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The Complete Guide to Designing Your Next Mobile App

When it comes to designing a successful app, the key component that drives adoption is User Experience (UX). Consumers have a low tolerance rate for apps that don’t perform intuitively, load quickly, and are easy to use.

Good UX is not just a good idea. It should be at the heart of every design decision you make.

The process itself is complex, but the result shouldn’t be. The job of your mobile app designer is to make the result simple. As Steve Jobs once said, “Simple can be harder than complex.”

This article will review the top considerations for designing your next mobile app. Keep these considerations in mind throughout your design process to ensure you are creating a useful and intuitive app for your customer.

Fast Load Times

If a web page takes more than three seconds to load, half of the visitors will leave. Load times are no different in the app world. For every second it takes from launching an app to being ready for consumer use, you are taking a risk of losing a potential customer.

Keeping your app screen as clutter free as possible will help with the load time. This will also help with avoiding user overwhelm that comes from too many options. Keep the design simple and keep the content minimal as well.

Intuitive Design

As mentioned, it’s easy to overwhelm app users with too much information or too many options. The consumer does not want to make too many decisions, decision overload can kill the UX. Keep their choices minimal and you will improve your design and user experience.

The design of your mobile app needs to be intuitive. Users need to be able to jump right in without having to take a tutorial or think about what they’re doing. Roughly half of the calls to support teams deal with app functionality. “I can’t find where to…” is a common refrain from users.

Ease of Use

Over time, mobile apps can pick up a lot of clutter. Continuous design cycles mean adding new features and functionality. It can also lead to complexity. Get rid of anything that isn’t necessary to improve ease-of-use. Think functional minimalism when it comes to design.

Functional minimalism means a clutter-free design interface. Look at what is on the screen for your app and cut it in half. Give the user two to three choices at most, too many options will limit the ease of use for your app and frustrate users.

Minimal Interface

Functional minimalism starts with a minimal interface and intuitive controls. Consider industry-standard practices whenever possible. Just because you have a great new way to do something, doesn’t mean users will figure it out on their own. Keep your interface user friendly.

This doesn’t mean everything should be identical to other apps, though. Your design should be native to your app with a consistent feel to your brand. While you want to stand out, you don’t want to make your user have to think too hard to use it. People are busy and a minimal interface will give your mobile app the edge over your competitor.

Essential Content

When displaying content, stick to the essential information users need. If additional information is needed, let them unfold organically as users decide to uncover details. This not only provides user interaction, which is great for UX, but it also keeps the main screen clutter-free which we showed is essential when designing your interface.

As the user interacts with the information more is unfolded using progressive disclosure. Keep only the essential content on the main screen and let the user decide which information they would like to delve further into.

Simplify Input

Be ruthless when deciding what stays on the screen and what doesn’t. Minimize user input by continually analyzing the app interface. Always look for anything that might require an extra step from your user. For example, keep forms short. Use autocomplete when possible. Break tasks into sub-tasks to simplify the process for the user. What can your app provide for your customer to keep their actions and decisions minimal?

Guide The Experience

Good app design will anticipate user needs and guide them through the experience. For example, when users need to enter alphanumeric information, a keyboard should show up. When they need to enter numbers, a numeric keypad should display. If they need to enter location data, give them the option to use their current location without entering it.

Make Help Available

Consider pop-up explanations of “What’s this” cues for details that might not be instantly recognizable. Don’t make your customer have to think about how they will complete the task. Guide them through the process, anytime they might be confused be sure to offer an explanation or show an example. Again though, have this hidden from the main screen and only available as a pop up if they need it.

Consistent Branding

Marketers know that consistency is key in driving consumers through the customer journey. Apps should reflect similar design standards that are used in an organization’s logo, website, and physical signage. Your goal is that users immediately identify any one of these things with you and your brand.

The Importance of Intuitive Design

Creating an intuitive design gives your app the best chance possible for ongoing customer retention. 23 percent use an app one time and then never use it again. Even repeat users tend to abandon apps in a short period. 62 percent of users will use an app less than 11 times.

Before starting the app development process you need to research market fit. Identify which features and functionality the app will have to solve a user problem. Some of the work can be done by you during the initial planning phases, but you will want to hire a mobile app designer to ensure your UX is sound.

An intuitive design that’s easy to use can help your product breakthrough in a crowded app market. We have identified the top considerations you should examine before designing your next mobile app. Use this complete guide to improve your user experience and thus ensuring a successful product launch for your new app.

From ease of use and an intuitive design to a minimal interface and fast load times, never stop analyzing and researching how you can make your product design better. Simple is not easy but it is essential to UX.

Be sure to show only the bare essential information that your user needs to best use your app. This will cut down on decision fatigue and provide a great experience. Also keep your design consistent with your branding so that your customers immediately identify with your company and brand.

Lastly, guide your customer through their customer journey with your product. Keep the amount of input from your customer to a minimum and provide intuitive features such as smart input and custom keyboards. Also, answer your customer’s questions with on screen pop ups to keep your customer on your screen. Ensure they do not need to leave your screen for any reason.

Keep it simple to provide the best experience possible for your customer. The best app in the world with a confusing UI will never succeed. Don’t make your end user have to think too much when using your app, this will greatly increase your UX and improve the design of your new mobile app.

Matt Shealy

Matt Shealy is the President of Chamber specializes in helping small businesses grow their business on the web while facilitating the connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

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