Design is more important than ever with the limited space that mobile applications give designers to work with. On top of that, attention spans have shortened, placing a premium on your app being easy to use right off the bat, but you want to make sure that your design doesn’t turn off experienced users as well. This fine line means that good design is of utmost importance for mobile applications.
User experience design can pay off big dividends for any mobile app development program and should be part of your plan from the beginning, but strong mobile app design begins even before discussing usability.
Start by looking at the your users’ goals for using your application. Not the goals that your business wants to accomplish by having an application but the goals your users will have for using your application. Only when you understand the goals your users will have for using your application and then and design your app’s workflow to meet their needs. Remember that users can have a number of goals in mind when using your application. Only by understanding various user’s goals can you design an interface to meet their needs.
It seems obvious that you would want to make your app as usable as possible, but all too often companies fail to focus on the user experience and the usability of their application. Usability describes the ease with which consumers can user your mobile application in order to achieve a goal. Interfaces which make mobile applications easy to understand and use tend to be the interfaces regularly used by consumers. If your audience can’t easily user your app they certainly won’t return to it and will most likely remove it from their device.
Remember that as humans we are creatures of habit. An effective mobile application design will use this to its advantage. Understanding this is particularly important for user experience designer who will utilize familiar cues to indicate procedures that your users are familiar with. This familiarity reduces the amount users will need to think to use your app, increasing the usability of its interface as it will be intuitive for your users to interact with.
Don’t forget to provide feedback to your users to let them know if tasks are completed or not. This simple tip greatly improves the experience of your application making it more friendly and responsive. Even the simplest forms of feedback allow your users to feel like their actions are causing something to happen on their screens. Without feedback they are left to wonder if their action took affect, which can frustrate them and turn them away from your application.
Photo: Kārlis Dambrāns (Flikr) http://bit.ly/1JIQUAF