Today every product is being developed with mobile-first in mind. It happens for a reason – the market for smartphone apps is exploding! Just in a recent year, users downloaded 218 billion mobile applications to their devices, increasing from 140.7 billion in 2016 (according to Statista). It gives an insight into the state of mobile nowadays: each day people rely on their mobile devices.
The worst-case scenario for your digital product would be when a user decides to uninstall an application because of a bad experience. It can be avoided simply by following the best practices for mobile design and this is what this article focuses on.
What is Mobile UX Design?
Mobile user experience (UX) design is the process of creating a subjective experience for apps on mobile devices such as smartphones or wearables. Designers improve mobile interactivity by paying attention to factors such as accessibility or solution effectiveness.
Be careful and don’t make the mistake of confusing UX (user experience) with UI (user interface). Both have a tight relationship with each other, yet they are not the same. UX extends further than the graphics of UI design as well as developing the mobile app itself. UX is more about how users will feel when using it. It’s important to find a unique balance between company objectives and context, users behavior, and content for each project.
UX design important tips for mobile apps
It may be difficult to provide a good user experience on mobile. As already said, there are several factors to consider when designing a mobile app, such as the rising number of mobile devices, or the methods of how people engage with them. It’s worth mentioning that both Android and iOS have their recommendations on UX that every mobile designer should be aware of – Google’s Designing Great User Experiences and Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines.
Here are additional design bits of advice that I’ve prepared based on my experience so far. These 14 strategies should assist you with the next major digital product.
1. Empathize with the user
One of the most effective mobile app design practices is looking at work from the perspective of users. Being too optimistic about work may make you overlook some of the modifications that are necessary to make. Focus on what the target audience needs to make the most of your mobile app. You may achieve this by imagining yourself in the shoes of a user.
2. Do UX research
It’s tempting to jump directly into designing the UX, but the importance of conducting comprehensive UX research beforehand cannot be overstated. Keep in mind that the user is different from you and may have a different view of UX. Great user experience depends on extensive research.
3. KISS principle
According to the KISS principle (Keep it simple, stupid), design should prioritize simplicity and minimize needless complexity. Users will become confused and depart if you overwhelm them. Instead, focus on easy usability, include tips, visual cues, or other capabilities in mobile applications to help users.
4. Stay minimalistic
To this day, minimalism is extremely trendy in the design world. Unsurprisingly, it influences the design of mobile apps. Its directness is synonymous with a company’s credibility. And what’s more important, it’s fairly simple to build a simple design. Your users are looking for utility and simplicity of use so it’s best not to clutter screens with many interface elements. By balancing between a basic design and distinctive functionality, you will achieve better results.
5. Simplify the steps
The user’s journey should be simple to achieve the main mobile apps’ purpose. Don’t overcomplicate things. Reduce the effort users have to put by avoiding filling out lengthy forms, offloading tasks, diving large tasks into chunks, and designing clear tabs as well as navigation.
6. Prioritize one activity
It’s tempting to cram in many features at once. However, you should have only one primary activity for each screen, additionally making it obvious by using for example a different color. It means that actions like signing in or confirming operations mostly should be on a separate screen.
7. Consider a thumb-friendly zone
Don’t forget to think about your consumers’ physical comfort while designing an app. It’s a good idea to re-design the content if you notice that the way you’ve positioned it causes even the smallest pain. Put tapping buttons in a location that the thumb can easily tap.
8. Match the fonts
Varying fonts may create different feelings while still offering simple readability. And the poor typeface decision may also ruin your design. Be careful you select fonts that function well in different weights. It’s also recommended to use at least a font size of 11 points.
9. Make scrolling feel natural
Scrolling is an excellent method to maintain readers’ attention when reading a lot of information. But in some cases, it also might turn annoying. Use a horizontal scroll to reflect intuitive scrolling and give a visual cue when there’s another content available.
10. Get rid of clutter
Crowded space on a mobile screen can be stressful. Every additional button or image adds to the complexity of your product. As already mentioned, you should strive for minimalism. Of course, not at the expense of usefulness, but a common way to do this is using one major action on your screen.
11. Use familiar native elements
Keep conventional menus, such as the iOS bar or Android navigation. You don’t have to create an innovative design solution as it could work negatively on UX. Usually, users are already acquainted with patterns and the solutions provided by operating systems seem natural to them. Changing it may harm the simplicity of the mobile app.
12. Keep the consistent experience
Whenever your mobile app is available on multiple platforms or supports the web version, make sure the user has a consistent experience. Create a seamless experience. It should be comparable to other devices so when someone decides to switch so that it won’t be hard to adapt. Additionally, this is something that makes your design more remarkable as users are more familiar with it independently of the device.
13. Integrate inclusive mobile experience
Inclusivity is so often avoided by designers when in the context of UX design it’s one of the most important things. A good UX should be for everyone and its designers’ responsibility to make it more accessible for people with disabilities. Make text simpler to read or change it, provide ways to help users navigate, and maximize the compatibility of assistive technology.
14. Gather user feedback
As mentioned, the primary objective of a designer is to offer users a positive UX. The best way to verify your ideas is to ask the user about them. Reliable feedback will assist you in determining what works or doesn’t. With this information, you’ll be able to determine what needs to be changed. Implementing analytics into the mobile app will give you all information to effectively improve UX.
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Implementing the design principles for your digital product
Using these 14 UX best practices for the mobile design process can help you build an application that attracts and converts your target audience. The competition in today’s mobile app market is huge and its good user experience may be a key factor to stand out from the crowd. And for anyone who wants to build a digital product, pricing is a critical factor – for more information, check out our free ebook on custom software development pricing.