6 Common Assumptions That Can Ruin Your Mobile App Design
Improve your user experience by keeping these mobile design errors in mind, like symbols that don't translate and not differing from web design.
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You cannot design a great mobile app based on mere assumptions. Instead, the success or failure of your mobile app depends upon how well your app design communicates with your audience.
Thus, your mobile app design plays a major part in deciding whether a user would like to stay on your mobile app or call it quits. If a user finds it tough to figure things out, then they might just push off.
Therefore, as a designer, there are many things that you need to take into account, such as interaction patterns and interaction design needs to be modified depending upon the medium, your target audience, etc. Fear not, to help you design an awesome mobile app design, here are six assumptions that you need to avoid.
1. Users Always Need to Sign Up First
Think from a user's perspective: why would they sign up for your app without thoroughly knowing what your app is all about? Many apps work on this design model where the user needs to sign up first before using the application. But this may appear devious to users, and often times they would prefer bouncing back than exploring. I am sure you don't want to take chances here.
So, give your users freedom to explore the usability of your app, and when they find it worthy, signup will follow soon. However, without signup, you can give users an access to limited features and let them enjoy complete features once they sign up.
2. Cross-Functional App Interaction Pattern Dilemma
What works for one app may not work for another, so when designing an app, do remember that regular app interaction patterns may or may not work in every case. It all drills down to the kind of app you're designing. A travel-based mobile app cannot use the interaction pattern of a food delivery-based mobile app. Interaction patterns can only be evaluated depending upon the type and functionality of a specific app.
Besides, when designing your mobile application, keep your desktop version in mind, too. What works on the desktop may not look appealing on a mobile application.
For instance, a simple drop-down menu may look decent enough on a desktop, but at the same time, it may flood your mobile screen, thereby spoiling the customer interaction with your app.
Thus, assuming that the tried and tested method is the only approach to make your app a success may not be the case.
3. No Difference Between Mobile App Design and Responsive Web Design
This is a common assumption, that mobile app design is same as responsive web design. Certainly there is a similarity between responsive design and mobile app design, but it cannot be regarded as the same. When it comes to mobile apps, certain interaction patterns and interface elements are expected, such as all major iOS apps having the option of a back button in the top left for heading back to the previous screen.
In a mobile browser, there is no requirement for a back button, so don't make the mistake of using your web code and wrapping it as an app. Instead, design for a mobile app, but not for the mobile web. This is a very basic example, but even such minor interactions, when ignored, can interfere with a rich user experience.
There are some nuances of every platform, from image display to pop-ups and font sizes. What looks polished and appropriate on web design may look unpleasant and untidy on a mobile app, therefore affecting the end user experience badly.
4. Users Can Easily Understand Symbols
While designing apps, many designers feel that symbols are universal and widely known by the users. Symbols are a convenient and visually attractive way to convey information, but only when they are fairly popular, or else you run the risk of playing with the user-experience of your app.
For example, the symbol displayed in the image is interpreted as both, a reply icon as well as a share icon. Now, the only way users will be able to comprehend your symbol is through the context of your application. But such small nuances can be disturbing and greatly interfere with the user experience.
Here, to increase the chances of success of your application, you can run an A/B test. Start by setting up a scenario wherein users are asked to accomplish a task by choosing between a set of symbols. The results will help you analyze clearly which symbol can be considered most effective in communicating the action that you wish your users to accomplish. Thus, when picking symbols for your mobile app, don't just assume- rather, conduct a test first to understand the psychology of users, then implement it.
5. Users Will Easily Give Way to Notifications on the First Use
A majority of mobile apps swear by the OS (operating system's) default “allow notifications: pop-up window. This is an absolute "NO,"as in the very first attempt, why would a user give permission to invade their privacy? This can push users to bounce back from your application, so it is ideal to embed an “allow notifications” interface into your app.
The idea behind this concept is that you need to first make users understand how it will be valuable for them to get your app's notifications, and also assure them that they won't be unnecessarily bombarded with any spam messages.
6. Users Read the Tutorial or Help Messages
Before I elaborate on this point, I have one question: when was the last time you read a tutorial or manual before using a new gadget? Well, chances are you cannot recall. We don't pay much heed to instruction manuals, tutorials, or help messages that come along with these devices. The reason being, we are used to technology being intuitive. We expect to use our new devices and gadgets the moment they are out of the box, without reading any tutorial or manual.
The same is the case with mobile apps; don't expect users to read your tutorials or instruction messages. Rather, show them how thoughtfully designed your app is by letting them use it. But still, if you think yours is the kind of app that needs some step-by-step instructions, then it is good to keep it brief, and a great way is to offer it through a help menu.
Designing a mobile app that attracts and retains users is not a tough task if you keep the above-mentioned assumptions in mind. Happy designing!
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