The Golden Rules of UX for Mobile Apps & Services

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Whether you are looking to design a brand new mobile product or service from scratch or give an existing one a refresh, there are some simple yet vital rules to follow throughout the whole process.

Building any digital product at any stage is tricky work and it can be expensive if you don’t know what you’re doing, as bugs, design flaws and a lack of understanding for the format can kill a digital product before it is even released to the public.

In fact, this happens all of the time and avoiding the most common problems is difficult, even for the biggest tech companies attempting to create a successful product.

For example, Quixey was a digital product which was backed by Alibaba with $165 of venture capital behind it but failed.

Yik Yak was valued at over $400 million but was eventually sold off for $1 million after catastrophic management failures while a similar fate was suffered by Hailo, a taxi ride app which had over $100 million of funding.

The point is that launching any mobile product is hard and getting the UX right is just one small part of the bigger picture, though it is still one of the most critical pieces.

To help you understand what to do and what not to do when it comes to working on the user experience of your app, we have compiled some gold standard advice to help you along the way: 

User research: Ask the right questions

Before a single penny is spent or the design of your mobile app is even conceptualised, you need to do your research to inform how the service will look and perform.

Even though you may think that you have an innovative idea, that basically means nothing (sorry) until you know for sure that; an audience exists, you are solving a problem, there is a gap in the market and the technology exists for your product/service to do what you want it to.

The decision to launch a project should be research driven and backed up with data that answers the following questions.

  • Is there a market for the type of app you want to develop?
  • Are you solving a certain problem?
  • What’s the competition like?
  • Realistically, would people want to use your service?
  • Are you making someone’s life easier?
  • Providing a unique experience?
  • Is the idea defined well enough to be executed?

Create a prototype and test, test, test

As a result of so many businesses wanting to build and launch mobile products and services, a plethora of platforms have sprung up in recent years, such as Marvel, which allows users to design and build their own app prototypes.

Building your own prototype and testing it with different people within your target audience is the best way to find out if your intuition is right or completely wrong.

However, you should also aim to share your design with marketing and other design professionals to get as many expert opinions as possible.

This will help you understand how different types of people interact with the app as it will vary from one individual to another.

Focus on the complete service 

One of the biggest mistakes a business can make is putting all of its efforts into its core function and ignoring the importance of the smaller details.

For example, the service may have an outstanding conversion rate, however, if the experience of reporting a problem and interacting with customer service is terrible when it comes to user experience, your product will suffer and its rating will plummet.

Focus on creating the best user experience for every avenue that a user will follow on your mobile experience so that changing card details is just as enjoyable as the main user flow.

Identify the pain-points

If your app gets up and running or it already has been for a while, it is likely that some problems will appear.

This isn’t an insult to you or your team, as it can be impossible to design a flawless digital service that users will use as you intended, most of the time they don’t and redesigns are required.

However, knowing which problem to focus on can be a challenge in itself and one that causes a lot of businesses a lot of problems.

Just like a cold, where a number of symptoms are caused by a single virus, a number of problems are often created by one root cause, however, companies often spend their time trying to alleviate the symptoms instead of focusing on the inherent root problem.

The amount of time, energy and money that is wasted on this is astronomical and a huge amount of technical debt, which is one of the biggest challenges modern businesses face, can be built up.

Make sure to read our dedicated guide on technical debt and how to tackle it, by clicking here.

Investing more time into investigating what the root cause of other problems is, may be difficult and you may have to face some home truths about the way your digital product and business model functions, however, making the change sooner is much better and cheaper until waiting until the house of cards falls down.

Consider every platform

Though it seems like every man and his dog has an iPhone these days, there are still millions of people who use Android devices and are used to having a different user experience for their smartphones.

For example, Android users are accustomed to a back button that is built into the hardware which Apple devices don’t, so designing a mobile product which fails to take this into account, could severely affect user experience.

When digital products don’t perform well across the scope of devices, networks, and operating systems, it becomes a major problem as users could get frustrated when an app works on their iPhone, but not on their iPad.

Take an experts advice

Designing and building your own digital product or having the ambition to do it in house is an admirable and plausible option, however, unless you have a team of experts, research tools and ample resources, it’s likely that you will spend a huge amount of money making a lot of mistakes until you get it right.

That is why it is always better to get experts on the case from the get-go, as their experience is invaluable and will save you time and money.

To understand how LION+MASON could help your business launch a new mobile product, get in touch with our team by clicking here now.

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