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How to Design an App for the Better User Experience?

As more and more apps are finding their way in app stores, getting your mobile app design loved by users is most crucial. Users want to see brilliant design elements in your app. However, no mobile app design is complete without consideration of best user experience.

While designing mobile app architecture, you are also at times designing the future user experience.

This clearly indicates that an app must deliver user-friendly experience in the first place. Poor user experience means a lot of disappointment and frustration coming your way. Designing an app for better UX is a key to getting competitive, noticed and viable in the crowded app market.

So here are 10 great tips to design an app for delightful user experience:

1. Simplicity and Minimalism

A UX design that offers simplicity and minimal steps for users to fulfil their purpose is an ideal structure of a successful mobile app. Simple content with clear graphic explanation is what users want especially when the app is focused on multiple tasks.

Too much flash and glamour can distract users and send them away. Extra colour and glitters can even discourage app users to take desirable actions. Apart from that, unnecessary images and shine can even affect the speed at which app loads.

Minimal design approach and its simple presentation can keep users’ focus in the right place and lead them to the final action in fewer steps. It also helps your app load faster so that users won’t think of switching to other rival apps.

2. Preferential UX design

Recently, the new trend has picked the nerve of mobile app design. Unlike conventional interface, many apps have designs that are tailored to appear according to users’ personal taste, likes and tendencies. With such extraordinary design shift, the old approach of one-size-fits-all is getting older now.

This kind of intelligent app design may be termed as adaptive UX design or preferential UI. It takes advantage of users’ personal information to deliver customized experience.

This unusual UX design is commonly found in Travel apps or Real Estate search apps. The design of such mobile apps accommodates all the correct information before users even demand. This is possible because of app’s ability to learn users’ preferences and interests based on previous search history and location settings.

3. Silent Magic of White Space

The empty space found between in-app elements of a page layout is ignored and seen as being negative. Many of us like to believe that whit space through the app content is useless and pointless, and that it needs to be eliminated.

This is a serious practical mistake a designer would ever do. On the contrary, white space (infamously known as negative space in the world of mobile app design) helps bring positive results.

We often underestimate the magical power of negative white space. However, you can use negative space to create more interest and draw more attention.

Seemingly considered as a passive element, this white space is actually an active hero that silently enhances the ease of reading, priority of interesting content and betters and visuals of the layout. It even makes it possible to notice the highlights of the content, resulting in the simplicity of viewing.

4. Great Visuals, Better Influence

Human eyes are the first place where images are primarily processed and briefly approved. In fact, we have a common proclivity to choose something that has ample aesthetic value. Mobile apps are one of such things as mobile app designers will highly concede.

Despite being virtual, mobile app design intrigues users as if it is tangible goods. Users download an app because of its usability and design splendour. Text-centric apps are not welcome, but apps with remarkable visual elements are.

Having an appealing mobile app often results into higher user engagement, better influence and pleasant user experience.

5. Keep a Sharp Eye on Market

Before you design or redesign your mobile app, make sure you dedicate an eye to the relevant market. Find out what is brewing in the market and what trends people tend to embrace most. This will set you on the heavy quest for scooping up the hot trends making signatures on the face of mobile app design.

The foremost thing to bear in mind before you think of user experience is the understanding of your own prime audience. The trends you learn from the app market are representative of customer’s behaviour, tastes and preferences.

Develop use cases that help you go still closer to your audience and help you design a user-focused interface for your app. The more interactive the interface is, the better will be the user experience.

6. Minimize the Burden for Users

Any veteran mobile app designer could not deny the importance of having a clean, clutter-free user interface. Every page you design for the mobile app must contain straight-to-the-point content and single call-to-action option. Users believe in limited attention span wanting their options quickly.

While designing an app, the best approach is to get users what they really want with minimal efforts.

This principle is highly appreciated for purpose-oriented apps. For instance, if it is a hair salon appointment app, it should process users’ preferable timings, style preferences and match it with availability of services to suggest the best solution.

In some cases, the app also detects the user’s location through GPS to tell the distance between their home and salon. The whole process should be kept simple and light, with minimum time-consuming content.

7. Effortless Navigation

Navigation holds immense importance especially if the app is aimed for ecommerce, social media or finance industry. Since much of user experience depends on the navigational ease, your app must comfort users while they flow or switch from one page to another.

If you are a Mobile app designer, you must know that users want the navigation to be simple, accessible and self-evident. Ideal navigation system of an app is the one that liberates them from using great efforts to understand it. So make it easy to discover despite the fact that mobile screen offers small screen.

Tab bars designed with suitable names of for each page can be a best solution to effortless navigation. It offers one tab selection to navigate across different pages.

8. Clever Push Notifications

In 21st century, due to pushy marketers, people tend to avoid countless messages coming from every corner of the consumer market. Mobile users avoid getting distracted by bombardment of push notifications on their digital devices.

