You’ve got a great idea for a mobile app that will promote your business, provide entertainment, and/or be the next “big thing.” You just need to build it and they will come…right?
Not necessarily. If you want to create an app that people will actually enjoy using, you’ve got to think about usability. Here are 10 of the most important mobile app usability best practices to keep in mind:
Understand your audience.What are their demographics? Are they tech-savvy? After all, designing for teens is different than designing for seniors.
Know where the app will be used. If it’s meant to be used in sunlight or bad light, the color and contrast must be adjusted accordingly.
Prioritize the app’s functions. An app is not meant to have the functionality of an entire website. Avoid loading in too many functions, and then design the navigation so that the functions that will be used most are the fastest and easiest to access.
Keep it simple. Minimize the number of clicks necessary to make things happen. Also, design your screens so that users are shown what they need to do, so they don’t have to figure it out on their own.
Design for use with thumbs.A truly vital aspect of mobile app usability best practices is to keep in mind that most people use apps with their thumbs. Therefore, never require pinpoint precision to click on the right thing. Analyze your layout from the standpoint of “if someone is trying to use this app while driving (which, of course, is never recommended), can they easily get to and tap the button using their thumb?”
Tell users about the swipe function. Depending on your audience, if you’re going to use the swipe function you may need to tell users about this functionality the first time they open the app. Otherwise, those who are not tech-savvy will have no idea it is available.
Avoid certain motion gestures. Generally speaking, best practices dictate that you should avoid the “spread” and “pinch” motion gestures, the “drag” function, scroll bars, double-clicking, and holding down a button. Focus on making the app tap-based instead.
Stick with the platform’s standards. Be aware that functions and navigation styles differ in the iPhone and Android worlds. Plus, there are features (such as “back” buttons) that are built-in on some Android devices but not others. That’s why mobile app usability best practices for Androids call for providing more than one way for button-based functions to be executed.
Know that icons can be confusing. Consider including text in addition to the icons, and keep in mind that many older adults have a hard time seeing icons clearly.
Gather data for future improvements. How people use an app often differs from how programmers expect them to use it. Include functions in the coding to allow you to learn how the app is actually being used, and then use this data to further improve your app’s usability with each release.
Fitss Law. When designing a mobile app UI, getting acquainted with the Fitts’s Law can be helpful in creating an easy to use mobile app. Fitts’s law says that the time required for moving to any item is “a function of the ratio between the distance to the item and the size of the item”. It means that the closer and the bigger the target object is, the faster the user will process it. In simple language, keep related design elements closer on the screen, and make them prominent.
Count on the Usability Experts at Strategy Beach
Whether you’re creating an app for iOS, Android, Windows or all of the above, Strategy Beach has the expertise you need to get from idea to reality…all while implementing the mobile app usability best practices that can take your app from “not bad” to “wow.” Contact Strategy Beach today!