Larry is a tech writer with several years of experience in creating content for the web, usually on topics centered around web design and development. To stay updated with Larry’s latest posts you can follow him on Twitter.
We live in an age when there is an app for pretty much everything. For example, did you know that there is an app called Run Pee that notifies you when a boring part of the movie is coming up so you can make your way to the bathroom without missing much of the plot? Or have you heard about Flotsm, an app that lets you anonymously consult with people around the world regarding your life’s decisions? Yes, anything you can think of, someone has already made app of it.
So, in a world with millions of various apps and countless ideas, how can yours stand out? One element that will certainly decide how popular your app will become is user experience. Nowadays, it’s all about offering the ultimate UX in any way you can. In this article, we’re going to suggest a couple of good practices that will, no doubt, improve your UX and help your app rise to the occasion.
As soon as the user clicks on the install button, he gets bombarded with numerous in-app permissions that seem threatening and unclear. Considering all the commotion with Facebook’s privacy leaks, it’s understandable that a lot of users are paranoid nowadays. That is why you need to approach these permissions carefully and ensure that your app is not perceived as a potential security threat. Include a detailed explanation for any permissions that might sound risky. Explain exactly why you need that data and assure them that there won’t be any misuse. Gain their trust early on.
Most of the time, the signup screen will be the first thing users stumble upon in your app so try to make it count. The main problem is that a lengthy registration process can be quite a deterrent for the user. This is the so-called “The Least Effort Principle” that describes the way users interact with apps.
Basically, users inherently see that screen as something that is “slowing” them from getting where they want to go within your website or app. The moment your signup page seems too lengthy or involving too much energy, your user will quickly abandon that screen and worse potentially never return. Make sure you are only asking users for information that is absolutely necessary to create an account.
Besides that, keep in mind that every registration form looks a lot longer on mobile devices and might drive potential users away. You can ask additional questions later, once they’ve had a chance to test the app.
Another important part of good UX is navigation. The user needs to be able to navigate through the app quickly and easily. A lot of developers try to solve this problem by adding an informative tour screen the first time the app starts. This can help users find their way round and decrease the app abandonment rate. Localytics found “[…] that for apps with a true onboarding experience, only 9% of users abandoned the app after one use and 61% of users will visit the app 11 or more times.” This means that the onboarding process is extremely important for first-time users.
On the other hand, if done poorly, this concept can have quite the opposite effect. A lengthy tour at the start is more likely to increase the abandonment rate, so you need to be careful and keep it short and to the point. Your users will appreciate it.
When it comes to great app design, it’s all about the details. Just adding a couple of subtle touches here and there will make all the difference in the world. This is where microinteractions come in. They are tiny animations that offer users feedback or simply smooth out all the screen transitions.
Again, the important thing here is not to overdo it. Microtransactions are all about simplicity and elegance. In fact, the best microtransactions are those that seem natural and that users won’t even notice. Medium offers advice regarding simplicity:
Design action step — make sure your micro-interactions occur as a single unified movement. If your micro-interaction contains several actions occurring at different places in time, stop doing that.
Just in case you’re still not convinced that user experience is a crucial part of any app design, consider the fact that there are actual job titles right now like UX designer and UX writer. These people are focused only on user interactions and work towards making them happy. Kristina Bjoran from UX Booth states that the basic job of a UX writer is to write copies for user-facing touchpoints. A UX writer gives the company a voice and makes sure that the user sees the human side of it. This tells you a lot about the importance of user experience nowadays.
The only way to be certain that your app will yield best results is to focus on your users and think about their needs. Invest in a good onboarding concept, avoid spamming them with notifications and various risky permissions, and spice things up with some microinteractions. That is the secret formula for successful UX.