Nobody is interested in your other products, discounts or information of your partner companies when all they want is to get straight down to the action.

In most cases, such exasperating push notifications can encourage users to quit your app forever.

So make a practice of sending only selected custom messages to users. Don’t ruin their busy hours by sending irrelevant messages. Instead, send messages of value on a certain intervals that won’t plague them.

Instead of giving them a rush in a short while, try to channel your messages in multiple slots like email, push notifications, in-app messages, etc. This will save both your reputation and brand.

Conclusion

While designing a mobile app, designers must remember the purpose of the app and how users are going to interact with its various elements and features. You can include these tips in your next mobile app design strategy to build a compelling mobile app. You must ensure that your app has the reason for users to use it and requires minimal time and effort to understand it. Whatever you do with your design, make sure your app retains its usability and has potential to deliver intuitive user experience.

How to Build an App?

If you have never attempted for building a mobile app, the idea of building one now may seem a little more challenging. Let’s face it, if you are going to make an app from scratch, you will encounter tons of advices and recommendations. Of course, you can think of hiring an app development company. However, one must realize the purpose of building the app.

Do you want to become an app entrepreneur, or resolve a certain problem? You must have a clear idea in your brain before you venture into the domain of mobile app development. Once you do, you can gather strong insight to make your vision a reality.

To give you a brief sketch, here is the list of steps you need to build a successful mobile app:

1.Put Your Objectives on Paper

Before you start thinking about complex coding and design elements, define what you wish to achieve. The technology part comes much later. First, some of the questions you need answers to are:

  • What is it that your app would do for you?
  • What problems is it going to address?
  • Will users fall for your app design or idea?
  • How will it add value to the life users?
  • Have you thought about app marketing?
  • How a mobile app will drive growth to your business?

These questions are goal finders and will help you come up with a strong strategy to achieve it. A lack of direction and vision means fruitless efforts. So try to define the clear objective of having an app.

To envision the app success, first try to figure out your audience and why they would interact with your business. Whether online or offline, users want to see what benefits they would get from it. If they find none, they will simply abandon your app.

After the audience comes your own business plan. Your future app can touch many areas of your current business like customer retention, ROI, repeated business, brand engagement, productivity, operational cost and brand awareness.

2.Define Your App Functionality & Features

After following the first step, you are sure about what you want to accomplish by making the app. Now its time to consider the internal content of your app. At this stage, you can go on to be creative and define your mobile app’s scope that includes most functionalities and features. Note down all these essentials you need to perfect the solution and achieve desired goals.

You can do as much as you imagine especially when nowadays there are many paid as well as open source plugins shared by online community. Make sure you add features that truly add value to customers.

The mantra is, to first start with all the typical elements followed later by innovative tweaks that can interest and engage the audience gradually.

3.Wireframes and Use cases

Wireframe means a lot in the world of mobile app development as it adds vivid clarity to the app making idea. Wireframe is a stage where foundation of your app is built. With a mature, well-shaped sketch of what your app will look like, Wireframe contains the skeleton of your design and its functional elements. It walks you through your app’s layout and flow.

As you go online, you will discover a reliable amount of wireframing websites that help you bring your idea to life and see the possibility becoming a reality. You are through with the objectives and desired functionalities of your app and have done your market research.

The visual guide of your wireframe helps you:

  • Measure what all users can achieve
  • Clarify your app’s future potential
  • Grasp the thought process involved in use cases
  • Understand the stages and steps required to complete each task
  • Optimize the flow and user’s journey to fulfil each goal
  • Revamp the design layout and find the most functional screen
  • Eliminate unnecessary flaws and confusing elements
  • Reduce development hours and even resultant cost

You can prepare the wireframes both online and offline. Offline method involves pen and a paper or ready made templates. Some of the thinkable online options include: Fluid UI, Adobe Suite, Proto, Moqups, Gliffy, Mockflow, JustinMind, Pidoco, Protoshare etc.

For better results, you may try one mock-up for each use case which includes the entire screen flow users take from opening your app to completing a task.

4.Shape the back-end of your app

At this stage, you go a step beyond building a wireframe and truly start developing your app. Using the storyboard of app functioning, you can design back end and examine the functionality.

Create the clear flow of diagrams that contains servers, APIs and database. For this purpose, you can either choose do-it-yourself app builders or go for tools that do it for you. Alternatively, if you are fresh in the business, you can ask reliable back end service providers that offer services of hosting and app data usage.

Don’t lose the clarity or add confusion in this phase. Create clear diagrams so that everyone working on the project can work in precise directions. In case of technical struggle, your wireframe should reflect the changes.

Here are the good examples of back end services for you: Parse, Kumulos, QuickBlox, Amazon AWS, Appery.io, Kony, Microsoft Azure etc.

