Continuing from our previous post “User Engagement: How to Get Users to Love Your App,” let’s take a closer look at designing for the user experience.
User experience and user interface
Now that we’ve thought about your app’s purpose, let’s talk about user experience (UX) and user interface (UI).
My experience with my phone and with the apps on my phone need to be intuitive. If your brand wants to own space on my smartphone, you need to keep in mind what I want from your app. Getting the user experience right is crucial. You don’t want me to open your app and get so confused by all the features on the home screen I immediately delete it. Don’t make me think about how to use your app. And please don’t make me have to look up instructions.
Just like you need a great strategist to help you think about the business case for your app, and a great developer to write the code that integrates all the features your app will house, you need a great designer to help you think about user experience and user interface. It’s the job of a good UX/UI designer to think about not only about how to design an appealing app, but also how a user will use the app. And this differs for iOS and Android.
A UX designer’s primary focus is on what the app looks like, how it feels, what a user sees when they open up your app. A UI designer on the other hand is thinking about each screen in terms of how a user will interact with the app, and whether or not a user will intuitively follow the cues as designed by the UX designer. These roles are important – someone needs to keep in mind what I want to experience each time I pick up my handset.
- Intuitivity — It’s likely your users have used plenty of apps before. No need to recreate the app experience. If you need a delete function – use a trash bin icon. If you have a community chat feed, you probably want to use gestures to manage vertical scrolling, etc. The easier it is to use, the more likely a user will in fact, use it.
- Functionality — Prioritize features essential to the mobile environment and make sure all content is optimized for mobile. Your app doesn’t need to have all the functionality of your website. In fact, it shouldn’t. Think about why someone will visit your app and give them the features that make the most sense for on-the-go connectivity.
- Architecture — Keep the app’s main features on the landing page and require as few taps as possible to navigate to important content; use sharp contrast and delineate visual flow. Make it a no-brainer how I as a user should go from one feature to the next in a seamless way.
- Design — Keep it simple, scannable — just because something looks pretty in a design comp doesn’t mean it makes sense in a user interface; also, keep in mind portrait and landscape orientations. If I’m using your app on the go, I probably don’t want to hunt for information. Make it optimal for my glanceability.
- Content — Make sure whatever you put into your app – video, social content, product info, etc. – is formatted for the platform; give me control over what content *I* want to digest (don’t autoplay and assume I want all of your content. I don’t!); do provide a blend of content that keeps me engaged.