With Applications, Usability Beats Aesthetics…

While no company wants to be know for selling products that are functional and unattractive, we are seeing strong evidence that aesthetics don’t affect a mobile app or web site’s perceived usability. But conversely, poor usability will negatively affect the application’s perceived allure.

In a recent study conducted by Google, they stated:

“The results showed that the beauty of the interface did not affect how users perceived the usability of the shops: Participants (or Users) were capable of distinguishing if a product was usable or not, no matter how nice it looked. However, the experiment showed that the usability of the shops influenced how users rated the products’ beauty. Participants using shops with bad usability rated the shops as less beautiful after using the shops. We showed that poor usability lead to frustration, which put the users in a bad mood and made them rate the product as less beautiful than before interacting with the shop.”

Often we see businesses acting counter to this with by placing aesthetics  far ahead of usability. As they design, they often do everything to stand apart from other applications and focus too much on the surface level design factors while ignoring real usability issues that would help increase user satisfaction and repeat usage.

To counter this, we suggest users pursue design paths for mobile and web applications using aesthetic attributes such as “clean”, “tight” and “organized”. Applications generally gain traction from the ground up and add more users as positive word of mouth spreads, which means reputation is everything. The study suggests poor usability will lead to less than favorable word-of-mouth will good usability while help you see the growth you desire for your applications.

3 Key Elements of Mobile Application Development Success

1. Usability – Successful mobile application development often is the result of implementing acute usability design into the mobile application from the very beginning of the design phase. The best mobile apps have an interface that seems seamless with content, features, and the device itself and they allow users to effectively and intuitively navigate and utilize the mobile applications functionality. The applications that create a effective user experiences are often taken for granted; however, those that fail are destined to suffer from a lack of success. It is easy for people to fall into a trap of wanting to do too much so we highly recommend working with usability experts that can help forge powerful interfaces based on intuitive principles of design into your application.

2. Functionality – Mobile applications are not web sites. Mobile-optimized websites are for that purpose and if that is your goal, we recommend pursuing that route instead of developing a mobile application. Mobile apps should be designed and developed to take advantage of all the inherent features and functionality of the mobile device, such as GPS, camera, motion sensors, NFC, etc. Likewise mobile applications should focus on functionality suited to instant regular access from a smartphone, such as product reviews, social networking, information portals, photo sharing, etc.

3. Utility – Valuable mobile applications provide utility. This is crucial for mobile application development projects, as utility ensures that users will continue to interact with an application long after the initial interest has dissipated. Does your anticipated project provide a useful function to potential users? Is there a reason they will use your app day after day? If not, you should reevaluate your project and develop a plan that creates value and provides functionality for your anticipated end users.


2 Keys To A Great Mobile Application

The first thing to think about when you decide to engage a mobile application developer is that good usability is even more important for apps than for web sites and other desktop experiences. It is crucial you engage a usability expert for custom built mobile application development projects. While usability is certainly important for every product, it is crucial for mobile applications where users have very little commitment and often, several other options. Basically your mobile application has to be the easiest and friendliest to use to stand out in this situation.

Many studies confirm that users regularly have several mobile applications that they’ve used only once or have forgotten downloading them at all. While well-done push notifications can help overcome this obstacle, they won’t take the place of excellent usability in terms of regularly bringing users back to your application. Beyond that, there is also a lack of focus. Whatever your customers are doing on their phone, your application is most likely not their primary activity. They may be dining and checking in or shopping and texting, but whatever the activity, your application will most likely have a secondary presence on their device.

What are the keys to building a successful mobile application?

1. Make it easy to touch and use. Your eyes are more agile than your fingers. Often you can see links but your fingers can’t select them, use larger touch targets that are easy to find and identify to make navigating your app easy for users. Opt for fewer commands and a few basic options on the first screen to allow users to get into your app quickly and from there use progressive disclosure to build the experience, rather than try to put every option up front. More screens are better, with each being simple and focused.

2. Don’t try to do too much. Usability experts are always very vigilant with design to keep a laser like focus on what is important. Often companies want apps to do everything, but when everything is prominent, nothing is prominent, so eliminate those items that are just nice-to-have and not key to the apps’ purpose. When it comes to copy on mobile applications, short is too long. It must be shorter than short. People will not use mobile for  comparing large amounts of information. Don’t require a user to read much or remember things from screen to screen.

Enhance your brand with exceptional usability in the mobile application experience. Enlist usability experts to develop your iPhone application, Android application, iPad application or other applications for other system or you maybe just inviting one-star comments in the app store.