Usability and User Experience Design (UXD) are two of the most popular topics of discussion on the internet these days. In fact, today these fields have become so huge that it’s opened doors to entirely new industries. Even though we are only becoming aware of this now, designers and manufacturers have been implementing usability and user experience design in their products for centuries.
Usability and user experience design is not just limited to web or app design. It’s actually an important aspect of all product design, which helps to achieve the best possible outcome. If you think about it, you’ll see that every product you use today follows some sort of usability practices to make them more convenient for you. Take a bar of soap, for example. The shape, color, and smell of each soap has been designed to offer the best user experience. Imagine how hard it would be to hold a bar of soap in your hand if it was shaped triangle.
Same principles apply for app design. So, before you wrap up your design, make sure it’s compatible with these best practices. These usability practices are not specific to app design, so feel free to use it for all your digital design works.
Navigation and Search
Navigation is a key element in every app design. Without navigation, users will simply be lost. However, randomly placing some links on the bottom of the pages is not helpful either.
A study by Jakob Nielsen revealed that 77% of people who visit a website don’t scroll down. Which means you have to make the most use of the top half of your website or app.
The best practice is to place the menu on top of the page and highlight it so users can easily select to navigate to different pages. One of the popular trends in navigation is the Hamburger button, which squeezes long lists of links into a small icon. Google uses this technique heavily in its apps. If your app has a large menu, it’s worth looking into it.
Similar rules apply when placing the search function. Unlike an ordinary website, an app needs to make Search more visible to users to discover more content. Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, are perfect examples for that.
Proper use of Call-to-Action
When talking about Call-to-Action (CTA) in design, the first thing that comes to our mind is those annoying websites that use CTAs to force people into buying unnecessary things. Those are actually not the type of CTAs we’re talking about here.
A good CTA can come in many forms. It can be a button to download a product, a section to subscribe or register with a service, or even something as simple as a text phrase that gives directions to the user to take action (eg- Watch this video, visit this website, follow us on Twitter). The main goal of a CTA is to convert your visitors into leads.
Design your CTA to suit your target audience. Personalize the text to connect with the visitors and remember to place your CTA on the top half of your app. But, be careful with the copy because the use of one wrong word can cost you 90% of the engagement.
Designing forms that work
Every app includes forms. Be that a signup form, an order form or a contact form, there are certain usability practices for form design that you need to follow in order to generate effective results.
Here are a few ways you can design forms that work -:
- Place the labels below the fields (or within the fields itself)
- Name the form appropriately explaining its purpose
- Use simple and easy-to-understand words
- Add mouse-over buttons for additional help
- Include clear and user-friendly error and success messages
- Indicate completion progress
- Get creative with the submit button (eg- Use phrases like Create account, Get started)
Designing user flow
The user flow is an important part of web and app design. This is where we design the path that leads a visitors through our app. Simply put, this is the part where the conversion happens.
In order to design perfect user flow, you must first figure out your objective. Do you want more visitors to register with your service, or purchase your product, or subscribe to your email list? Then design and map the flow of your app in a way that takes users through a process that ends with your objective, from clicking on an advertisement to visiting your landing page and finally to signing up for your app.
If your app has multiple pages, you must also prioritize the page order depending on the user flow.
The easiest way to persuade visitors to take action is to give something away for free. People love gifts and if you give them something for free, in return they’ll feel obligated to join your free trial, your mailing list or Like your Facebook page.
The use of simple encouraging phrases, like “What are you waiting for,” “register for free,” or “Buy it now for 50% off”, and positive reinforcement, like “Thank you for your patience,” “We value your feedback,” “You’re one of our most valued customers,” also help users make decisions more quickly and to keep them well engaged.
These are only a few of the best usability and UX practices for designing apps. There are many other aspects of usability that you need to explore to design an app that gives the best user experience. So, remember to do more research on the subject or it’s best to hire a UX designer to do the job for you.