User experience should be at the core of every phase in designing and developing mobile and web apps. After all, the number one requirement for all these apps is that people can use them with ease, solve their problems, be informed, entertained, and interact with the company.
Bad user experience tends to lead to more severe consequences now than in the past. Majority of users (52%) say that as a result of a negative experience using a mobile app they are less likely to interact at all with the company. This indicates how important the mobile environment has become for business to consumer interactions. Mobile apps have joined the list of critical elements which people consider before deciding whether they want to do business with a company or not.
Therefore, avoiding bad user experience is not only about having good ratings for the app on Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Web and mobile apps which do not offer a simple, seamless and enjoyable user experience are cutting off potential customers and working against all sales and marketing efforts made by the company.
These are the most important ways in which companies, working closely with their app designers and developers, can avoid bad user experience:
1. Do Not Overload the App with Features
A web or mobile app is not a mobile equivalent of a website. It should not have the exact menu structure as the website and all its functionalities. Whenever a new feature is considered for the app, the following questions should be answered first:
- Does it make the app screen look cluttered?
- Does it affect the performance of the app?
- Is it compatible with low-tier and older mobile phones?
- Is it really essential for the app user?
The main characteristic of mobile apps is convenience – therefore, if a feature interferes with easy and convenient use, it should not be included in the app.
2. Keep Tutorials Short and Light
Every app has a simple tutorial showing new users how to navigate and use its functions. Some apps are developed with a new tutorial after every interaction made by the user after installing it. This equals to bad user experience. Instead of being allowed to leisurely explore the app, the user is stopped in their tracks and obliged to read a new tutorial.
This disruptive intrusion will become too annoying for even the most patient users (and patience is short in the era of high speed internet). Eventually, users will uninstall the app and find another, friendlier one, to answer their needs. Also, if an app needs so many tutorials, it means that it was not developed with the end user and their average tech skills in mind.
3. Do Not Take Users to a Dead End
Web and mobile apps should provide a continuous flow of interaction. Users should always have something to do, a menu button to click, a micro-moment to enjoy, or an interactive carousel to browse. Even when a connection error occurs, this should not be a dead end for the user.
Staring at the screen that says that “an error has occurred” or “the app stopped working” will not help users know what to do next. Should they restart their device? Should they check their internet connection? A simple way to solve the dead end issue in case of such errors is to provide the users with a few troubleshooting options and a way to report the error to the app owner.
4. Do Not Copy UI Elements from a Different Mobile OS
Android apps looking like iOS apps are not “smarter” or “better” in the eyes of the users. If they wanted iOS apps, they would have used an Apple smartphone. Being consistent with the general look and feel of icons and other graphic elements of the native OS will help users interact with the app easier. They are familiar with how a tapped button should look, or how a Back, Trash or Reload icon should look, and when they see these familiar designs they know that they have performed the action they desired.
The core difference between iOS and Android graphic elements is that the Apple OS favors flat design and plain fonts, without the use of uppercase, while Android elements have a drop shadow effect, fonts with more weight and the uppercase style for most buttons. These variations may seem too subtle to notice, but they will make an app look visibly different.
5. Do Not Ask Users to Rate the App Immediately after Installing It
Good ratings give an app a better chance to be selected by users in favor of competing apps. However, running after ratings at any cost will lead to the app being uninstalled. Some apps display a pop-up rating request as soon as the user opens it for the first time. Provided that the user truly intends to give the app a rating, how can they do that before having the chance to interact with it?
The best moment to display a rating request is after the user has successfully completed a few tasks. After this positive experience, they will willingly give the app a good rating.