The most successful apps have a great idea at their core, but that isn't all it takes. No matter how ingenious your central concept is, you'll find that your app will struggle to reach its full potential without a well-thought-out UX design.
The process of collecting feedback, testing design iterations, and improving your app might sound like a frustrating use of time when you're focused on getting to launch. However, it's well worth the effort and can actually save you money and time in the long run.
Not convinced? Let's look at twelve compelling benefits of improving your app's user experience, as well as some tips to help you give your app the best possible UX design.
User experience can have a major impact on conversion rates. Whether you're trying to get customers to buy something, sign up for an email list, or share your content with their friends, people are much more likely to convert if your app is easy to use.
In order for your app to be easy to use, your navigation should be intuitive, and the UX should have little to no learning curve. You'll find that visitors are much more likely to follow through and perform the desired actions when your app fits within the generally accepted usability rules.
In terms of these desired actions or interactions, you'll also want to keep the number of steps a user has to take in order to buy something, sign up for something, etc., to a minimum.
Finally, you'll also want to have clear calls to action (CTAs) that are easy to find. You don't want to hide the button or element that allows users to follow through and perform the desired action.
No matter what problem your app is solving, it is ultimately going to be filled with content. In order for your users to make your app a regular part of their lives and spend plenty of time using it, you'll want to motivate them to interact with your content.
How do you do that, you ask?
One major component is great UX design.
For example, when someone starts using a new app, it can take some getting used to. The clunkier your UX, the more they must try and demystify your app's offerings. When your UX incorporates standard elements that reduce the learning curve, though, your users don't have to think nearly as much about how to explore your app.
When you create a solid UX design, there is a lot of front-loaded work that saves time and money during the development process. This means that investing in UX can help you stay well within your proposed budget and timeline.
Rather than rushing to launch without giving much thought to UX, this approach incorporates the following:
All of these steps work together to ensure that the product you release is easy-to-use, aesthetic, and perfectly suited to your ideal user.
Prototyping, for example, can help developers estimate the time and effort it will take to implement your app, avoid feature creep, and test your app's content.
User testing gives you an opportunity to learn whether your app is actually easy to use and intuitive when in the hands of users that have never seen it before. It can be tempting to simply have your team test the app, but there can be an inherent bias built in when apps are tested by people that have been working so closely with the product.
When you perform user testing, it means you don't run the risk of implementing an inconvenient design and having to rework it later, which can be time-consuming and costly.
Having a great UX design can also help you attract new users.
The more early adopters that like your app and continue using it, the more traffic will increase on your site and help your app be featured within app stores (in the case of a mobile app).
New to the world of apps? You can learn more about the three different app types here.
Beyond attracting new users, a solid and intuitive UX design can help you retain your users.
When your audience comes back again and again, they become increasingly loyal. The more positive experiences a person has with your app, the more loyal they can become.
Have you ever found a mobile or web app that seriously made your life easier? Did you feel the impulse to tell other people about it, so they could have some specific problem solved too? That's exactly what can happen to your app if you offer a stellar user experience.
When you create an app that is easy to use, engaging, and solves a problem for your target audience, you'll find that word-of-mouth is an incredibly powerful marketing tactic.
When your app is easy to use, it means you'll end up fielding a lot fewer emails from angry customers that can't figure out how to perform any number of actions on your app.
Of course, you still want to make sure that assistance is there when your users need it, but creating a straightforward and easy-to-use app can go a long way in reducing the resources that go into customer support services.
Of course, we don't want to overlook one of the most obvious benefits of improving your app's user experience– the fact that it makes it easier to use!
People need to feel that apps are credible in order to spend time using them and potentially share personal information on them, and one of the things that build credibility, trust, and authority is a sleek, well-designed, and easy-to-use app.
If you think that skipping the UX design process will help you save time in development, you might want to think again. Thinking about UX from the start can mean that you don't have to deal with expensive and time-consuming changes after the development process has already begun.
By front-loading the UX research and design, it means you can have a much more streamlined development experience.
