Practices for mobile experiences are just as important and flourishing almost as rapidly as the devices themselves. When you provide an app, various factors need to be looked into and kept in mind – features, platform, layout, design, etc. and undoubtedly each factor has its own significance. The prominent features that stand out are user experience and design which can affect the outcome of the success of the app.
The recent upsurge in technology has triggered businesses to make available the same experience a customer has in the store on a mobile platform as well.
Keeping the following factors in mind while developing the design of the app can prove useful:
- Understand your customer and the context of your users – One of the key determinants that hold strong value is user experience. You need to identify your target audience and what they use the app for, their usage pattern etc. Example: If your target audience are children or elderly people, then the app needs to be easy to use, simple and provide basic functionality. Whereas, adults or teens would prefer an app which comes laden with features and is more advanced.
The experience a person has with the app can depend on the app itself or the person using it and the context they use it in. Most often, people use their phones in between other activities like waiting in line or travelling or filling fuel. Hence, users are looking to use the app to get things done in a jiffy.
As they say, customers are the king. Often, they shift from mobile devices to laptops and to tablets. The app needs to offer a consistent interface through all these channels in order to entice the user.
- Crisp, clean, and simple layout and presentation – The space at your disposal with a mobile is limited. The app needs to be designed in a manner such that the entire screen is made use of – not in a hodgepodge way but by striking the perfect balance. Once you think your layout and design is good, put it to the test. Can the interface be read when walking? Is the front too small or is it big enough? Is there ample visibility to view the interface under different lighting? Are few of the buttons too big to be pressed by the finger? If you answered yes to most of these questions then you might want to rethink the design and layout as it could possibly be cumbersome or difficult to use.
- User experience – If someone needs a manual in order to figure out how to use your app then you have gone wrong somewhere. The app needs to be easy and simple to use. Its capability needs to be conveyed in a simple and clear fashion. Essentially, after your app is out in the market, you have a few seconds to spare wherein you need to attract and engage potential new users and if they cannot easily download the app, open it and figure out how to use it, all in the span of a few minutes, then they’re potentially lost. With this lost user comes the backlash of word of mouth. A bad experience, through word of mouth, can spread like forest fire.
If the app can make complex tasks simple then nothing like it. The code has been cracked. As the saying goes – ‘in this complex world, it is simplicity which gets all the attention’.
- Not good but great design – Good design is but obvious. Great design is what is transparent. Of course, design can be subjective but ultimately, the design needs to be easy to comprehend and simple. Complexity need not necessarily prove effective. Few elements that play a vital role in distinguishing a good app and a great app are icons, typography, colours, graphics, wordings and terminology. At the same time, do not forget to keep the design simple. A seamless process from start to finish will lure the user to come back for more.
- Responsiveness – Mobile users are impatient. They want the interface to load data while it’s downloading otherwise they are likely to lose interest. If the app is too slow or has too many elements on one screen then too, a user’s interest will reduce. Speed is as important as any other element in the app. For mobiles apps, the rule of thumb is, you need to do it quickly otherwise don’t do it at all.
- Continuous improvement – Technology is rapidly growing and customers are growing with it. As a company, you need to keep up and think of ways to continuously improve – be it customer service or software development. Innovative solutions can have an impact and result in optimal customer experience.
Creating an experience, be it on the mobile or elsewhere is more of an art. The designer needs to keep in mind multiple elements which go into the app. Unlike a desktop where the user sits in once place and uses it, a mobile app needs to adapt to several different factors.