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10 Best Practices to Enhance Your Mobile App User Experience

 

Mobile app development starts and ends with the user. The difference between a successful mobile app and one that fails in the market is a quality user experience (UX). Without a thorough understanding of your target users’ in-app behavior patterns or psychological underpinnings, you won’t be able to build a mobile product to satisfy a central goal or exceed expectations.

 

UX involves everything affecting a user’s perception and interaction with a product. Developing a mobile app against user data facilitates the design thinking process, which creates practical solutions to address real user pain points. This article outlines ten different strategies to implement throughout the lifecycle of a mobile app to continually achieve an optimal UX.

 

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Error-Free Functionality

App creators don’t always focus enough of their efforts on perfecting the functionality of an app for their users and regrettably end up with a faulty product. A report from Localytics reveals that 21 percent of mobile users abandon an app after one use if the app doesn’t deliver the experience they expect.

 

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. Remember to offer relevant mobile-only functionalities that will encourage more users to download your app rather than reverting to a website.

Efficient Onboarding

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. If the user is having trouble within the first few screens, they’ll likely drop off without hesitation. Delivering an excellent onboarding experience is the foundation for attracting and retaining users. Within the first week of downloading an app user retention already drops by 25 percent; however, Localytics observed that where efficient onboarding was implemented, an increase of 50 percent in app user retention was noticed.

 

There are many strategies you can integrate to maximize the mobile UX during the onboarding 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 number of steps needed for account creation/signup, and include multiple registration options (i.e. sign in with Facebook or Google).

Usability

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 deletes an item, 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.

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 zero results.

Limit User Input

This is the data users are required to enter, such as their credit card 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. 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, spell-check, and prediction text assistance.

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 they can use the app. Permissions can include asking for credit card information when there isn’t an e-commerce function integrated into an app or access to your photo gallery 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.

 

A report from the New York Times found that apps containing location sharing code are more common than we think. The report states that at least 75 companies receive precise location data from apps whose users enable location services to get local news and weather, for example. The report also states that the reported locations are accurate to within a few yards and in some cases, updated more than 14,000 times a day.  

 

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.

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.

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, or live chats.

Personalize the UX

Personalization helps provide a more unique and relevant experience to the user. Whenever possible, personalize the UX by leveraging user data to display relevant content and material in the app. For example, Provide users with specific retailer deals based on their location. The more aligned the experience is with a user’s needs and preferences, the more likely they are to continue to use the application.

Taking it a step further, including the user’s name on the 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.

Tactical UI Design

A main contingency of the UX is the quality of its user interface (UI). To learn about the UI click here.  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.

Final Thoughts

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 advancement. These ten considerations will help you shape the ultimate mobile UX within the context of a user-centered approach.

 

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Chris Ciligot
Chris Ciligot