It can cost a lot of time and money to rework UX design elements after developers have already started working on them.
If you're like many app creators, you're likely working with a strict budget to create your digital product. Investing in UX design from the get-go can ensure that you don't waste resources unnecessarily.
If you've ever used a clunky app before, it should be no surprise that a bad user experience can seriously dent a brand's reputation.
On the flip side, a flawless user experience can help elevate your brand in the eyes of users.
Finally, a good user experience allows people to navigate so effortlessly that they aren't even thinking about the fact that they're using a digital product.
When your user experience allows users to sink into your app without having to consciously make decisions or figure out what to click on next, you've reached a level of engagement that is indicative of a highly successful app.
Now that you know why you want to improve your app's user experience let's take a look at some of the things you can do to make using your app an absolute delight for your audience.
Establishing a great UX relies on a deep understanding of your audience. In order to better grasp the needs of your users, you'll want to create a detailed user persona that incorporates both online and offline behaviors, pain points, and attitudes.
It can be tempting to try and create an app that appeals to the widest possible audience. After all, casting a wide net means the largest audience, right?
In reality, creating an app with too generic of an audience in mind can mean that it doesn't captivate anyone. Instead, you should focus on a specific demographic and design the app to fit their needs.
People will be much more likely to abandon an app if the onboarding process isn't seamless and efficient. The last thing you want to do is confuse your user right when they are hopping aboard, so you'll want the instructions to be clear and simple.
You don't need to go crazy offering detailed information during the onboarding process. This will only complicate things for the user and take away from their positive experience with the app. Rather than telling them everything up front, leaving some aspects of the app for them to discover as they get more familiar with it can be useful.
Rather than explaining each feature in detail, focus on demonstrating the value your app provides the user at this stage.
Logging into your app should be as easy as possible, such as allowing users to sign in using external accounts like Google or Facebook. You don't want to ask your users for any more information than is necessary because every additional piece of information they are asked to input will stand as a barrier between them and your app.
It's also a good idea to allow users to double their email addresses as their usernames. This way, they don't have to remember an entirely separate username that they will likely forget. If people have to try and dig up their usernames or go through a recovery process, they are much more likely to abandon the app altogether.
For the same reason, consider giving people the option to stay logged in, so they don't have to go through the process every time they want to use your app.
The menus and navigation on your app should also be as simple as possible. Make sure that the most vital pages are easy to find. It can be tempting to try and give people access to every app page through the menu, but this can ultimately make things more complicated for the user.
Every time someone uses a new app, there is a learning curve. You'll want to reduce this as much as possible by designing your app so that users know what buttons do simply by how it looks.
For example, you'll want to make it abundantly clear if certain elements can be swiped or selected.
You want your users to be able to find exactly what they're looking for, fast.
If someone is using the search function on your site, they will ideally never be informed that there are zero search results for their query. Instead, design your app so that related items turn up so they can continue exploring.
People want to know that their personal information is safe and secure when they're using a web or mobile app. Include security badges to inform users that it is safe to use your app and enter any personal information they choose.
It's also a good idea to always ask before you collect data from users and give them the option to opt out of targeted advertising.
No matter how much thought you put into designing the perfect UX, you'll likely find that your audience has both positive and negative feedback to share about their experience using your app.
Though the thought of creating a one-and-done UX is nice, the best way to offer the greatest experience to your users is to always gather feedback and improve your product iteratively.
While improving your app's user experience can reduce the need for customer support, you still want to make sure that help is there when your audience needs it. You want your users to be able to easily find assistance if they have questions, concerns, or troubleshooting issues.
In mobile apps, users will often look for help in the menu or the toolbar. You might consider including a self-serve FAQ, click-to-call support, text chat support, or other customer service options.
If it's time for you to turn your concept into a reality, you've come to the right place. You've already completed the hardest part of the process: coming up with an awesome idea for an app. Let our team of designers, developers, and product experts help you bring your idea to life.
Does that sound good to you? If so, drop us a line and tell us a bit about your project.
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