The Best Ways to Improve the User Experience and Usability of your Mobile App
May 30, 2019
May 30, 2019
As you well know, millions of apps exist in the Google Play and Apple App Stores. But did you know that among those millions, as of this year, 21% of mobile apps that are downloaded worldwide are only used once within the first 6 months of ownership? In fact, 57% of apps are deleted within the first 30 days. These statistics may seem daunting to you, but you won’t have to worry about them if you work hard on the UX and UI of your mobile app, which can be key to solving these issues.
In a previous post on app development for the non-tech savvy, we briefly introduced the difference between UX and UI, the usability of an app (can the users accomplish their goals and is the app easy and pleasant to use?), the core principles of mobile app usability (how and where users are holding the device, how the content is placed, minimizing user input and keeping navigation simple) and how to measure and analyse mobile app usability (monitoring user gestures with heatmaps, user recordings and tracking web and mobile traffic through Google Analytics and Mixpanel).
As a quick reminder, The user experience, or UX, involves the internal experience a customer has with the app, including how the user interacts with a company’s products and services. The goal for the UX is to map it so it’s user-friendly, ensuring the ease of use between a customer and a product (i.e. your phone). You want to make it as easy as possible for customers to complete their desired tasks, focusing on the optimization of the product, making sure it’s enjoyable to use.
On the other hand, the user interface, or UI, involves the user’s visual experience and the aesthetics and cosmetics of the app. This includes the look, feel and interactivity of a product. The goal is to make it attractive to users through the elements you use to interact with the device like screens, pages and visual elements like buttons, icons and typography.
The following post will focus on how behavioural science connects to the user experience, knowing how to spot and overcome common UX errors and the different testing tools available for mobile apps.
Before we dive into some technical UX errors to avoid, it is important to understand where your users are coming from and how behavioural science and the user experience is connected to the success of your app. Behavioural science examines what influences people’s daily habits, decisions and choices. So ask yourself, what encourages consumers to pick your app? To answer this question, it is important to understand the psychology of your app users and how human behaviour can be influenced by different factors:
Motivation: Motivation is what drives people to make a decision. How does this connect with the user experience? You need to determine your users’ needs and then figure out how to make sure these needs are met, once you establish this, it will give customers the motivation to use your app. What is useful and valuable to your users? You have to give them an incentive and a drive to use your product and connect with your brand.
Ability: Ability means having the skill or competence to carry out a task or reach a goal, and whether the environment is favourable enough to achieve it. This is where people wonder if the job is easy enough to complete. In terms of how this connects to the user experience, the UX is geared toward making the app interaction as easy as possible for the user, the simplicity of an app makes it attainable for customers to reach their goals.
Trigger: People react to different triggers. The visual features of an app trigger whether a customer wants to use your product or service. This has more to do with the user interface and how the colour, typography and content attract a user’s attention and triggers them into using your application.
Knowing how to spot and overcome UX problems is the next step to ensuring positive mobile usability and the success of your app. Mobile usability is an aspect of UX that is majorly concerned with the effectiveness, simplicity and efficiency of achieving goals in an application. If an app is not working well and constantly crashes or freezes, 62% of users will uninstall it. Proper mobile usability has the power to ensure a pleasant user experience for consumers which can then increase conversion rates (the number of people who install and engage with your app).
App conversions are based on in-app user interactions like viewing, sharing and posting content, becoming a subscriber, inviting friends and completing in-app purchases. If the app has a poor user experience, then consumers won’t want to engage with the app, leading to low conversion rates. So how can you avoid a poor user experience? For starters, it shouldn’t take long for a user to become familiar with an app and if there happen to be any issues, they should be identified early-on with quick and efficient solutions to make sure the user experience is not completely interrupted. Imagine the customer’s pain points and put yourself in their shoes. Below we highlighted some common issues to avoid:
Delay in showing app value. It is important to provide value to your app right away during the user’s onboarding process. If you don’t hook the users in right away, they could bore easily from your app and delete it.
Disregarding design differences between platforms. The iOS and Android operating systems both have very different programming languages and design protocols. For instance, navigational elements are not the same in both systems. Therefore, it is important to build an app that is native to iOS and Android specifications so that everyone can have a pleasant app experience no matter the device they are using.
Complicated navigation. Users look for simple, intuitive navigation, especially to complete simple tasks like booking an appointment or trying to find information. If the navigation is too complicated, it can prevent users from reaching their goals. This means eliminating any barriers for users and stopping them from getting lost in your app.
Unclear content. Disordered information in your app can lead to confusion and a poor user experience. It can cause frustration for consumers if they can’t find what they are looking for through all the clutter. The goal is to have the content presented clearly for users.
Endless scrolling. It is important for valuable information to be shown within the size of the smartphone screen. Users should not have to scroll up and down or side to side for several minutes just to find what they are looking for.
With the list of avoidances and errors kept in mind, here are some user experience testing tools for mobile apps:
Appsee: With this analytics platform you are able to see how users are interacting with your app with session recordings and heatmaps. With this, you can experience firsthand any problems the users might be facing.
Applause: This is a crowd testing provider offering a consultation with a usability expert who then chooses the participants to take part in a survey to test your app.
Loop11: This is an online user testing tool with user video and audio recordings. You can also invite participants to take a usability test for your app which helps you understand what works and what doesn’t.
UserZoom: With this tool, you can capture on video people using your app to observe their behaviour and identify any issues. The platform also receives quantitative data, survey results and analytics from heatmaps from the user experiences. With this information, you can monitor the overall customer satisfaction.
Mr.Tappy: This platform offers a usability testing kit for measuring app usability. It records mobile devices from the user’s point of view showing where they tap, swipe or hesitate and their facial expressions while using the app.
Apptimize: This is an A/B testing platform for iOS and Android applications to improve on user experiences.
Leanplum: This is another A/B testing platform where you can test and make changes without waiting for approval from the app store. This platform can also separate users based on their demographics, behaviour and the type of device they are using to gather data.
After reading this post you should be more comfortable knowing how to optimize your UX and UI. We hope you now have a better understanding of the concept of mobile usability and how to improve the overall user experience of your app. For more on our design and development process feel free to check out the rest of our website!
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