15 December 2020

by Spark Eighteen

Design for the users: 8 Key elements of a great mobile app UX design

FOR BUSINESSES

What makes a great mobile app UX design? Hopefully by the end of this blog you’ll be able to answer this question. 

Why do people download mobile apps?

A pretty straightforward question, right?

Users have needs and look for a fast and efficient way to achieve those needs. Apps are that “way”.

Simple question – simple answer. But again, scratching the surface, we can see that it is really not as easy as it seems and requires a bigger and deeper answer.

Table of Content:

  1. A Clean Layout
  2. Easy-to-Flow Navigation
  3. Minimum User Input
  4. Legible Text Content
  5. Big Enough Tap-Targets
  6. Hand Position Controls
  7. Provides Personalization
  8. Well-Tested

According to a study by TechJury, an average person has around 80 different apps installed on their phone, out of which only 9 of those apps are used daily. Further data by Statistics show that users abandon 25% of mobile apps on their phones just after one use.

The main reason why a user downloads an app is that they are looking for a unique experience that they won’t possibly get on a website. An experience that justifies the reason for why they should be downloading an app in the first place. After all, the more usable the app is, the higher user engagement it gets and the lower chance of uninstalls.

Implementing the best of mobile app UX design principles at every step of the design process can help you attain this. Following are the 8 best mobile app UX design practices that you need to consider for your app today!

8 Mobile App UX design principles

1. A Clean Layout

Users aren’t necessarily looking for a meaning behind your design. It’s a mobile app, not a Vincent Van Gogh painting for god sake!

They won’t take much time to drop out of an app that ruffles their feathers. That is why a simple and clean design that makes it easy for users to navigate, explore, and consume content is what we consider the golden recipe of a successful app design. Just have a look at this example below:

clean layout mobile app ux design

Absolutely no clutter! The mobile app layout seems fresh and feels relaxing to the eyes, doesn’t it? A minimalist and simple design is your best defense against the paradox of choice and will help you create the most holistic and satisfying mobile experience for your users.

2. Easy-to-Flow Navigation

Good navigation is a vehicle that directs users where they want to go. You know navigation is bad if you have to stop and wonder “How to reach a specific function?”.

To avoid this bummer, make your UX navigation intuitive so that users can immediately figure out how to get around your application. Use familiar icons (such as a “home” icon for the home page or “speech balloon” for messages), fewer options on the menu bar, and give users a visible indicator of which screen they are at the moment.

navigation

This is one of the most important elements of UX for apps. If a user finds it difficult to navigate through your app, they’re more likely to disengage and close or even uninstall the app before even using it.

3. Minimum User Input

The biggest challenge with smaller devices isn’t the screen size, but the typing experience. Typing on mobile screens isn’t always the most comfortable experience as in most cases the keyboard takes up more than half of the screen. With this situation at hand, you would not want to overwhelm users with a form that contains endless amounts of fields. Try and reduce the number of fields in a form by asking only the most relevant details.

minimum user input

Minimizing the number of fields isn’t enough – also focus on the areas where extra user effort is being put. For example, filling out an address is often the most difficult part of any form. Make it easy by using smart features like autocomplete which uses both geolocation and address prefilling to provide correct suggestions based on the user’s exact location. Similarly, customize the keyboard for the type of query like displaying a numeric keyboard when asking for a phone number or including the ‘@’ sign when asking for an email address. Ensure that these features are applied consistently throughout the app instead of just certain forms.

4. Legible Text Content

Legibility

Text is one of the most critical elements of mobile UX design. If users are unable to read your content, then how will they use your app? As screen sizes are getting smaller, the strain on our eyes is increasing to read texts. This is why legibility is everything. This means that your texts should be easily distinguishable that the users do not find it troubling to read or analyze them. In fact, they shouldn’t feel the need to re-read it. Adjust the spacing, length, font, and style to find the most legible tuning for your mobile app.

5. Big Enough Tap-Targets

Ever played darts? Hitting the bulls-eye is way harder to do than hitting any other part of the dartboard. This is because bulls-eye is the smallest target on the board.

Touch Target

The same principle can be applied to mobile UX design. Smaller touch targets are hard for users to hit than the larger ones. So when you’re designing your mobile app, it is best to make your targets big so that they’re easy for users to tap If a user clicks on a tiny portion of the screen and if that doesn’t create the expected action, the user might get annoyed and exit the app. The solution is to make the tap-size at least 7-10mm so that they are able to locate the button and easily tap on it.

6. Hand Position Controls

Are you reading this blog on your phone? Even if you’re not, pick it up and see where you naturally place your fingers and thumb. Where can you tap? Which areas do you have to stretch your thumb to tap?

Hand positions and grip influence a large part of mobile UX design. In a research on mobile devices usage, it was found that 49% of people rely on one thumb to get things done on their phones. Even when you look at the image below, the colors indicate the areas where a user can reach their thumb to interact with the screen.

hand position mobile app ux design

Green shows the area where they can easily use their thumb, yellow are the areas where they have to stretch a bit to reach, and red requires users to change the way they are holding their device. This means:

  • You need to place common actions in the easy to reach the green zone;
  • Place negative buttons (such as delete or cancel) in the hard to reach red zone so users do not accidentally tap on it.

7. Provides Personalization

We’ve been hearing the word ‘personalization’ a lot nowadays. It has become an integral part of designing in the digital system due to the ability to build a connection with the end-user. It gives users the content they’re searching for in the first place and eliminates any distraction in-between.  The best part is, even the user is looking for it!

Personalize the user’s journey by allowing them to change settings, control push notifications from the app, and cancel actions. Apps can suggest or provide warnings but the end decision should be of the user to make.  Let them ask questions or queries by integrating various types of feedback into your interface. Give users a sense of freedom and transparency.

8. Well-Tested

A thoroughly tested app prevents any future user problems.

The earlier you test your app, the earlier you fix any problems and win the trust of your users. Review different features, layouts, and variations of your mobile app design to see what is working best. Build a user-centered approach by testing your app with real-users, With each round, you’ll uncover different ways of improving your app design to meet the user’s needs.

Conclusion

Congratulations! Now that you’ve made it to the end of it, we can assume you’re equipped with the knowledge of creating an extraordinary design for your app. We hope now you understand the importance of UX for mobile applications. Following these mobile app ux design principles, you will be able to give users a better overall experience.

Get one step further to your dream app by joining hands with a great team like Spark Eighteen. Take a look at our portfolio here!

Spark Eighteen

Spark Eighteen is a brainchild of innovative young minds and a group of alarmingly out-of-the-box thinkers who happen to see the world of marketing from a new age perspective. With a proven expertise in the field of Brand consulting, Digital Marketing and Website Design and Development, our team of designers, developers, and creative heads work towards delivering maximum results, tailor-made to all your business needs.
Spark Eighteen

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