Best practices for a delightful mobile app UX – part 1

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Today, consumers are spending most of their time on their Smartphones, tablets and mobile apps, which has meant that a lot more emphasis is being put on UX design for mobile apps. According to research by Flurry Analytics, users spend 90 percent of their time in apps compared to the mobile web, while a report from BI Intelligence found that users download an average of 8.8 apps per month.

These surprising stats are a clear indication of just how important it is for developers to invest in UX to stand out in an increasingly crowded market. Adopting the best practices mentioned below is a great way to get your design process off to a good start.

Put your user’s needs first

In a way, mobile apps have become an extension of our personalities that reflect our interest and preferences. Our close relationship with our intelligently designed Smartphones has led us to raise our standards for UX on mobile apps. We expect everything to be user-centric and simple to navigate, even if we pride ourselves on being tech-savvy. This is why it’s crucial to keep your users’ needs in mind throughout the mobile app design process.

Customers should be at the center of the hard design work you are putting in to build a great mobile app. It is important to note that UX design is a continuous process that involves making necessary adjustments in line with user requirements and preferences. Consumers have become accustomed to using apps that are constantly updated. However, updates that are made to apps should aim to improve the UX and make it easier for the user to access the products, information and services that they are looking for. Changes to the design that make it more difficult will only hurt the UX and frustrate the user.

follow user Interface guidelines brought to you by UX leaders

Apple made its User Interface Guidelines publically available with the aim of helping designers create the best mobile UX possible by offering useful tips for various types of smart devices and screen sizes. These tips help designers use the right tools to adjust and test out layouts, content, imagery and other features displayed on mobile apps. Google, on the other hand, offers resources and tools for designing apps for Android devices. By following a set of guidelines, designers can learn how to use specific features to optimize the UX on mobile apps and easily adjust viewing setting according to each device’s configurations.

Seamless navigation should be a top priority

Considering the fact that most users interact with mobile devices and apps during their downtime, it is needless to say that they expect a seamless experience that doesn’t require a lot of effort on their part. Every screen that is designed for a mobile app should represent a single task that should add value for the person using it. Not only will this make users’ lives easier, but laying down simple functions behind screens will make it easier for designers to build on to them in the future.

Uber is a great recent example of a company that fully understand the needs of people who use its mobile app. Someone who downloads or uses  Uber’s app is clearly looking to request a taxi service and is not typically interested or concerned with anything else. The app does not provide excessive or unnecessary information and instead and the only task that is asked of users is to select a pickup location.

Ensure that your app is thumb-friendly

What good is a beautifully designed mobile app if you cannot easily navigate through it using touchscreens? If designers make the mistake of locating content, buttons or features outside of the primary zone or middle area, there will be a risk that users will not be able to view or access those sections. This issue is one of the reasons why the “thumb zone”, a term coined by Mobile UX consultant and researcher Steven Hoober referring to areas of a screen that see the most thumb-driven activity, has become a key factor that influences the design of mobile apps today.

According to a study on mobile user behaviors conducted by Hoober, 72 percent of people access their devices by using their thumbs. Since most people position their thumbs along the bottom of their phones, it makes the most sense to locate buttons and action elements near this area of the screen. Airbnb’s mobile app is a good example that shows how a full-screen display can work with an overlay menu that is strategically placed to be within easy reach of the user.

There are a lot of important elements that need to be taken into account when designing UX for mobile apps. Mobile users have very high standards for UX and are more likely to make a switch if your app does not fulfill their needs or add some degree of value to their lives. By following user interface guidelines, creating a seamless navigation experience, and making your mobile app thumb-friendly, you can deliver a mobile UX that helps you stay ahead of the competition.

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Check part 2:

Best practices for a delightful mobile app UX – part 2

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