Mobile App UX Matters 2019
Sounds like something only design wizards and tech gurus need to know, right? Actually, marketers should be familiar with it, too.
Why? Because unlike books, people judge apps not only by their cover but also by their navigation and pages...and color schemes...and fonts...and how simple they are to use.
Even if your app is built with great technology and has engaging content, usability and design play a big part in forming people’s impressions of it.
UX is all about making complex processes easy and intuitive for users.
Think about going for a walk. Each step requires complex interactions between nerves, muscles, tendons, and more. But when you’re strolling through the park, you don’t have to think about all of that – you just walk.
In the same way, good UX makes sure that people don’t have to think about all of the things that go into their journey through the app, like the font or color choice, scrolling speed, and more.
UX also affects how people use your product, and it’s a key factor in determining whether they use it at all.
Good UX can increase conversion rates and keep people coming back for more. That’s because it makes it easy for them to achieve their goals – from buying a shirt to learning a new language.
Bad UX can make people unhappy. And when people are unhappy, they uninstall.
UX isn’t just the duty of developers and designers. Your app’s UX must meet your goals, be true to your brand identity, and be right for your audience.
Before you start building your app, ask yourself: “Why am I making an app?” “What kind of app is it?” and “Who am I making it for?”
Answering these questions will help you design a mobile experience that’s right for both your brand and your target audience’s goals. You will also have a better idea of what resources you’ll need to build your UX.
There are plenty of ways to create the best experience for people and to help them discover information in your app, but it all depends on your app’s goals.
To make people’s mobile experience more, well, mobile, you can allow them to navigate through your app in nonlinear ways. Let them skip to different sections or features without starting over or losing unsaved data.
You could also build an in-app search feature or set up predictive text, root word recognition, or autocorrection to make it easier for people to find what they’re looking for.
Only ask people to register for your app if it’s necessary or relevant. After people register, minimize the number of times they need to enter their password.
If someone forgets their password, make it easy for them to sign back in. You could email them a link to reset their password or have them set up touch ID for easier sign-in.
When asking for information from people, like location, always explain why you need it. This lets them know how the information will make their experience better and will make you seem less like Big Brother and more like a helpful friend.
Good UX allows people to complete their goals easily, and without having to leave your app.
Make sure your app’s features (like the keyboard) work with different mobile screen sizes and allow people to zoom in to see images and text better.
Entry forms should be easy to use: Enable auto-capitalization and autofill, have relevant keys like “.com,” and automatically advance people once they finish a section. Also, show them any errors they made right away.
To make your app human and approachable, avoid using jargon and check your content for technical and complex terminology. Also, consider providing confirmation when a user completes an action by showing visual feedback.
Prevent people from leaving your app too soon by keeping all relevant features in-app. For example, if a customer is looking at movie showtimes on a ticketing app, a calendar should pop up with screening times and dates.
Lastly, before you finish up, test every feature in your app to see if you can accomplish what you wanted – first as a marketer, and then as a user. This will ensure that your app allows both your brand and your users to fulfill their goals.
Just like planning a dinner party, UX is about paying attention to small details so you can create enjoyable online and app experiences for your audience.
At first, it might be tempting to only think about details that help communicate what YOU want people to know (like information about your products and services) and what YOU want them to do (like clicking the “buy now” button).
But you also need to think about how your online and app experiences are making people feel. Are you confusing them? Are you coming off as cold and uncaring? Are you rushing them or being too demanding?
Strong UX arranges all your information and interactions in a way that’s pleasing to people. And, when the UX of your site or app makes people feel good, they’re more likely to stick around and become your customers.
Many businesses find it helpful to hire a UX designer. Even if you decide to go this route, it’s a smart idea to get into the “good UX” mindset on your own. An essential part of this is thinking like a potential customer instead of a business owner.
As a potential customer, what actions would you want to take on your site or in your app? Write all of these actions down on separate sticky notes.
For example, some actions would be: find information, watch videos, make comments, research products or services, buy those products or services, and watch videos.
Arrange your actions/sticky notes in the order that potential customers would do them (AKA a user flow). You may need to make duplicate sticky notes since some actions can happen multiple times on your site or in your app.
Make sure each action can be completed in 5 steps or less. For example, to “make a purchase,” people would need to 1) land on the homepage, 2) click the product category, 3) click the product page, 4) check out.
TIPIt’s smart to do this exercise even if your site or app is already live. To help, you can have a friend go through your site or app and give you feedback. Use the sticky notes to write down actions that your site or app currently has, and any actions you need to add.
Now, use different colored notes to map out what feelings or emotions you want people to have when they complete an action.
For example, when people land on your homepage, you might want them to feel welcomed, excited, and curious. Or when they make a purchase, you might want them to feel satisfied and happy.
Your UX can evoke these different feelings via a combination of shapes, colors, navigation, content, and/or sounds. The right mixture of elements depends on your brand’s identity, voice, and style, as well as who your target audience is.
Let’s say you own a spa with a luxurious brand identity, and you want people to feel calm and peaceful when they visit your homepage. You’d probably use tranquil sounds and a sophisticated design instead of loud music and neon colors.
You’re now ready to sketch out how each page or frame of your site or app should look. You can do this using a whiteboard or a notepad.
This will help you get a better sense of what actions need to happen on which pages, and what elements need to be on each page to help people complete those actions.
For example, if a spa wants people to easily choose their preferred treatment category from the homepage, the sketch of that page needs to include buttons to all 4 categories: massages, waxing, body treatments, and facials.
You can use the UX flow you created on your sticky notes and sketches as an outline or plan for building your website, mobile site, or app.
If you have the budget, you can hire a designer to create your site. But, if you’d like to go it alone, you can use online tools like Square-space, Go-Daddy, Shopify or Weebly to build your site.
If you’re building a mobile app, you’ll probably need to hire both a designer and a developer to help you out, unless you’ve got some serious coding skills.
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The marketing that leads to your site or app should match your UX. If the UX of your site is designed to give visitors a relaxed, no-pressure exploration of your offerings, then you should probably avoid online ads that say, “TIME IS RUNNING OUT! BUY NOW!!!”
How do you know if your UX is working as hard as it should? By testing early and often, and making any tweaks or changes as necessary.
If you have the budget, you can run user experience research before you launch your site or app. This type of research gives you usability feedback from people who are representative of your target audience.
Also, A/B testing different UX designs for your site or app can help you determine which UX best helps you and your customers reach your goals.
If you don’t have extra budget for testing, you can still do an informal version of A/B testing while you’re in the sticky note phase. Just come up with different options for actions and flows, and test them with friends and associates.
Ask them which actions and flows work the best. Have them show you how they’d complete each action. Make sure the questions you ask are open-ended (not yes or no) and focus on clarity and efficiency.
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