In our previous post, we discussed the importance of the user experience (UX) in determining the success of your mobile application. Here are 3 rules for creating a successful user experience for your app.

Raise your eyebrow if you’ve ever mixed up UX and UI! The UI is the design of the user interface which will serve as a link between the machine and the user. The UX is the user experience. As such, it covers the interface’s design aspects, as well as its ergonomics, the architecture of your application (or website), users’ expectations, and the way in which they behave. In actual fact, although the UX is often associated with all things digital, it’s actually an age-old concept: designing it involves understanding what your users’ needs are and how things should work. So it factors in your app’s meaning, its utility, its usability, how it functions and how users perceive it.

For your mobile app to be successful, the UX needs to meet three criteria:

  1. Your app has to satisfy a particular need
  2. It has to make people want to use it
  3. It has to be easy to use

Step 1: Think Mobile

Maybe telling someone to “Think Mobile” when they’re designing a mobile app is stating the obvious. And yet… Doing so involves designing your mobile application as an entity in its own right – and not just as a retooled version of your website. You have to move from an approach that involves offering a stripped-down version of your offering to one that involves gradual improvement (Read).

Your website has been designed to be accessed via a PC screen – with considerably more real estate than that provided by a smartphone. Users can also access it via a tablet computer, which offers a compromise between the two. All too often, a responsive design website is a site that adapts its display to the dimensions of the screen on which it is being viewed. So the format is changed, but content is only very rarely adapted. The result is that the site’s ergonomic design is not really tailored for mobile devices. The user experience is a big disappointment. The interface is negatively impacted: initially designed for a large screen, it ends up being shrunk down so that the site can still just about work on a smartphone.

Thinking Mobile means thinking about the ergonomic design and the features and functions of your application specifically in terms of how they can be accessed on a mobile device – both in format and content. So it means focusing on functions and features which are useful when you’re on the move. The idea of gradual improvement relates to the fact that these functions and features are further developed when you switch to a PC screen to create the website. It’s therefore important to develop the mobile application based on how users use their mobile devices – and not give into temptation and simply provide a version of the web offering.

Step 2: Focus on speed and efficiency

To satisfy a need, your app has to focus on functions and features which are essential for your users. We’ve already broached this subject in a number of previous posts: prototyping your app involves precisely defining the functions that your users expect from your service offering.

If you add pointless features, you’ll risk losing your users by giving them an app that is too complex and takes too much time to use. The more minimalistic your app is, the better its ergonomics will be. Remember: the number one reason for uninstalling an app is because it’s too slow. Design a minimum viable product to make sure your app meets your users’ needs (link 1).

Step 3 – Adapt the UX to the user, not the other way around

Should your own business expertise be the only expertise to inform the idea underpinning your application and the way it’s designed? Do you think you know your clients well enough to be able to design the app that they really need?

Different types of business expertise are needed to design a successful UX for your application: marketing, sales, IT, creative, ergonomic design, etc. Your app’s UX is more of a mindset than a business: the ability to understand what your users want and how they want to use it.

Your app’s success will also be contingent on your ability to listen to and understand your users. Analyzing data that you collect will provide important details about the pathways that your users take, together with their requirements and their behavior. When you’re designing your app, validate your work at each stage of the prototyping process by getting your users involved.

This way, you can validate:

  1. The utility of its features and functions
  2. How effectively your users are able to interact with it
  3. The way in which information is organized
  4. How at ease your users will be with it
  5. The fluidity of your interface

The UX is not a “finished” process. Instead, it’s more of an ongoing improvement process. Feedback from your users and – more generally – all the data that you can collect about your mobile app’s usability will help you optimize it once it has been released.

At Wakanda, we believe that this ongoing improvement process is fundamental to your mobile app’s success. This is why the 5 steps involved in producing an app are incorporated into the same working environment (read) :

  1. Prototyping
  2. Developing
  3. Connecting to your company’s legacy systems
  4. Releasing
  5. Managing

This integrated approach speeds up your mobile app’s production and optimization for use with different types of terminals.