When there’s a thousand apps at your very fingertips, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to identify the ones lacking in quality. Mobile apps are now an inherent part of our every day, and a core staple of the digital age, so when you stumble across one that isn’t intuitive or doesn’t function effortlessly, it doesn’t take long for one to notice.
There’s a universal consumer expectation that mobile apps will operate in a way that’s simple and easy to use. So, designers have to reimagine the way they implement a user interface that’s as engaging as it is functional. Because mobile is a driving facet of consumerism, perhaps one (or two) of these tips can enhance the experience you’re giving to your audience.
Adopt a Ms. Frizzle teaching approach.
We all remember the eccentric elementary school teacher from the hit franchise, The Magic School Bus, and while your target audience certainly isn’t sitting behind desks in a classroom, there’s undoubtedly a learnability aspect to mobile app design. For your consumers to pick up on the innovative strategies and executions you’re trying to implement, said learning process needs to be as fun as it is easy to follow. The goal is to “wow” your audience without leaving them with more questions or any possible confusion for how to navigate the interactive elements of your app. Be sure that the process is logical, and that the functions across the app are consistent to ensure your design features are aligned with the user experience.
Something to think about with mobile that isn’t as much of a setback in the world of desktops: how the consumer holds the phone. Are they scrolling with a thumb or a forefinger? Maybe they’re even scrolling with two thumbs. Depending on what feels most natural to the user, it could compromise the effectiveness of your design. If something like a CTA or a main point of navigation is located in one of the top corners, it’s very likely that the space may feel out of reach to a portion of your users. Consider putting key components at the bottom or middle of the screen, as your audience will be able to access these spaces with ease.
What to say when something feels all too familiar?
Déjà vu. Incorporating recognition patterns is a widely-used tactic because it helps consumers build a sense of familiarity. By using strategies that your audience already knows a bit about, you can then integrate subtle indications for how your app is designed to work. See if you’re able to find a balance between the use of standard elements, like a “Shop Now” button on an eCommerce site, and your own take on a highly-innovative interactive feature. Give your audience enough insight that they can figure it out without compromising the innovation that’s setting you apart from competitors. It’s a fine line, but worth the investment.
Embrace your inner Danny Tanner and keep it clean.
Clean in way of UI that is. The obvious challenge behind mobile app design is the confined space in which you’re working with. You need to create an interface that’s neat and clutter-free, but that also includes all the essential mandatories. With that in mind, visualization can be a huge tool here. For example, using icons where you can in place of text can augment white space and help to streamline the feel of the mobile app. Be sure to think of strategies like this you can weave in to your design that simplify the user experience and enhance the flow of the process for the user.
Add a little sparkle.
While it’s crucial to deliver a mobile app that your audience can use with convenience and ease, don’t underestimate the importance of adding an extra flair. Using gamification methods is a great way to ensure your app refrains from feeling standard or boring to your audience. Customer challenges, leaderboards, loyalty rewards and inside perks translate as an incentive for your audience to interact with your product and brand. Again, you don’t ever want to compromise the functionality of your app, but you’ll find the most success when you can find that combination of equally yolked function and fun.
Mobile apps may feel like a headache to tackle, but there’s a lot of potential for how to make an app that’s one of a kind. Don’t hesitate to put big ideas in to play, and remember, you can always test the effectiveness of your wildest strategies prior to launch. Think outside the box and have fun with it.