Owing to increasing internet reach (spanning even the developing countries) and high speeds, mobility is everywhere. As desktop internet usage has declined from 90% to 60% in a span of just 3 years, that of mobile devices has increased to 40%. Taking cue from this trend, we are convinced that mobile devices are going to conquer the “desktop internet access” market. Soon. Very soon.
As businesses and mobile app makers (and designers) are all set to quickly conquer the “mobile internet access” market, their prime focus lies on building a presence. Quality and design are less thought of. In a hurry to get their app in the market in a short span of time, they use some self destructive UX design approaches, which in the later course, end up giving an unfavorable return on their app making efforts.
The most common approach used by designers while building UX for a mobile application (when they are short of time) is to tone down the desktop website and make it responsive. This is an example of a poor strategy for mobile UX designing. Instead of scaling down the site, a designer must assess the importance of mobile presence in the first place, in order to make the app a success in terms of : Developing new revenue streams, boosting brand identity and user engagement.
Let’s uncover some noteworthy points a UX designer must abide by in order to invoke the desired emotional or transnational response from your target user.
Essential Points For Designing An Awesome Mobile UX Design
Owing to a comparatively smaller screen space in mobile application, good interaction and clarity can be jeopardized. That should not happen as a UX designer is not only working on a smaller screen, but a much smaller attention span of their user.
As people use their mobile devices while on-the-go, they can’t attentively use an app. It’s a developer’s job to make navigation and user experience as smooth and simple, also keeping path to “action” as short as possible. For ex: is you are designing an eCommerce app, navigation to the shopping cart must be smooth and involve minimum number steps to avoid the chances of cart abandonment.
In terms of visual appeal, minimalistic is the way to go. Go for the flat design approach to keep clutter low and make sure that each page has just one central focus.
Another very important aspect is to make the user as independent as possible. They should not have to look the “How to” menu every time they perform a function. Don’t assume that they will automatically pick on typical gestures such as “swiping to navigate to next page” or “horizontal scroll”. When you have arrows or hover over messages, the user finds it easily to go through the app. Bottom line is that its the small things that matter big while designing mobile UX.
Leveraging the best of mobile device and OS
Each mobile operating system has various features to offer. Ranging from sensors (slide to unlock) to GPS and Gyrometers, to motion sensitivity (silent mode when phone is shaken or turned upside down). Now these aspects are not available on desktops and a mobile UX designer must leverage the best of them Mobile experience of these website can be taken a notch further so much so that users prefer mobile application more than the website.
The simplest example of leveraging mobility is having the “click to call” feature on your contact page. You can also offer location specific services and information in order to make the user derive maximum utility out of your app.
Overall, awesome mobile UX comes from the designer thinking out of the box, from the user’s perspective.
See More: 40 Freebies For Mobile UI design
Using familiarity to your advantage
As mentioned earlier, it is imperative that a user does not have to go looking for “How to-s” or “User manuals”. Luckily, for mobile application UX designers, the target audience has already been using desktop web applications for ages and are accustomed to certain graphics. For ex: the magnifying glass next to a text box is automatically considered as the search option. Point is that people are accustomed to certain standards and experiences which you must use to your advantage. Moreover, users must be able to link their experience on the web application. Popular aspects from the website (based on data analytics) must be given prime importance when displaying on app. Call to action buttons just also have the same look and feel as that in the website.
Fast is awesome
Do away with the bulky images, gradients and shadows. For a mobile user, speed is important. Flat Design ,single color schemes and icons work wonders in achieving that. A user might appreciate a beautiful app, but the same will irritate them when it is slow to load. Incorporate the basics of what is possible with CSS and incorporate them in your mobile app. Also do away with using fancy text as images in your mobile UX design.
People hate forms
People are lazy. They don’t like to type. Especially on small screens and smaller keyboards. Its cumbersome. A good UX designer understands this and either keeps forms simple and short, or gives the option of social media signup/login. Also intelligent options are pre-fill and auto fill data based on history in order to avoid having the user to type repetitive data.
Some examples of good tactics are visual calendars, progress bars for long forms, top aligned label positioning etc.
And their fingers are fat
People do not use stylus anymore on their touch screens. They use fingers which do not give the precision of mouse that desktop users enjoy. A web application developer thus, might not bother much about this aspect, but for mobile UX designers it’s the difference between an awesome and an irritating app.
Make sure that forms, images and icons that require touch action are large enough to avoid overlap with adjoining elements or misrepresentation of touch event.
Avoiding complicated menus
Unlike desktop applications, mobile applications cannot afford to have menu bar at the top of the screen owing to limited screen space. UX designers adopt the menu drop down icon on the top left or right corner of the page.
Another aspect which doesn’t work on mobiles is multi level menus having sub menus that appear when you hover over them. Mobile users are impatient. They will hardly wait through 4 menus to reach to their desired page. The might make an exit after the second menu itself. Strategically placing information in a single drop down menu and avoiding multiple menus is the only solution.
A good mobile app UX designer understands the real word user and their expectations, achieving a natural advantage in his/her designs. This even compensates for the lack of experience (if applicable). Time spent on coming out with innovative UX designs always pays off.