in learning and growing with others! Read More