As a mobile app designer, you only have a few seconds to capture the attention of users before they abandon your app or site. It is easier to captivate them by following the established mobile app UI design principles, as they create a better overall user experience.
Design principles that you need to keep in mind for mobile interface design are slightly different from other UX design principles such as a website. Even within the larger category of mobile UX design there are subtle differences in what works for a mobile app and a mobile website. When users download an app, they are looking for a unique experience that is different from the mobile website. They don’t want another version of the website taking up storage space on their phone. Most users will not hesitate to delete an app they no longer find useful or entertaining.
Mobile design cannot be overlooked. Since more and more people now access the internet from their mobile and devices other than their desktop computers. Therefore designers need to ensure that they keep mobile UX best practices and laws of design in mind while designing mobile apps.
Let us look at what these principles are and how they can help in better user experience designing.
Put the User First
As is the rule with any design related product or service, designers should always put their users first. Since mobile apps have less space, users will have more specific needs and wants. If an app does not satisfy their needs or provide a good user experience, it is very likely that users will delete the app and move on to other websites, apps or distractions.
Make Navigation Intuitive
Users should be able to easily navigate around a mobile app. This can be achieved by using recognisable design patterns and familiar design icons, that users recognise like the home icon, chat bubble for messaging, etc. in the mobile app wireframe.
Navigation on a mobile app needs to be simple and intuitive to keep users engaged.
Create a Seamless Experience Across Devices
Users have a much better user experience on the app, when they can seamlessly transition from accessing content on their desktop to an app or mobile website. For users to have this kind of a seamless experience, the design elements across devices need to mirror one another. This achieves two goals – making it easier for your users to use your app and also building trust with the brand.
Focus on User Goals
The goals that a user is trying to achieve on a mobile app are significantly different than the goals they would have on say, a full desktop site. For example on a food delivery app, the user is going to want to easily scan through the nearest restaurants in his/her area, look at the menu, order and get quick delivery. They don’t need to read the entire story of the restaurant or get directions to the location.
Thus it is essential that developers think through what a user actually wants to do on a mobile app. Make it as simple and uncomplicated as possible for users to achieve their tasks.
Allow for Personalisation
Providing a personalised experience on the mobile app is the best way to improve user experience. If you push users towards content that they’re actually looking for, they are more likely to use the app more often. Because then the app is not a distraction, but is actually useful to them.
However, the app needs to also protect the privacy of the user and not infringe on their basic rights. If an app becomes too personalised, the user might end up feeling apprehensive.
Always Make Things Easier
When users need to fill out long forms or unnecessary details to even complete basic tasks it can end up making them feel disgruntled and frustrated. Thus the job of the designer is to make achieving tasks as easy as possible for the user. They should completely eliminate any extra steps that are not vital to the task and make them suitable for a mobile interface.
For example, designers can activate predictive text input on form fields, so that users don’t have to type as much.
Great Onboarding Practices
Customise your onboarding based on the kind of mobile app you are designing. Apps that are straightforward and simple to use do not require a lot of onboarding. A few screens explaining the unique features is all that is required. More complex apps will require more comprehensive onboarding.
Use Established Gestures
Your users have already used several mobile apps and certain gestures would have become intuitive for them. Gestures like pinching to zoom and swiping come naturally to most users and should be used wherever possible. If you are using unique gestures on the app then ensure that you ease users into this deviation either during the onboarding experience or when the use-case appears for the first time.
Apart from the best practices mentioned above, there are several additional mobile app UI best practices that UX designers can follow to design an even better user experience on mobile apps such as focusing on data speeds and optimising the app for them, providing feedback as users perform actions such as tactile and audio feedback and lastly minimise data input. The more data a user has to enter into a mobile app, the more likely they are to abandon the task.
Following these established UI UX principles, will without a doubt enhance the user experience for the people visiting a mobile site or using a mobile app. To be able to compete with the thousands of apps on the market, an app needs to be user-friendly, intuitive and streamlined.