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An app filled with splendid features coupled with a poor UX is an invitation to frustration. To be clear, the UX tips in this post are not revolutionary or groundbreaking. In fact, we assume that you know most of this stuff already, but as it happens to all of us for one reason or another, we overlook or neglect crucial UX design considerations from time to time.
So, for that reason, here are some tips that will help enhance your app’s UX. You will also see a few examples of apps that demonstrate each UX design tip.
We all are different, so why should the UX be one-size-fits-all? Your app should be aware of my personal preferences. Take full advantage of all data you have access to and use it to give me a customized experience. For example, a travel app displays the appropriate information to its users before they even ask, because they have learned their users’ preferences through data such as geolocation, usage, and app settings. Making my way through information irrelevant to me is a waste of time.
An example of adaptive UX
When we search for a restaurant by its name, Google Search determines our geolocation and then shows us results that are nearby. That is why it does not show us Starbucks in Thailand while we are in San Francisco.
For me, it is quick and seamless and that’s what good user experience design is all about. However, even though it may appear simple to us, behind the scene, the app determines a few things. First, it determines that my search query is a restaurant (whether I say it or not), then it looks for it near my location, and then present the relevant info on a map.
Don’t stuff your users with unnecessary and unwanted notifications. Being senseless with your app notifications makes your app look needy. Any app that abuses notification is likely to end up like all those Candy Crush requests we used to get every now and then from our friends.
An example of notification abuse I just experienced was through a game, which was sending me notifications about all the in-app purchases available to me. Ultimately, I deleted that game.
An example of a good notification UX
Twitter is a fast way to communicate online, it also has a wonderful UX. It has some of the most granular notification settings. Even the simple options have sub-options of their own. This way, I can tailor my Twitter notifications based on my personal preferences. Moreover, there’s a master toggle for muting all notifications at once (without messing up each setting). Apart from the app, Twitter’s notification emails feature has a simple, one-click unsubscribe.
Having no content to display is poor, but a ton of content with no way to navigate can be just as poor. Content that isn’t viewed is content that doesn’t exist. Without a smart search interface, as a user, I’m left defenseless against the heap of status updates, user profiles, and new uploads.
However, not all search interfaces are created equal. A page filled with low-quality search results with a lack of filters is just as bad as not having a search feature at all. Your customized, groundbreaking app needs a customizable, groundbreaking search feature too.
An example of excellent search UX
Google Photos has recently introduced a wonderful way to search your archives. When users search for images that have been backed up by Google Photos, they experience something magical. All photos are automatically organized by keywords that nobody has entered manually. Google just somehow manages to learn about what’s being shown in each photo. Apart from the big-brother concerns, this is an awesome UX design while searching your photos.
User onboarding is a process which guides users through the intial setup process as soon as they first open it. The rule of thumb while creating this experience is to treat your new users with a VIP status.
Usually referred as first-run experience, on-boarding should start immediately after a user opens the app for the first time.
Leaving new users with an empty screen and with no directions creates a terrible first impression. Consider Instagram with no photos when you launch it, or Twitter with no tweets to read. The solution is simple and straightforward, take the time needed to design for the blank slate. It may sound simple, but so many apps fumble with user onboarding.
An example of an onboarding UX
Slack is a wonderful communication platform designed for teams. When a new user signs in, they instantly get a message from a playfully helpful “robot” named Slackbot.
Slackbot offers a tour to the key parts of the platform, right from within the platform. This quick on-boarding process enables users to use the app instantly.
Moreover, answering questions from a playful Slackbot is far more engaging than just filling out some plain and old-school web form for name, location etc.
To keep things simple and clean Slack offers just 2-3 key tips per session, breaking things out for a pleasant on-boarding experience.
In this post, we have discussed a couple of areas which we think can drastically improve an app’s user experience. This is not groundbreaking, as we have said earlier, however, if you are looking to enhance your app’s overall UX, you can use these areas as a good starting point.