10 Best Practices to Enhance Your Mobile App User Experience
The success of your app is contingent on a number of different factors, however, the most important one is the overall user experience (UX). Delivering a quality UX will make the difference between a successful mobile app and one that fails in the market.
Without a thorough understanding of your users’ behavioral patterns and psychological underpinnings, you won’t be able to build a successful product that satisfies your users and exceeds their expectations. Gathering user data and creating user personas is just the beginning of the long UX journey. Mobile users now demand a lot more from apps to keep them coming back after the initial download. We outline 10 different tactics to implement throughout the lifecycle of your app to achieve an optimal UX.
1. Error-Free Functionality
Many app creators don’t spend enough time perfecting the functionality of their app and regrettably end up with a faulty product. Experience Dynamics states that 90% of users reported they stopped using an app due to poor performance while over 86% deleted or uninstalled at least one mobile app because of its flawed functionality. If your app doesn’t work to begin with, the rest of your UX elements won’t matter.
The functionality of the app must help the user complete the tasks they need to accomplish to achieve their goal, which is the motivation for downloading the app to begin with. Prioritizing core features during the product roadmap phase of development will enable users to complete tasks more easily. Creating a product roadmap will help you prioritize the features that are deemed as the most important and which ones are nice-to-haves. Offer relevant mobile-only functionalities that will encourage more users to download your app rather than reverting to their desktop. A study from Compuware reveals that 79% of mobile users report that they would only retry an app once or twice if it failed to work the first time and only 16% said they would give it more than two attempts.
2. Efficient Onboarding
With mobile apps, the onboarding process is critical in determining the success or failure of your product. If the user is having trouble within the first few screens, they’ll likely drop off with little hesitation. Delivering an excellent onboarding experience is the foundation for attracting and retaining users. The goal of onboarding is to show the value of your app to the user, by demonstrating how they can achieve what they want, quickly and efficiently.
There are many strategies you can integrate to maximize the mobile UX during this phase to encourage users to come back time after time, such as a tutorial to show the user how the app works. This is progressive onboarding, ideally used if your app has a complex workflow or hidden functionalities that the user may not be aware of right away. Great user onboarding not only lowers abandonment rates, but can also help boost long-term success metrics like user retention and user lifetime value. Another consideration to keep in mind is to reduce the sign-up and registration fields so users can onboard faster.
Usability encompasses the layout of information, design, content, and other elements that enable users to accomplish their goals within the app. Help your users by telling them which icons can be selected, tapped, or swiped. Ensure that you remain consistent with gestures throughout the app to optimize usability. For example, if swiping up means throwing an item in the trash, make sure the same is true for all screens within the app. Also, consider the size of buttons and links by making them easy to tap and well-spaced to avoid any selection errors.
4. Reduce Search Effort
Help your users find what they need quickly to satisfy their needs and drive conversion rates. There are a number of search strategies you can integrate into your app such as barcode scanning and keyword search. Providing users with a search option and filters to guide them directly to what they’re looking for will significantly increase conversion rates. The purpose of this method is to help users find exactly what they’re looking for so it’s important that the search integration doesn’t filter down to 0 results.
5. Limit User Input
This is the data users are required to enter, such as their credit and billing information, during registration or checkout for example. User input should always be minimal on mobile devices as users may get frustrated with the smaller screen size and drop off. To avoid high drop off rates, make sure to limit the number of fields and only include necessary information. Streamline this process by integrating autocomplete, spellcheck, and prediction text assistance.
6. Assure Security and Trustworthiness
Many users will download an app only to be overwhelmed with a long list of permissions waiting to be accepted before allowing access to the app. A McAfee study found that privacy-invading apps are more common than ever before, with many containing malware. This research found that 82% of apps track mobile activities with 80% of those actually collecting location information.
Many apps ask for credit card information when there isn’t an e-commerce function integrated into the app, and the same goes with photo gallery permissions with no explicit need for it. This correlates directly with the level of trust and comfort that users feel when using a mobile app, affecting overall brand loyalty. Make sure you provide transparent permission policies and allow your users to control how their personal information is shared within a mobile app.
By clearly outlining your business policies and practices, your users will feel more secure accepting permissions. Include direct links to your privacy regulations page, particularly for a retail app. Reinforce credibility by displaying trusted badges of security, especially when users are trusting your brand with their personal and financial information.
7. Integrate Behavioral Gesturization
Gesturization involves the actions users make while interacting with your app such as pinching, swiping, and scrolling. For example, swipe gestures now facilitate actions such as “share” and “delete”. Knowing how your users behave is crucial for gesturization in order to understand what actions they’re familiar with. This way, users will feel more comfortable with your app, making the onboarding process much easier.
8. Offer Assistance
Offer your users assistance within the app by providing different support options. Users will often search for help in the toolbar or tab bar of an app. Offer multiple ways for users to receive support, including self-serve FAQs and live support through click-to-call buttons.
9. Personalize the UX
Personalization is when the behavior of past visits is recorded by an app, and stored for retargeting purposes. If a user has specific buying patterns, you can provide them with suggestions and deals to assist them with their purchasing decisions. Personalization helps provide a more unique, relevant experience to the user. The more aligned the experience is with a user’s needs and preferences, the more likely they are to continue to use the application.
Whenever possible, personalize the UX by using user data to display relevant content and material in the app. Taking it a step further, including the user’s name on screen and in messaging is an easy and effective way to personalize. Be sure to only display hyper-relevant content to each individual user for best results. Implementing too many push notifications or pushing irrelevant content will most likely irritate the user.
10. Tactical UI Design
Lastly, a main contingency of the UX is the quality of its user interface (UI). Make sure you design for glanceability and quick scanning as user behaviors are much different on mobile. Glanceability refers to how quickly and easily the visual design conveys information. Maintain visual consistency with the color palette, typography, and all other design elements. Create a seamless visual flow that will guide users from the initial element of the design to other elements to help them complete their goals with ease.
Creating an optimized mobile app user experience involves many elements that work systematically to satisfy users while also meeting business goals. An optimal UX requires an innovative shift away from conventional practices towards a mobile-specific way of thinking. With smaller screens, variations of device capabilities, and changing user behaviors, mobile UX holds many opportunities for advancements. These 10 considerations will help you shape the ultimate mobile UX within the context of a user-centered approach.
As a full service custom mobile app development company, Clearbridge Mobile handles the entire lifecycle of your product from Planning and Strategy, UX/UI Design, App Development, QA/User Acceptance Testing, to Technical Delivery. We use a unique agile development process that gives you control over scope, reduces your risk, and provides you predictable velocity. Start a conversation today to get started on your mobile project.