If you are under the impression that creativity and ingenuity are all you need to deliver a great app design, then you are mistaken. Well, it’s not like you don’t need to be creative or original in your ideas, but that’s not all there is to it. An app design needs to have a thought and a purpose behind it. That’s what separates a popular app from the one that is hidden in obscurity.
Users take seconds to decide whether your app deserves their time or not. And, what do you think is the underlying factor to that? Yes, it’s design that you offer! After all, studies show that ninety percent users stop using apps because of poor design and performance.
So, what are the rules of the game that lets you deliver great design every time? Let’s find out today!
The process starts with knowing your user better
Your audience is the most significant factor when you are designing an app. If you want the users to love your product, you need to have a keen understanding of what they are looking for. Thus, the process of designing begins with user research.
It is important that you understand what intrigues your audiences the most and what turns them away from you. The focus of a good designer has to be on the benefits offered by the app, instead of the number of features that has been included in it.
An aesthetically pleasing design is seen as more usable
Users tend to feel that the designs which look good also end up working better. Known as the Aesthetic-Usability Effect, this was first studied by Kaori Kashimura and Masaaki Kurosu in the nineties.
In their research, they gave participants 26 variations of an ATM interface. The results showed that ease of using and the aesthetic appeal were closely related, even when the question was solely about the product’s functionality.
A design that is aesthetically pleasing makes the users tolerable even of the small usability glitches. However, don’t let that give you the impression that usability can be completely sacrificed at the altar of aesthetics! The user will not be so forgiving about the major mistakes because the UI looks great. Function and form has to come together for delivering the right user experience.
Don’t assume the users will like it because you do
So, you’ve created the app design and you simply love the work that you’ve done. Unfortunately, the users might not share the same sentiment as you.
There’s a name for this syndrome of app designers, as well: it’s called the false-consensus effect. This is the assumption that others will behave like you do in a particular context.
The users of your products come from varied backgrounds, thinking processes, and goals than you. You cannot project your reaction and behavior into them. Besides, truth be told, you’re too close to the work to be completely objective about it.
The only way of knowing whether an app will work or not is to get it tested with real users. It will tell you how people perceive your design and the things they don’t like. Paying close attention to the testing participants and their opinions will give you an idea of what to change about your app.
The way to keep the modern goldfish interested
A study by Microsoft Corp. found that the average human attention span now is eight seconds, which is a second less than the goldfish. So, how do you keep the modern goldfish interested long enough in your app? Simply by bringing down your response time!
Response time is the time lapse between the response of the app and the request of the user. The user loses patience when this response time is longer for an app. The ideal response time is the one that makes neither the users nor the interface wait for too long, which studies say is around 400 milliseconds.
In case any process in the app takes longer than that to complete, keep the users engaged with animations or audio-visual feedbacks that tell them that it’ll take a while to load. The users will get more impatient if they just have to wait without getting any information on how long it will take.
The product dictates the design process you follow
The design process can make it or break it for an app design. For a designer, the lack of a good design process is like walking in pitch darkness. Having a concise and clear process in mind, on the other hand, helps you deliver the user experience that you are aiming for.
However, there is not a universal UI/UX design that will fit every project of yours perfectly. Though you can define the specific steps for every project, a great UX process is selected depending on the requirements of a project, and every project is unique in its own way.
Thus, for ensuring the best user experience, you need to adapt your design process according to the project specifications. So, for instance, while designing a new app you might have to go for user research and clarifications on the specifications. However, if you are redesigning an app, then design validations, which include A/B and usability testing, and more, demand your attention.
Do away with the elements that you don’t need
There was a time when colors brighter than the sun and navigation links at every step were the features of an app. But, those teenage days of app interface are long gone! The modern apps are sleek and sophisticated.
So, do away with those pointless elements of your app. Reduce the steps a user needs to take to accomplish a task, and change that image which draws the attention of the user for no reason from the task at hand. Ask yourself the value of every element on your app, and see its importance from users’ perspective to know what to keep and what to eliminate.
The final note
When you apply these principles of good designing to your apps, you will end up creating products that are more effective and attractive. And, after all, that is the goal of a good app design! So, keep these rules in mind when working with that next project, and also keep trying new approaches and techniques. Keep at it consistently, and you’ll know what works for your clients the best.