Mobile usage and mobile users are growing. With more users doing more on mobile, the spotlight is on how to improve the individual elements that together produce the mobile user experience.
The mobile user experience incorporates the user’s understandings and sensations before, during and after their interaction with your mobile presence– be it through a browser or an app– using a mobile device that could lie anywhere on the continuum from low-end feature phone to high-definition tablet.
Creating mobile user experiences that delight users forces us to rethink a lot of what we have taken for provided so far with desktop design. It is complexed in part by mobile-specific factors to consider that go together with small screens, broad variations in device features, restraints in usage and connectivity, and the hard-to-identify-but-ever-changing mobile context.
As the mobile channel matures and technologies develop, so too does the field of Mobile User Experience. Great UX is what separates successful apps from not successful ones, and lets small upstarts handle big brands by creating more compelling mobile application. Here are few quick pointers that will assist you on the way to great mobile design. Even if you’re not involved in the actual design process, understanding these concepts will still help you create better principles and provide better feedback to those who do the work.
Work on the drawing board
They key point to remember throughout all mobile UX design is that whilst it has some concepts in common with web and software design, going top-down by simply shrinking your desktop experience is not going to suffice. To design a good app, begin with the bottom with the customer experience you desire, and build upwards – improving it with the right elements of your existing digital presence where proper – to achieve it. Terrific mobile concepts are uniquely mobile – that is to say, they couldn’t be done the same way anywhere else.
Think about your users
Modern mobile users normally tend to fall under one of two camps: hunters (who wish to discover a particular piece of information or do a specific job quickly) and collectors (seeking to browse around or fill time, and less concerned about a particular outcome). If your audience are hunters, focus on functions which allow them to accomplish tasks in the tiniest number of steps and reduce any performance which does not help them. If they are collectors, look at ways to offer them quick access to broad information, then determine ways to keep them in your app. In this way, it’s possible to please both, however do be wary of becoming a Jack of all trades – in some circumstances, you might have a better outcome by selecting one type and sticking with it.
Usually, 80 % of app users will use just 20 % of its capability. If your service is already online, an easy way to ensure that you deal with this is to take a look at how your consumers interact with your website (specifically your mobile customers– easily done by restricting your analytics to mobile browsers) and determine what capability is made use of most, then use that information to cut down your feature set and see to it this vital 20 % is as simple and instinctive to use as possible.
Use activity-based design
Mobile users want to accomplish jobs, whether broad (like searching story) or particular (like checking air travel times). Every function of your app ought to be tailored to helping them to both determine then complete their job, and everything else needs to be disposed of. Mobile users have the tendency to be time-poor, and the real estate you need to deal with is very small– you cannot pay for to lose time or space. Attempt to notice their intent, and purpose to expose the (pertinent!) possibilities offered at each phase of the task to the user, so they can promptly move through to conclusion yet fluidly respond to discovering data they weren’t anticipating.
Keep it simple
Mobile users don’t expect to check out an instruction manual. Quick cues are fine, as are service- (instead of app-) particular explanations, but if you find yourself needing to put a FAQ in your app, you’ve most likely gone wrong someplace. Keep in mind that mobile merely does not have the space for the annotations made use of in web, so things like clear iconography are a fantastic space saver. In the long run, the easier the app, the much better it will be. It will be much easier and more affordable to support and upgrade, and it will most likely do what it is supposed to. Keep in mind the mantra: feature rich, user poor.
Don’t neglect platform UX
Apple, Google and the rest of the producers have invested billions ensuring that users know exactly what to anticipate when they push a button, swipe the screen or touch an icon. Establishing custom interfaces which do not operate in in this manner may make your branding team happy, but will puzzle users, slow down adoption, and put a significant barrier in the way of engagement. Instead, take the concepts of the OS-native user interface kit, and subtly style your user interface aspects without altering the underlying functions. Read up on the platform standards to always see to it you’re using the correct UI aspect for the correct task, in addition to following standards around things like minimum sizing for tappable buttons – they’re chosen for a reason. And acquire the device you are creating for and use it religiously for a month; you’ll know more than any guidelines will tell you. After all, you would not hire a web designer that didn’t own a computer!
Human-computer interaction can be called a lossy process – at any time, the user is producing a lot more input than the interface is recording. This data is both a function of the user, and a function of their environment and recognized behaviour patterns. This consists of obvious things like sound and motion, but also more abstract principles like location, proximity, environmental aspects, social media networks, and intent. Mobile phone – with a big selection of sensing units and communication channels; more than practically other device – are uniquely positioned to capture more of this “ambient” data. Consider how you can enhance your user experience with intelligent use of it; using data the user didn’t even understand they were producing is a great method to develop unexpected, remarkable and gripping results.
Interruption based design
The regrettable spin-off of smart phones that can go anywhere and do hundreds of things is that inevitably, something is going to disrupt the user – either in real life, or from within the phone itself. By keeping your app easy and your interface clean, you help in reducing the cognitive load on the user, making them less likely to need to disengage from your app to do other things. However also make sure that it’s easy to get from where they ended if they are ejected out of your experience by an incoming call or their bus arriving – save states, break larger jobs down into smaller sized chunks, and put context throughout.
Your design is nver perfect
Even the most painstakingly-considered UX will ultimately contain some hidden flaw when taken into the real world. This begins even before users have actually got their hands on it. During development, some concepts will show technically impractical, however do not throw them out: return to the drawing board and exercise how you can deliver at least an approximation, and in most cases the user won’t even understand you’ve scaled down. And as the mobile marketplace continuously innovates and adjusts, what works today might not work tomorrow (and vice versa). Treat your app as a constantly developing entity, using data from analytics, user feedback, and new technological breakthroughs to continuously reassess and enhance the experience
Ultimately, the distinction between the mobile experience and that of more conventional digital design is that the small, sluggish hardware and distinct external needs placed on the user suggest there is little space for extremely sagging design and feature sets that have crept into some parts of the desktop. Even if you have no experience creating mobile, this restriction near sufficient forces you into following classic design best practices. As tactile objects, timeless product design theory and your own experiences of the real life will put you at a natural benefit in developing the mobile user experience – which means more time to spend on truly innovating with the app as a whole.