User experience design (UX) focuses on usability, using tools such as user research and usability testing to develop an understanding of users’ relationships to a user interface and their opinions of their interactions with it. Beyond user research and analysis, the visual design of an interface has a significant impact on users’ experiences with a mobile app and should be carefully considered.
In the end, it is a UX designer’s goal to make a user interface that is easy to understand and utilize. UX designers consider how they can improve functional elements of an interface and visual design is part of that. Remember that the look of a mobile app alters how users think about it and how they behave towards it.
The right visual design can produce positive emotions towards a mobile application, improving the user experience and boosting its usability. Users of digital products now expect a high quality user interface and user experience and typically don’t even notice it when it is well designed. It’s usually when a user interface is poorly designed and difficult to use that they tend to take notice of it.
These 7 UX design tips can help you create a user interface for your mobile app that improves its usability and the user experience.
Your goal for your application’s user interface should be to make it easy to use. Simplifying your design will make it easier for users to understand and use your mobile app. Regardless of how beautiful and carefully detailed your user interface may be, if users are not able to easily understand and use it, it won’t create a positive user experience. Avoid unnecessary complexity and opt instead to create an application that is simple and easy to understand and use. Remember as Jim Henson said, “simple is good.”
Design on a grid
Designing an interface without using a grid is like going on a road trip without a map. When all your content containers are slightly different proportions and not exactly aligned to each other, your layout will look uneven and create a poor impression. When you use a grid it helps you design proportionally with different items in alignment to each other. Once you get used to designing on a grid, you will find that it is much easier for app developers to translate your interface design into a clean, functional app.
Cut the clutter
With your mobile application, you should have the goal to display to its users the right amount of information at any one time. Keep in mind that mobile users are often on-the-go or otherwise distracted, you want your content to be presented to them in easily understandable amounts that they can review and digest while potentially multi-tasking. You don’t want to display so much content or imagery that the screen is visually overwhelming to a user. Clutter can be there in many forms, including a lack of white space, too many design elements, poor organization, excessive wordiness and other ways. Reduce you application’s visual distractions that get in the way of users being able to easily understand your app’s content or functionality.
Reduce the number of clicks
To improve usability, it is a good idea to reduce the number of clicks a user needs to make to perform a task. Reducing the time and effort that a user must take to complete a task is important, especially for frequently performed tasks. Studies have shown that potentially you are losing as many as 20 percent of your users for each click that is taken to check out when users are making a purchase (Cisco). Streamline your processes to increase sales and retention rates.
Leverage established patterns
Maintaining consistency with established user interface use patterns can improve the usability of your mobile application. When it comes to navigation, there are benefits to following established patterns rather than inventing new ones for users to have to learn once they download your app. You also want to maintain constancy with the operating system you are designing for. Android and iOS each have a distinct style and way of doing things. Avoid confusing your users by sticking with appropriate styles and patterns true to the OS your app will be used on.
Reduce barriers to usage
Make your application as easy to use as possible. When it comes to mobile applications, if a task presents difficulty for a user to complete (especially for first time users), then it is quite likely that they will just quit using it. Reducing barriers to usage simply refers to making the process of learning how to use your application as easy as possible so its users will not feel frustrated when they use it. Let your users get to the content and functionality of your application quickly to improve the value of your app. If you do, you will improve not only its adoption rates but its retention rates as well.
Don’t forget the big picture
The essence of great design is in the details, but, it’s important that you keep an eye on the big picture while working on the details of your user interface. UX design is not about elaborate design; it is about how all the pieces fit together within the big picture to create a positive user experience. Remember that the design of your user interface is there to facilitate use of the mobile application. It exists to help end-users achieve their intended actions.
The design of your app’s user interface shouldn’t just be about how the page looks and feels. You should consider how your user interface fits into the workflow of the user, how each screen and the controls on each of those screens function. You must also consider how each screen reflects the image of your brand to consumers. For those with physical locations for your business, your application should feel connected to the experience of your brick-and-mortar stores, offering users a seamless experience regardless of which touch point they choose to interact with your brand. In the end, it is important that you don’t forget to look at the forest while focusing on the trees.