5.Test the Wireframe

Before you move on to the next crucial phase of app development, it is time to test the user experience and flow of your app based on its visual representation.

Testing the wireframe will result into understanding of the ease of screen flow, detailed use case analysis and areas where improvement is needed. This exercise will save you frustrating repeated hard work in the future.

Testing Solutions

There are certain online prototyping tools that allow designers to generate highly interactive wireframe. You can even connect the static mock-ups and use cases with its online capabilities to simulate the wireframe for the purpose of testing.

All you have to do is simply put your project in there and create a new prototype and start testing the screens. Some of them are all-in-one tools that also enable you to share it with your colleagues and customers to assess users’ full journey in the app. Some of the useful tools for use case simulation are InVision, Justinmind, Marvel, Photo.io, Sketch etc.

6.Build the app

This step is the most crucial to seeing the well-determined face of your mobile app. At this stage, a lot of things are mulled over before implementing any app development action. One of the points of brainstorming while building the app is whether to choose Native app development or Hybrid apps.

            a) Native app development:

Based on a chosen operating system, you build your app from scratch for separate OS. In native app development, it takes heavy coding efforts as one needs to focus on both Apple app store (iOS) and Google Play store (Android) independently.

Despite being gruelling and expensive, native apps will result into robust and reliable performance. The downpoint is, two separate developer teams are employed for both the platforms for separate code bases. For this reason, any custom feature will take a few weeks or months before its deployment.

            b) Hybrid apps:

It uses cross platform mobile app framework that allows you to build apps across multiple platforms. The pro is that the same code base is distributed across different OS.

If performance is not a big problem for developers, Hybrid apps offer amazing ease and speed of app development. They work on a single code base that is deployed on both Android and iOS.

Some of the widely preferred framework options for hybrid apps are Xamarin, Phonegap, Ionic, Framework7, Appcelerator Titanium, Onsen UI, Sencha Touch, Kendo UI.

With the help of app builders, the puzzle will make sense as database, server and APIs are synchronized to work together. During the app building process, you may sign up and make an account in Play store or Apple store to launch the app in time.

7.Create User Interface

Creating a finest UI for your app is again one of the most critical stages of app design and development process. Here designers will use their creative knack and imaginative mind to carve the design of interface that can attract millions of users.

Always remember that UI is not just about creating fascinating aesthetics, but it should also reflect how easily app users can navigate. Try to process every feedback you received from testers so that your final interface design reflects them and leaves no scope of disappointment.

Ask your graphic expert to give you high resolution screens with impressive visual appeal from the wireframe you prepared earlier. To reiterate, always prioritize the need of users when working on the look and feel of your app. User feedback are indeed the best resort for building an impeccable UI.

8.Test your app

After your have accomplished developing the mobile app, it is time to test your product. This is to ensure your app is bug-free and delivers intuitive user experience.  There are two types of tests: internal and external.

Internal testing has you and the people from your own team pretending you all are users. It helps identify any bugs or UX problems.

In external testing, people who test and try your app are not familiar with your app. This tests help scoop up the kind of bugs and UX flaws that you could not detect through internal testing.

Some eminent app testing tools you may consider are: Katalon, Appium, Ranorex, eggPlant, Calabash, Sauce Labs, Robotium etc.

Live Environment Beta testing

You have already filtered your app through many stages of testing to produce an excellent, fully functional app. Now you need to test it for the live environment.

For Android app, the process is simple unlike iOS where the environment is austerely controlled. For Android, just upload your app apk file on any Android device and start testing it.

For beta testing, iOS urges you to use a special platform called TestFlight. Apple believes in specific discipline and precise directions to use its beta platform. Here you have an opportunity to get reviews about your app from beta testers so that your app will be polished further before going live.

9.Release and Launch

At this point, you can see your app idea transformed into an app reality. Hopefully, your app will solve users’ problem or has features that will attract them. Now the product is ready to venture out in the world. So start distributing.

When it comes to marketing and launching your app, Android and iOS both work differently. It is easy to release the android version to Google Play store and see your app getting downloaded. In Apple store, your app will be reviewed first. Hence, it may take a week or so before it goes live in iOS market.

To make your app visible and searchable in the app store, you will need to optimize the app for respective stores, which is called ASO (app store optimization). Many a time, ASO tricks are enough to get your app to be noticed by users within the store.

However, there are many other ways to promote your app outside the app store such as:

  • Email Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Press Releases

Last Word:

Either your hire an app development company or do it all yourself, make sure you have all the knowledge and resources for building a successful mobile app. You must be conversant with what all the efforts that go into creating a functional, aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly app. You will find a wealth of resources and community online to usher you down the path. Hopefully, the steps explained here will ease your concerns and enlighten you.