The mobile app marketplace has turned fiercely competitive. As per the older stats, only 51% of the app developers were making profits of more than $500 per month while 4% earn more than $500k from the application. But things are getting better. The enterprises have realized the conversion potential of an app, and more and more money is being poured into mobile app development and app design.
But does every app make it big!
There are apps that created history in revenue generation. The Game of War is a perfect example of a brilliant app that earned its developer Machine Zone around $1 million per day. But little does the development world know that the prime driver of the revenue was its $40 million ad campaign featuring Kate Upton. If you cannot spend this much on the campaign, then only one thing can save your app – it is the "App Design".
According to Angela Mattia, Associate Professor at Jacksonville University, app fatigue has become a big issue. The consumers are getting overloaded with apps as app developers are offering way too many similar apps, but an app design can prove to be a key competitive differentiator.
According to a survey, every dollar spent on an app design fetches a revenue of $2 to $100 in." With an App, Airbnb and Uber have driven billions of dollar worth business to their companies, and these apps owe their success to the user-centric mobile app design.
Perfect app design is not a cakewalk as one needs to know the user, think like a user and dig deep to address the real-time challenges. With mobile app design, you are in control of the product so that you can build the desired relationship between apps design and user. There are endless possibilities to create a fresh phone app design that leaves no room for error.
Phone app designs that are fresh!
To make a crisp app design needs to be a perfect balance of the latest features and aspects that make the user interaction easy. Let us pick all the essential elements:
Take care of the cognitive load
Scientifically speaking, cognitive load measures the number of efforts that need to be put on the use of working memory. There are various factors that determine how cognitive load can be minimized for mobile app designs. To begin with, the instruction overload must be minimized as too many instructions confuse users. The developers do not always need to reinvent the wheel and staying with prototypes proves to be beneficial at times. An app design that offers minimum friction promises higher chances of users staying.
Understanding user interaction
App users generally have a very similar interaction pattern with the design of the app and that is why it is essential to optimize it. While the potential to be successful while designing aspects of user interaction is high, the chances of errors are also significant in mobile app designs.
Some of the proven methods to optimize user flow are:
Comprehensive design: There is no guiding stick for the number of steps a user needs to take while using an app. You are the best judge and must optimize the step count. The design must be comprehensive as well as should be divided appropriately into sub-tasks. The limited number of actions to use a feature of the app without adding to any confusion is the must.
Use technology to reduce user effort: Introduction of artificial intelligence promises users a low effort app. Let us take the example of a recommendation engine in the Amazon app. An intelligent engine suggests the user's products to purchase and shortens the time the user spends on the apps design usage, encouraging him to return.
Image Credit: Mike
Take care of the momentum: While using an app, the user tends to develop the energy of usage, make sure the user flow has no abrupt element which breaks the momentum. The interface should be self-guiding.
Avoid the clutter: The objective is simple- "Do not confuse the user". Make sure every screen of the mobile app designs has a single primary purpose. Pushing too much into one screen makes it difficult for the user to comprehend the quick usage of the app. A brilliant example of the phone app design is how Uber app uses the stark contrast of black and white to highlight the "Call to action" button.
Behavior-based design elements
The mobile app design has limitations of details because the screen size is limited. Whenever you design the elements of an App, make sure their Icons reflect whether they are clickable or static. Within the fraction of a second, the user must be able to predict the behavior of an element.
Efficient finger tap
The interaction between an application and a user begins with a finger tap. The general touch area of an app element to interact well must be around 7-10 mm. During the app design phase, the developer must keep in mind that the target is visible enough; there is enough gap between interactive elements and the user must be able to hit the target accurately. Every mobile app must have interactive features in the Thumb zone.
Image Credit: Ramotion
Another aspect you need to reconsider is that always put the delete or remove actions in the zone where the user does not land incidentally.
Handle the app interruptions
Can you think of any time when the users are with your app uninterrupted? While there is none, while they are using an App, they might receive a call, a message or would need to address a vital task outside the mobile world. But sooner or later they are going to return to your app. At this point, it becomes critical to re-engage the client at the same point where they left. While it might not always be easy, but simple things like reminding them of the product they were looking through last time may encourage them to use the app. The users love to retain their position in the app.
An app may take a few seconds to do a task; how do you keep the user engaged at that time and make sure he does not think the app just stalled. A progress bar or a progress wheel is a perfect little thing you can do to make sure the app is working on their request.
A fast and responsive app is a must but what needs to be handled well is the space where actually the wait times are bound to be more. The best way to do it is by adding skeleton screens that take the focus of the user to somewhere else and make the wait time feel shorter.
"Slack" nails it. The time it takes to load the app, it pushes quirky quotes to the user so that the user does not realize the delay in loading in case any.
Make on-boarding the best experience
A good onboarding experience is the one where the user can click with the purpose of the app almost instantly. For example, before asking a user to Sign-up why not share across a rope to the opportunities the app has to offer.
The app may be loaded with the top features, but if they remain unfound, the purpose is defeated. The golden rules of apparent navigation are developing visible, clear and consistent navigation.
A user must never have to look for the navigation, and that consistency must be maintained throughout the App Design. Avoid hidden navigation such as gesture-driven because most users will have a hard time finding it, e.g. if the first screen uses a navigation drawer does not deviate much from it.
Image Credit: Aurelien Salomon
A notification is not deemed intelligent if it just encourages the user to come back to the app. The timing of the notification plays a vital role here. The best time to design a notification in your app is from 06:00 PM to 10:00 PM generally speaking. It has been identified as the peak time of mobile usage so that the purpose of designing a notification is solved. Other notifications that can bring in engagement or monetization is the In-app notifications for an item purchase or feedback but may sure these notifications are appropriately timed.
Re-designing the Interface of DoorDash Mobile App
DoorDash (Web, Android, iOS) is a San Francisco-based food delivery service that was founded in 2013 by Stanford students Andy Fang, Stanley Tang, Tony Xu, and Evan Moore. A recent survey by UX Collective, an online platform for stories on UX and Product Designs, shows that users face specific problems while using the app. Some of these issues include inefficient restaurant browsing experience and low scan-ability of the restaurant menu.
According to the survey, users spend 20 seconds skimming through the home page because they have trouble searching what they need quickly and easily, which results in them making the assumption that the food delivery app does not have any good restaurants. Low glance-ability, lack of visual content and no personalization are a few causes of this problem.
A perfect solution to this is re-imagining and re-designing the restaurant display system which can be achieved through personalizing the home page, prioritizing user needs and unifying visual elements for more compelling restaurant cards. Another problem that DoorDash faces is the low scan-ability of the restaurant menu. Users complain that they have to click around too much before they can see the menu items.
Re-designing the Information Architecture (IA) and visual content of menu items is the best way to help users adjust to the functionality of the product and find everything they need without too much effort. Instead of hiding menu items deep in the IA, they should be showcased in front of a user immediately. A good menu design uses both visual and verbal content to guide users through the food ordering experience. It includes a short description of each food item with key ingredients to help users make decisions quickly and easily.
With the app fatigue growing, there is an increase in the expectation of quality and value an app delivers. The design of an app is the first stage of interaction with the user, and that is the crucial phase where the user decides to stay with the app. It is impressive how the developers are coming up with fresh ideas for mobile app designs, but very few can sustain until the end.
Some elementary elements like progressive disclosure which shows more options than the user clicked for offloads the tasks from the user. A successful app is a perfect balance of beauty and its functions laid out perfectly for the user to interact.