Key user experience tips for your app

Key user experience tips for your app

1 Overview

The challenge

What falls under the realm of UX? Well, essentially everything that affects the customers’ end interaction and position with your product. In the case of mobile apps, this is typically usability, performance, functionality, UI, and overall design.

Your challenge in creating a successful app in today’s competitive mobile market is to have a thorough understanding of UX and its effect on your customer, and make sure that yours is finely-tuned.

Your aim

Learn how you can optimize your app’s UX to drive engagement in your new market.

How to go about it

When it comes to your app’s UX, it’s important to remember that its optimisation is an ongoing process. You are not expected to produce the most optimal app UX possible on the first try. However, there are certainly some simple hacks you can utilise from the get-go to ensure that your app’s UX is on a direct path towards excellence. This guide gives you a five straightforward tips that can be applied as you grow your business.

2 User registration

Revamp your sign-up screen

Remember that on mobile, sign-up forms physically look a lot longer than they would on desktop – think about this when designing your sign-up form and also keep in mind the patience level of today’s mobile user. Does your sign-up form really need to require a birthday and a profile photo?

Provide clear utility before asking users to register

Users will abandon an app that asks them to provide personal information upfront unless there's some form of immediate payoff (ordering a car service or food delivery, for example). In particular, apps with low brand recognition – or those in which the value proposition is unclear – must clear a higher hurdle when they ask users to register at the start of the experience. Only ask a user to register if it's essential. One common way this principle is applied is by providing guest checkout at the point of conversion. You need to demonstrate the value and function of your app before asking users to sign-up.

Differentiate “sign in” from “sign up”

Many users end up taking the wrong action when attempting to sign up for an account by tapping on the "sign in" button, which then prompts them for a password. This often happens because users scan the screen quickly and assume that the first call to action that catches their attention is the correct one. Design a "sign in" and a "sign up" that are easily distinguishable from each other so users can get to where they want to go quickly.

Make password authentication frictionless

Users get annoyed when they have to go through an arduous, multi-step task to set up or reset a password. Reduce the risk of abandonment by simplifying the authentication experience. Minimise the number of steps required or use different authentication methods such as a third-party login or fingerprint touch login.

3 Usability and comprehensions

Use the same language as your users

Unknown terms or phrases will increase cognitive load for the user. When calls to action are labeled with brand-specific terms, users may get confused. Clear communication and functionality should always take precedence over promoting the brand message.

Be clear with visual information and feedback

Visuals and iconography need text labels for consistent and proper interpretation. Icons for a menu, cart, account, or store locator as well as for actions like filtering or sorting are not universal and not well understood across apps. (Google: StartApp UX Principles) Icons that are labeled are much more likely to be used. Also, apps that provide visual categorisations without a key require users to guess what they represent. It’s therefore recommended you use text labels to make it clear for users.

When users add an item to the cart or submit an order, lack of feedback can cause them to question whether the action has been processed. Apps that provide a visual animation or another type of visual eliminate this guesswork for the user.

Provide user control for zooming on images

Users want to be able to control the level of zoom when they view an image. They can become frustrated by apps that zoom in at a predetermined magnification level. Put users in control by allowing them to zoom in as they prefer.

Permissions

While permissions can be vital for the execution of your app’s functions, they also have the potential to scare people away and negatively affect your UX. Knowing this, you need to make sure you effectively explain each permission and ask only when absolutely necessary. It’s good practice to describe why your app needs certain information even if the reason might be seemingly obvious, and ask for specific permissions after certain user actions, such as when a user clicks a “share post” button and then is prompted with a permission for access to a social media account.

4 App navigation and explorations

Spice up your microinteractions

Some of you might be wondering, “what is a microinteraction”? Basically, every time you interact with an app, website, or even appliance (even in the most insignificant way) you have partaken in a microinteraction. For example, when “you change a setting, sync your data or devices, set an alarm, pick a password, log in, set a status message, or favorite or “like” something, you are engaging with a microinteraction.” From an app UX point of view, microinteractions actually have the potential to help make an app feel more human and personal. They can encourage the user to feel a connection to the brand; a connection that can ultimately improve your retention rate. Adding flavour and creativity to your microinteractions can be a powerful initiative to help reach and even exceed these expectations.

Sharing

Today’s on-the-go users put a lot of their information on their mobile devices and within their apps. Many app creators want users to share accomplishments and interactions within an app as a way to advertise their app and increase virality. Yet, sharing and privacy are obviously a contradiction. You need to establish legitimate trust and transparency with your user from the get go, especially if you want your users to promote your brand.

Your app needs to explain to users exactly what they are sharing and who they are sharing it to. If users start seeing their private content on social networks they will most likely lose trust in your app, and even worse, probably uninstall your app and leave it a poor review.

Show the value of your app upfront

Engage users by addressing their tasks clearly, placing calls to action up front and center. Highlight your app’s key and new features in context at the appropriate place in the app so they're a source of delight and interest rather than frustration and confusion.

Organize and label menu categories to be user-friendly

Users struggle to interpret and distinguish menu categories that do not align with their mental models for categories. Menu categories should be clear with no overlap. This is particularly important when a user turns to a menu as a last resort after exhausting options through search.

Make it easy to manually change location

Auto-detection of location can save users time. However, there are times when users need to find a store that's not located nearby. Make manual entry of location easy and straightforward.

Create friction-less transitions between apps and the mobile web

Users can get frustrated when an app takes them to the mobile web for more content or to complete a task. For instance, it can be confusing when the look and feel or design layout is different across the two platforms. It’s also problematic when transition times are slow and the user is forced to wait for the web page to load. If it is necessary to transition the user to the mobile web, ensure a consistent design to support the transition. It’s also a good idea to make sure the transition is speedy and the benefit – in contrast to any remaining friction – is worthwhile.

Gather qualitative data

While quantitative data is certainly important, you must gather qualitative data in order to fully understand your UX and pinpoint opportunities for optimisation. Qualitative analytics platforms will allow you to visualise what is actually going on inside your app and how your users are reacting to certain optimisation initiatives. This capability is thanks to robust visualization features such as touch heat maps and user session recordings. Instead of having to spend hours sifting through quantitative data to try and understand why a user left your cart screen or chose not to sign-up to your app, visual data will instantly provide you with the crucial “whys” behind all your numbers.

Conclusion

These initiatives can significantly help you improve your app’s overall UX, but they aren’t the final solution - there’s always ways you can optimise your app. No matter what, put the user at center stage and design with them in mind.