Courtesy : Pietro Schirano
Both mobile users and mobile usage are growing at a rapid pace and we don’t need numbers to justify it. Take any country into consideration to analyze the mobile penetration rate over the last decade and it will not be surprising to see that the average growth is around 25% year on year.
The most important aspect of growth in number of users and usage is the availability of smartphones at an affordable price. People are upgrading from basic mobile phones to smartphones not only for their functionality but primarily to access the internet that has revolutionized the way we communicate in today’s digital world. Access to social media through smartphones is also another contributing factor for the growth in mobile users and mobile usage.
Ecommerce has further fueled the growth by providing easy access through mobile phones. Here comes the real challenge for businesses to develop a mobile application and expand its user base through appropriate marketing strategies. So what are the aspect on which businesses needs to focus while developing their mobile apps? Let us consider the following important factors to get an overview of the user interface which make the apps stand apart in its category.
Content: Apply the “KISS” formula, which stands for “Keep It Simple & Straight”. The content needs to be focused around the business case for an app. Users generally notice and at the same time appreciate the small things that make their experience meaningful and friendly. And as such it is always better to avoid any sort of clutter.
Menus: It is very much important to keep in mind the space constraints on mobile screen as compared to the web. Drop down or icons are best suited for mobile devices. Avoid multi layered drop down option to provide a better UX. While designing the menu options, it is always recommended to match with the features of the mobile platform, whether it is iOS, Android, or Windows, etc.
Navigation: Simple navigation through touch, scroll or swipes are best suited when match with mobile platform functionality. The more it’s in sync with platform functionality, the chanced are much higher to offer a better UX. Avoid complex navigation by providing user friendly options. The focus should always be on providing a seamless UX.
Layout: Keeping the layout fluid and flexible will help ensure proper displays on screen sizes. Making fluid layout in responsive design working is not a challenge anymore. Here again, the focus needs to be on space utilization with minimal scope for multi layered options as the ultimate goal is to provide engaging UX.
Design: Different people have different types of finger that varies in size and shape and hence it is always better to design for ‘touch’. Varying kinds of pressure to touch screens that respond differently is the key challenge. It is equally important to ensure that forms, buttons and such other elements that require a touch input are large enough. This will help avoid overlap with adjacent elements.
Forms: It is always recommended to have very minimum number of forms to collect user’s inputs. Emphasis should be given on pre-fill fields (defaults). Also use auto-fill for common fields. Use virtual keyboard where ever possible so that user has a better typing experience.
Mobile Specific Features: Matching app features with mobile platform features should be the key objective while developing a mobile app. Developing a cross platform app is always a good options, but functionality and compatibility for enhancements and upgraded are the key challenges that needs to be addressed first.
Information Architecture: Arranging the app functionality and its content into a logical flow of the information architecture is the key to success of an app. Usually people prefer few taps or touch, swipe, scroll and as such simple architecture gives better UX.
Security & Performance: Size and speed are the two key elements of performance measurement in case of a mobile app. Avoid using too many images, rather the focus should be only on relevance of images. Compliance with security and privacy issues and concerns are must while developing an app. For example, users should always be given an option to mark their location as ‘on’ or ‘off’.