5 Ways to Improve the UX of Your Applications

Application design is the biggest field of endeavour in technology at the moment. It seems that ever since Apple launched the iPhone that clever people are coming together to try and make our lives ever more interesting via the various app stores. Yet, there are some simple things that these wonderful folks could do to improve our overall user experience:

1. Stop Using Lengthy Tours of Features

Author/Copyright holder: Joseph Morris. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY-ND 2.0

We’ll give you a hint; if an app is going to be useful on a smartphone screen – it needs to be simple. If you need to use a lengthy tour of features to familiarize me with the app; it’s incredibly likely that you’ve tried to shove too much in the way of features into this release. I don’t mind growing with your app over a period of multiple releases but I am unlikely to read something the length of the Bible in order to just try your app out either.

2. Review Your User Requests

Author/Copyright holder: Tim Pierce. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY 2.0

It can be very tempting when you’re on a tight timeline to iterate new releases to get your ideas from users without talking to users. That’s pretty easy to do for most app development teams – just get your hands on the data that your users send to your support teams. You can quickly identify which features your users want and where their frustrations are from that data right? Hold on a second. By and large those people who contact support are those who have had frustrations; what about the 99% (or more) of your users who’ve never spoken to support? Wouldn’t you rather keep on making them happy rather than devote your time to keeping the 1% who use support happy?

You still have to talk to your users even if you think you know what they want.

3. Use the Screen Technology

Author/Copyright holder: Marcus Kwan. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY-SA 2.0

When people are spending the best part of $1,000 on a smartphone; they want you to use all the bells and whistles of their phone. There’s no excuse for skimping on retina display ready content (or indeed for ignoring any other major technical capability). That’s why they paid their money and your UX can only be enhanced by matching people’s expectations.

4. Stop Delivering Over Long Set Up Wizards

This is a major pet peeve. I downloaded your app, I installed it, so please, please just let me use it. I don’t mind giving you some data – in the spirit of making the experience better – but I have no intention of giving you my shoe size (unless it’s a shoe making application). It’s better to take data as and when you need it rather than demand it all up front.

5. Stop with the Notifications!

Author/Copyright holder: Johan Larsson. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY 2.0

My phone sounds like a music box. Every two seconds some app or another is telling me something I didn’t need to know. Keep your notifications to a minimum. I don’t need to know every time that someone in the world tweets; I really don’t.


Header Image: Author/Copyright holder: Flavio Nazario. Copyright terms and licence: Fair Use.

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