Driving User Engagement with Your Mobile App

March 21, 2022

Today, our reliance on mobile apps has increased radically. According to a 2021 article on TechCrunch, on average, users spend 4.2 hours a day on various applications on their mobile phone. That’s up 30% from just 2019. People’s increasing reliance on mobile apps could prove to be a great business opportunity for both enterprises and small businesses that launch mobile apps to establish a strong mobile presence.

Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately, succeeding in the mobile-app market is not as easy as it might seem. Both the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store offer millions of apps, and only a few of them manage to retain their target customers. According to Statista, the average retention rate for the most popular app categories falls from 33.8% to 9.3% within the first 30 days of installation. Apart from poor performance and a lack of features, a poor user experience is one potential reason why many mobile apps fail to keep their users hooked over time. If your mobile app doesn’t offer an engaging user experience, people won’t use it again.

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You can easily avoid this situation by crafting a perfect user interface—one that encourages users to keep coming back. In this article, I’ll unveil the seven UX design best practices for optimizing the user experience and improving user engagement with your mobile app.

1. Define the User Flow

Too many designers proceed directly to designing the wireframes for an app. No doubt, wireframing is a necessary part of the overall design process, but there’s one additional part of the process that you should never skip.

If you want to create an easy-to-navigate app, make sure you define an app’s user flows and information architecture at the beginning of your design process—before moving on to designing wireframes. Defining an app’s user flows gives you a rough idea of how users would navigate from one part of your app to another. This can help you avoid creating any unnecessary clutter and give you a strong point of reference from which to start off in the right direction.

2. Design Multiple Wireframes

Once you’ve defined the user flows, start drawing the wireframes for your app. Design wireframes that adhere strictly to the requirements of the user flows that you’ve created.

But, instead of designing just a single wireframe, come up with multiple ideas for design solutions. This can help you discover different approaches to enhancing the overall user experience. After creating multiple wireframes, you can choose the most suitable design approach for making your mobile app more navigable and engaging.

3. Create Simple Navigation

At this point, your product team might be ready to switch from sketching wireframes to writing the actual code. However, you must first focus on making the app as navigable as possible. You can follow various approaches to achieve this goal. Designers often choose to create navigation panels, or drawers, to make mobile applications easy to navigate. One of their key advantages is that they remove unnecessary clutter from the home screen without affecting the app’s other functionality. You can pack as many navigation options inside the navigation panel as necessary and keep the app’s main screen clean. 

In addition to creating navigation panels, you can place easy-to-reach navigation options at the bottom of the screen—again keeping the user interface clean and navigable. Bottom navigation is the ideal placement for key features of mobile apps that have many features. Although the navigation panel could accommodate all of them, key features might be buried there. With bottom navigation, you can place access to the navigation menu there, and you’ll be able to divide the app’s features into different categories and make the app more user friendly.

4. Optimize for One-Handed Operation

Even though screen sizes are getting bigger and bigger, people still prefer using their mobile phone with just one hand. So be sure to design your mobile app’s user interface in such a way that users can easily access all of its features without using their other hand.

One way of accomplishing this goal is to place the app’s most frequently used features within reach of the user’s thumb, as shown in Figure 1. This is where users usually tap their screen. You can place rarely used features at the upper corners of the screen, in the red zone, which is hard to reach using one hand.

Figure 1—The zones of a mobile app’s screen
The zones of a mobile app's screen

Image Source: RV Technologies

5. Avoid Adding Too Many Features

Instead of cramming your app full of an excessive number of features, take the time to analyze which functionality is most important to users and the business. Apps with too many unnecessary features usually have a cluttered user interface. These are the sorts of apps that users abandon after the first few days. To keep your app’s abandonment rate low, make sure to implement only key features that can help you drive the highest engagement from your target audience.

Implementing just the core features can also help you establish your app with your initial customer base. Then, once you have a large enough audience, you can gradually release new features and see how your app performs among the masses.

6. Eliminate Design Inconsistencies

Make sure that your design is consistent throughout the app—especially if you plan to create a unique design solution. An inconsistent user interface would hamper the app’s user experience and make it harder to understand. To discover and correct design inconsistencies, you should use a variety of scenarios when testing your app and ensure that every module follows the same design standards. Implement whatever changes are necessary to eliminate inconsistencies.

7. Provide a Welcome Screen

When designing mobile-app user interfaces, many designers either don’t provide a welcome screen at all or don’t optimize it for their users. Keep in mind that a welcome screen provides the user’s first impression of your brand. Therefore, it is important that it should be visually appealing—even captivating. You can also use a welcome screen to introduce users to the app’s unique features, with which they are probably unfamiliar. However, you should refrain from adding too many elements to the welcome screen because this could damage the user experience.


There’s no denying the fact that a poor user interface is one of the most common reasons why people abandon mobile apps after using them for just a few days. If you don’t want your app to get buried among your users’ many apps, focus on designing an easy-to-use user interface that keeps users engaged. Following optimal UX design practices can give you a competitive advantage, ensuring that your mobile app attracts and holds users’ attention more effectively. 

Founder & CEO at RV Technologies

Mohali, Punjab, India

Ranjit SinghRanjit started his journey as a technical programmer, but his quest to build innovative digital solutions resulted in the germination of RV Technologies in 2007. He has successfully completed more than 21 years in the software-development industry and, throughout this period, he has followed a consistent vision of helping businesses lead the digital landscape with innovative solutions. Apart from assisting business owners with digital transformation, Ranjit also enjoys penning his insights on various technical topics and sharing them with the world.  Read More

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