8 Best Practices in Mobile App Design
Business personnel, from CEOs to frontline workers to analysts who support them, need to be able to discover information whenever and wherever choices are made as the world continues to speed up. That’s why we introduced ThoughtSpot Mobile for iOS and Android, giving every employee access to the power of search and AI-driven analytics.
We discovered some essential best practices along the road while developing these apps (you can read our case study here). These best practices will be useful to others who are developing mobile app design software.
1. Combine practical and intuitive experiences
- Reduce the number of effort users must use to get what they desire. Organize data in such a way that getting to your destination involves the fewest possible steps.
- Break down complex jobs into manageable bits. Secondary acts should be hidden.
- Tasks should be delegated. Make intelligent defaults.
- Create an interruption-proof design. Allow users to save their current state and return to it later. Users anticipate continuing their journey from where they left off.
- Focus on the user’s goals, but don’t give them too much information. Please don’t interrupt.
Setup your home pinboard with simple walkthroughs, a quick email signup, and onboarding.
2. Invisibilize user interfaces
- Remove extraneous components that do not assist user tasks and make the content the interface. Cards are an excellent method to present practical information. Maintain a bright and airy interface.
- Make room for breathing. To draw attention to the crucial text, use white space.
- The most successful apps are laser-focused and offer only a few features. Limit the number of features available by prioritizing what’s most vital and removing non-essential functions.
- Prioritizing content can help to simplify the UI and improve the user experience.
- Clarity is enhanced by using simple and direct language. Avoid acronyms, brand-specific words, culturally particular assumptions, and technical jargon. Use familiar, understandable words and phrases.
- To preserve readability and usability at all sizes, choose a typeface that performs well in a variety of sizes and weights.
- Use a font size that is easy to read. Users should be able to read the text at a normal viewing distance without having to zoom in.
- The text should have enough color contrast. The text blends in with the background due to a lack of contrast. For body text and picture text, aim for a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1.
3. Cut Out the Clutter
- Cut out the clutter. Reducing clutter will improve comprehension, so get rid of anything in a mobile design that isn’t absolutely necessary. A simple rule of thumb is one primary action per screen.
- Avoid Login Walls. Don’t force early registration; instead, gather data slowly.
- Avoiding Information Overload so the amount of input to a system exceeds its processing capacity. Decision-makers have fairly limited cognitive processing capacity, so a reduction in decision quality occurs.
- Chunking helps. Break down long forms into pages, progressively disclosing fields as necessary. Streamline this process by integrating autocomplete, spell-check, and prediction text assistance.
- Great user onboarding not only lowers abandonment rates but can also help boost long term success metrics like user retention and user lifetime value
Lightening fast charts that are easy to interact with, consume, and share
4. Navigation Should be Simple, Yet Discoverable
- Navigation should inspire users to engage and interact with the content. It should be implemented in a way that supports the structure of the app without calling attention to itself.
- Navigation must be discoverable and accessible while occupying little screen space.
- Navigation should accommodate the needs of the majority of app users.
- Assign different priority levels to common user tasks. Give prominence in the UI to paths and destinations with high priority levels and frequent use.
- Navigation should be available at all times, not just when we anticipate that the user needs it. Minimize the user’s memory load by making actions and options visible.
- Icons and other graphic elements should help users to understand the menu options.
- Communicate the current location using location indicators.
- Make it easy to interact. menu options should be big enough to easily tap. Use recognizable design patterns as well as recognizable icons.
- Hidden navigation drives down engagement, slow down exploration, and confuses people.
- Tabs are great because they display all major navigation options upfront, and with one simple tap, the user can instantly go from one view to another. Should use labels. Can use segment control when there are a couple of options.
- Reduce Search Effort. If the search is a key function of your app, it needs to be in front of people. Either display it at the top of the screen or have a visible reference that activates search mode.
Simple Navigation, with icon and label, available across the app
5. Build for One-Handed Operation
- Screen sizes are going to keep expanding, 85% of users use their phone with one hand. The bigger the display is, the more of the screen is less easily accessible.
- Place the top-level menu, frequently used controls, and common action items in the green zone of the screen, which is comfortably reached with one thumb.
- Place destructive actions in the hard-to-reach red zone so users don’t accidentally tap them.
6. The Appearance Of Speed Matters
- Don’t make users wait for content. Make the app fast and responsive.
- To make the interaction predictable, it’s essential to provide some sort of feedback in response to every user action. Feedback acknowledges actions and helps users understand the results of operations. Lack of feedback can cause them to question whether an app has processed the action. An app that provides visual feedback eliminates the guesswork for the user.
- Let people know that things are going to take a while by using a progress indicator. The progress indicators inform users to wait, so we should replace the indicators with skeleton screens as soon as possible.
- Use a skeleton screen to focus on actual progress and create anticipation for what is to come. This creates a sense that things are happening immediately, as information is incrementally displayed on the screen and people see that the application is acting while they wait.
- Perception can be just as important as raw speed. If users get something interesting to look at while waiting, they will pay less attention to the wait itself. To ensure people don’t get bored while waiting for something to happen, offer a distraction.
- Do things in the background to make imminent actions appear fast. Actions that are packed into background operations have two benefits: They are invisible to the user, and they happen before the user asks for them.
- Pull to refresh to load new content, you simply need to drag a list down with your finger to trigger a refresh action.
Skeleton screens and spinners show the loading state for different screens
7. Thoughtful, Timely Notifications are Essential
- Think twice before sending a message. Users are bombarded with useless distracting notifications. Annoying notifications are the number one reason people uninstall mobile apps.
- Mobile is all about making every message count. Don’t overwhelm the users with push messages.
- The value users get from notifications should be sufficiently greater than the interruption. Don’t send push notifications for the sake of engaging users.
- Personalising content to inspire and delight is critical.
- Don’t send push notifications at odd hours. Send notifications at most convenient times according to the user’s time zone.
- Use different message types: push notifications, email, in-app notifications, and news feed updates. Diversify your messaging — your messages should work together in perfect harmony to create a great user experience.
- It’s better to ask for permissions in context and communicate the value the access will provide. Users are more likely to grant permissions if asked during a relevant task.
- Using storytelling to engage with the users. Use short notifications on the page instead of pop-ups and overlays.
8. No Web Experiences
- Don’t replicate web experiences on an app. Users expect certain interaction patterns and interface elements in mobile apps. Maintain visual consistency with the color palette, typography, and all other design elements.
- Provide seamless experience across all devices. It also builds trust with the brand.
- Avoid using underlined links, instead, use buttons.
- Don’t take users to a browser. This increases abandonment and reduces conversion.
- Avoid creating dead-end pages that act as blockers for user flow.
- Error states and empty states should provide instructions and actions to move forward.
- Design for glanceability and quick scanning as user behavior. Glanceability refers to how quickly and easily the visual design conveys information.
- Make sure your product works when it isn’t connected to the Internet at all. Allow caching of data.
Filters, Pinboards, Drill are customized for the mobile experience.
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