#app, #design
20 December 2019
Julianna Sykutera

How to improve functionality and UX of your app?

Ten years ago, the idea of design thinking wasn’t very popular. The first mobile apps were created based on the gut and ideas of their founders. However, the development and growing market of mobile and web applications showed that the UX and deep understanding of the users play a huge role in the success or the failure of the app. Here’s why we should take care of UX before any line of code is being written.

Designing for ease of use

That’s exactly what defines the concept of UX and it underlines the importance of the users being in the center of interest. It’s what they want and what will favor their usage that has the biggest matter here. Customers want to be provided with a simple yet nice-looking interface. They expect an app to be easy to use but capable of performing multiple functions at once. The role of UX designer is to visualize how a user navigates through the app. He optimizes the user comfort suggesting changes to the screen layout and graphics. 

People care about the experience 

UX design is not about creating for the purpose of aesthetic. All is made for the purpose of user satisfaction with the functionality of the app. In fact, poor user experience appears to be one of the main factors why people stop using or delete the app from their mobiles. According to a report from 2018, 21% of users abandon an app after one use and it is still less than it was in 2017 (24%). It happens when an app doesn’t deliver the desired experience and it can be a fault of poor flow or bugs. Anyway, there are factors that operate on the users’ journey through the app and we put some light on them. 

The concept of UX…

What must be clear to the eye is the visual flow of the product. It should guide the users from the first screen to the last one. Consider the flow of an app and interactions. Ask yourself – If I were a user, how would I navigate through this interface? Do I know what will happen If I click on this or that? If not really, then you know you need to improve the UX of your app. Also, the buttons that are intended for different mobile gestures (clicking, double-tap or swiping), have to be made in a way that suggests a user, the next thing that will happen. When things are made in an intuitive way, users are not confused.

…And UI

Then there is a concept of UI (user interface). The UI covers the design part. The chosen shades, typography, and graphic elements that should coherently present the product. A good UI can be the element of UX and serve as a hint of what should be done next. Because the way an app looks correlates with the satisfaction from the usage. 

Usability & layout 

Bear in mind that user behavior is different on mobiles. The smaller screens somehow dictate the usage and the flow of an app. Here is why you need to take care of the right button layout. Make sure there is enough space between elements to avoid troubles aiming at one of them. The next thing is to reduce the time spent searching the needed options. When users get lost in the layout, they already know the app doesn’t meet their expectations or is too difficult to be used. Eventually, they may just switch to another one. To help them quickly find what they need, think about a good menu, proper flow inside an app and other solutions a user may be familiar with. Mechanisms like autocomplete and prediction text assistance will also greatly improve the UX of your app. 

User input

You should aim to minimize user involvement in the process of registration. Reduce the number of one’s inputs needed to create an account. In the beginning, ask for the necessary information only. Credit cards and registration details can be added later. This way the search effort decreases what can have a positive influence on conversion rates. Also, add multiple registration options (login via Google, Facebook, LinkedIn) as people like when things are done quicker.

Security & permissions

Don’t flood users with long lists of criteria and regulations they need to accept before using the app. Include only the most important and essential permissions. Don’t ask for access to the photo gallery or camera if it’s not necessary. It has to be explicitly stated why do you need such information as user trust is something most valuable today. In addition, users should be able to decide how their personal data are shared. To give them insight into your politics, attach a link that leads directly to the privacy regulations page. 

Support 

The onboarding process is a good idea as it shows users how the app works and it guides them during their first time. The animations are much better than text as they look appealing and communicate core features more effective. If your app relies on user-generated content then you should definitely implement onboarding as one of your strategies (as Tumblr does). What’s more, people should have space where they can ask questions, having problems with usage. Add live chats, helpline or FAQs form to provide them with different support options available at any time. 

Does it work at all?

Always check what is happening inside of your product. If the introduced features have more user acceptance than the last version then you can be happy but it’s never really over. Testing the product is crucial to have a clear picture of what makes people engaged in your product and which part is rejected. And it’s changing just like trends on the market. But you need to know how to improve the UX of your app as this is how you create an update. To know more on this subject read: When to update an app & how to prepare an update. 

Summing up 

To end up with an excellent UX & UI is an ongoing process. Not every trend will work on your product. You have to research and customize features that suit your target group and your app as well. Smaller screens can favor your creativity but also create some obstacles on the way. Remember that only when the graphical layout harmonizes with the general purpose of the app, there is a chance to get more users interested. Lastly, test what you already have and modify functions observing user feedback.  

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