The path to great mobile UX? Finding out what annoys users

Cygnis Media Editor
The path to great mobile UX? Finding out what annoys users

Designing a user journey means thinking from the perspective of the end user. In previous posts, we discussed that the path to a truly great user experience is to know what your audience actually needs and the problem you are trying to solve, and then design accordingly. It improves user experience and encourages users to stay loyal for longer. This can be anything from new features that makes tasks seamless to attractive UIs. But sometimes, knowing what annoys your end users can be just as useful.

Here are some things that users wish app designers would stop doing.

1 – Ignoring One Handed Use

The cell phone was originally designed for one handed use. The screen was compact and you could use your thumb to operate it. Now, when the screen size of the average smartphone is bigger than 4 inches, designers tend to make the most of screen real estate. As a result, they end up placing features where it compels users to use their other hand to perform the action.

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If a user has to keep stretching his thumb, or using his other hand to access features in a smartphone, the whole experience becomes inconvenient. With the size of new smartphones rivaling those of tablets, it is important for developers to consider ease of use now more than ever before. There are two ways designers can do that:

  • Design interfaces that complement a thumb’s natural movement — To design for the “thumb zone” (the zone where the thumb can stretch to naturally) consider the Facebook UI. The newsfeed is present in the middle of the screen. With the main content in the center, it is available within the thumb’s natural reach thereby making it easier to use.
  • Design interactive elements to complement one handed use — For interactive elements, consider making items or content swipe-able in a carousel format. Features like these make it easier for users to consume with one hand on the mobile screen.

2 – Tedious Registration Processes

Registration processes are remnants of the web only era when users were required to input personal details about themselves to access services. They were tedious but acceptable because there were no alternatives. The same processes would not sit well with the average mobile users who don’t have the attention span or the patience to fill ten fields just to use an application. Neither do they have the patience to go through authentication processes (e.g captcha codes) and risk redoing the entire registration in case of an error. It ruins the experience for them.

Registration processes are important for app owners since the data received helps them track user activity and see what actually works. Some applications make registration mandatory for users to access core functionalities. Take a renowned famous food chain’s application, for example, that allows users to locate their nearest branch but require registration to access this information. This can’t be changed, but the process can be made a little less tedious. To make registration less tedious for users, developers can start by:

  • Eliminating the need for new usernames or passwords
  • Making users know the app first before asking to register

Keep in mind, the best registration processes are the friendliest. As an app owner you can –

  • Spare users from creating new usernames and passwords by asking them to link with something that they have already registered for; such as their social media accounts.
  • Get users to know the app by letting them use its main features first. For example, in case of e-commerce applications, users can be allowed to browse inventory, view special deals and add to cart registration free and only be asked to register with basic details when they click on “checkout.” This gives them the real value of the product before asking them to provide their details.

3 – Sending Notifications at the Wrong Time

Notifications are a great way for developers to bring back users on their applications but sending these notifications at the wrong time kind of ruins the experience. Statistics even show that 63% of push notifications are ill timed which is why users simply swipe them away.

Untimely push notifications do nothing but annoy app users especially if they are about something totally unrelated. Because let’s face it, when a user is beeped by a notification in the middle of the night, he expects it to be about something that is worth his while (like a second reminder about an email he needed to send that day), not something totally unrelated like an ad or rating request. To start, developers can make notifications less irritating by:

  • Restricting notifications to details that are actually useful for the moment
  • Eliminate push notifications that seem irrelevant

In UX design trends for this year, we discussed how developmental trends are leaning towards systems that can change user experience based on users themselves. However, many applications aren’t as advanced. Nevertheless, developers can still meet users half-way in this regard. Take the following apps as examples –

  • In case of a food app, you can send notifications to users before lunch hours, not during them, especially considering the time it takes to deliver the food.
  • Users hate being sent notifications that they have no interest in at all. Take a news application for example, which you mostly use for political information. If you receive notifications during the day that tell you what a singer has quoted, chances are high that you will simply swipe it away.
  • If your app focuses on leisure activities, it would be better to send notifications to users in the evening when they are away from work rather than notifying them during mid-day. Focusing on relevancy and timeliness of your notifications is necessary.

Wrapping Up

When it comes to applications, one irritating aspect can snowball into a UX disaster. If developers hope to improve user experience, they must consider factors that annoy users, not only what they like.

Enjoyed reading the article? Check out the emerging mobile app development trends of the year.

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