Why UX Matters When Designing an App

User experience or UX is a popular term these days. It represents the feeling a user gets when using an app or a website, or interacting with a user interface. UX gets thrown a lot in conversations and articles about app design and development, but the term actually means so much more than just usability.

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Image from Sun Bingo

User experience matters when designing an app. In this article, we are going to take a closer look at some of the reasons why you should always consider the way your users feel about interacting with an app at every step of the development process.

Feel-at-Home Approach

One of the first and most important user experience considerations is how quickly a user can use the app effectively. Let’s say you design an app with an entirely new and unique set of icons and layout. This may seem like a great approach at first. You will have an app that stands out from the crowd.

In reality, however, users will need to spend some time – perhaps even a lot of time – trying to understand the way the app works. They will have to try every menu item and icon to see what it represents. Even worse, users may have to resort to reading a tutorial or the app’s Help page for some cues.

An app designed to make users feel at home right away, on the other hand, will be very effective in the hands of users within seconds. A simple Hamburger icon to hide the menu, icons that users are already familiar with and an app layout that follows the existing design guidelines are far more effective in this respect.

Increased User Engagement

Even the smallest elements can present a pleasant user experience. This is why a lot of design guidelines for mobile platforms place UX as an important factor to consider. The haptic animation you get when scrolling on iOS and the way windows animate on Google’s Android are perfect examples of how small things influence user experience.

When a user feels happy about the interface, engagement will automatically go up. Have you ever played online Bingo? The game is so simple and there are plenty of copies on the market, yet users keep playing and interacting with the game because the app itself is a pleasant one to use. They even willingly invite friends to play the game, something that a lot of other apps are pushing to achieve.

Better Conversion Rate

The user experience is even more important when you have an app that offers access to products and services. The best user experience is a determining factor that governs your conversion rate. The checkout process, for instance, needs to be as pleasant (and as short) as it can be. The moment users find this part of the experience unpleasant, that’s when you start getting a lot of dropped carts.

The same can be said for news apps or apps used to channel contents to your users. Smooth animations, fast loading and haptic feedback for a more immersive experience are all important elements to have, especially if you want to keep users engaged for an extended period of time. With a pleasant experience and a strategically placed set of share buttons, getting users engaged shouldn’t be difficult.

No Need for Extended Support

Last but certainly not least, you can make do with a minimum amount of user support when users can use the app out of the box. This means user experience will help you do more than just increase conversion and engagement. It can help you save money on overhead costs and direct the energy and resources you have to other things, such as marketing the app and developing future updates.

A lot of Android apps are taking this route by following Google’s own Material Design guidelines. By applying a set of design elements users are already familiar with, app developers can blend into Google’s own user interface nicely. This leads to a faster learning curve and users instantly having the ability to figure out what to do when they run into problems.

Speaking of blending into the user interface….

Smoother Transitions

You want your app to be a part of the mobile operating system you’re developing for. This means pursuing a smoother transition and maintaining a consistent user experience throughout. There are things that can easily break the cycle. When developing for iOS, placing your main menu icons at the top of the screen is breaking that smooth iOS user experience; Apple will even go so far as to reject your app when it is designed this way.

The smoother the transition between the OS’s user interface and the app’s, the more immersive your users will feel when using your product. It is clear that user experience matters a lot. These are the reasons why it does.

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