Unless you have lived under a rock or in Antartica you have heard the term “User Experience”.
Before 2009 user experience was an unknown term. There were designers that were doing this job without knowing what it was. Those people were your designers and developers building websites. Back before 2009, we toiled over button placement and flow of the site. Remember the old 3 click rule?
Fast forward to the introduction of mobile. User experience exploded around 2009 when mobile apps started to come onto the scene and that changed the digital internet of things industry.
I think that companies started paying attention to customer retention and started using data to track users behavior.
In the mobile infancy, users had a certain expectation of how apps should work based off of using their phone’s native applications. Humans learn quick and I think that users started to understand what made a good app that they enjoyed using.
Users would not use an app that took a long time to load, was confusing to use by mixed UI placement and colors, lengthy sign on and many more reasons.
So fast forward to today in mobilgeddon and we know much much more about users and expectations they have when using an app. This understanding of what users expect has lead to the great UX movement. I just coined that term.
I have been designing apps for 8 years now and so much has changed. There are some fundamental aspects that will boost your users level of happiness when using your app.
Here is a list to help you get it right.
Know your users.
This should be first and foremost. Get a good understanding of who they are, what they want, their buying patterns, lifestyle, income etc. Don’t assume you know them. Do some user research. In my work history joining companies that are building an app for the first time, they seem to skip this step by either lack of time or money. Knowing your user base will guide you through your design process.
Design for what matters most.
So many times companies want to be everything to everybody and that leads to an overload to the user. Get rid of all the unnecessary clutter that doesn’t add value to your product.
Users are usually trying to complete a task or purchase something online or on their phone. KISS-keep it simple stupid.
That phrase has been around for a while and can be applied to your design. As a designer, I start with broad strokes and then start narrowing down the design to what really matters.
A good example of a simple interface that worked was Square. I enjoyed using it because it was simple and easy to use.
With many users on different platforms like desktop, Android, iOS you will want to provide the same workflow within your design. If you are having a web version of your app you will want to make sure that a user doesn’t have to relearn how to use your product when they switch platforms.
Keep colors consistent with buttons and layout.
Keep the language the same. Don’t have your buttons say send on our app then say submit on your desktop.
Keep the branding the same. your user will associate your brand with an experience they have with your product.
Keep the same user flow. Cognitive load on the user can be your worst enemy and lead to frustration when a user needs to figure out how to use your product all over again if they have been accustomed to using it a certain way.
Be aesthetically pleasing
This doesn’t mean over designed but the right amount.
I stress to my customers that good design builds credibility.
I explain it like this.
Take two different lawyer sites and both of them have great content.
Has a site that is poorly designed with color and layout and looks outdated.
The information is hard to read or the taxonomy is not correct.
A user has to peck and find what they are looking for.
The site has great aesthetics the brand is well represented.
The colors are inviting and fresh and up to date.
The content is structured in a way where relevant info is grouped together with clear calls to action
Both lawyers have been in business for 20 years and have a successful practice. You will choose the one that has taken the time to design their site. which one are you going to choose?
9 out of 10 times you will choose the well-designed site.
Design is important and leads to trust.