Web and mobile development experts today agree that at least 10% of a development project’s budget should go toward creating a good user experience. The most successful projects tend to dedicate way more than that proportion. To justify this, you should understand that UI/UX design is much more than creating an attractive application. The goal is to create a seamless and intuitive experience for any user who downloads and begins to use the mobile application.
Why UI/UX Matters: Revenue
This matters for numerous reasons. First, a poor UX directly affects revenue because users cannot find what they need or the design is not optimal for easy conversion. A redesign of an applications interface could boost revenue by as much as 400% according to Forrester, a research firm in the area. This is because easy-to-navigate apps encourage users to stay longer and find new items to buy.
Well-laid out apps also tend to have a lower cart abandonment rate. One of the most highly cited reasons for cart abandonment is the requirement to create an account before checkout. Another reason is a lengthy checkout process. Designing the UI to make these steps feel shorter and more intuitive can massively affect revenue. Embracing social logins has gone a long way to aid in this, making it much quicker and safer for app users to sign up for new services.
If these reasons are not yet enough reasons to put aside a significant amount of money for a world-class user experience design, think about the impact it has on your brand. Your mobile application does not exist in a vacuum. It sits beside millions of other apps on Google Play, the iOS store, and other official app stores. Users will compare it to tens of other apps on their phones and read public reviews of the app. Negative reviews also tend to get more visibility. A poor layout of your app has the potential to deeply hurt your brand value.
Search engines such as Google now take into consideration user experience data in their ranking algorithms for websites. Therefore, if SEO ranking is really important for discoverability and revenue, it is important to ensure that your web application loads easily. This goes back to how it is designed. Ensure that it loads fast and is not unnecessarily bulky.
Let us now explore some common mistakes developers make when building mobile applications.
Inconsistency in UI elements
A smooth app that does not use too many styles makes it easy for people to learn their way around an application and even develop trust with it. The design team must use such things as a color palette consistently so that users don’t feel like they are navigating different apps when they navigate to new pages. Buttons, fonts, and font sizes, links, headers, and footers should be carefully picked and used uniformly and intentionally throughout your application.
It is just as important to keep an eye on tiny details such as line thickness, choice of icons and their colours, rounded or squared corners, and the placement and size of card. Users will quickly notice inconsistencies and comment about them even when most of the app is otherwise well-built.
Indeed, the UI should not be an afterthought after figuring out the functionality of the app. It is as important as the backend workings of the app.
A Lack of Text hierarchy
The use of different fonts, font sizes, and weights is meant to create contrast to make certain information stand out. A UI designer’s job is to determine how to pick the right attributes and layouts with the user journey in mind. However, this is easier said than done and a lot of apps tend to fall short perhaps because of failing to allocate enough time and resources for a review of wireframes.
Titles are generally used at the top to display the most important information on a page. Subtitles are much smaller and should be well-spaced out so that users intuitively know the hierarchy of information.
For instance, on a music streaming platform, an artist’s page will normally feature their name prominently at the top. A profile picture will normally be accompanied by a short bio written in small text for anyone interested. The layout of the page may include a section of popular tracks, another section for their albums, and a section for playlists in which they are featured. The goal is to offer information users are most likely to be looking for.
Poor UI/UX Writing
UX writing involves the production of copy to help your intended mobile app users navigate your application. A common mistake is to separate the writing process from the product design process and only introduce it at the end. In fact, the UX writing team may be writing copy without seeing where it will go on the app.
The ideal scenario would be for the writing team to receive wireframes and screenshots to help them understand how their work will be placed. This can inspire creativity for better copy.
Equally important is an understanding of how high visibility areas on user screens. Some tools rely on analytics to show heat maps of areas that get the most attention from device users. In many cases, this will be around the top of the screen and it is where the most important information should go.
Too Much Information on One Page
In an attempt to avail as much information as possible to users, it is easy to make your pages appear too busy. This will put off a good number of people, leading to a high drop-off rate whenever people land on the said page. To avoid this, it is better to put information on different pages and provide clear-to-see navigation links and buttons, coupled with appropriate call-to-actions.
Your team should also go through the content you intend to put in the final version of the app and remove any unnecessary data that only overloads the page. For service companies, it may be tempting to try and detail successful case studies on the services page. However, it may be better to write a full-length blog post and have a dedicated blog section to serve audiences interested in detailed information about your services.
Failing to Anticipate Unexpected Events and User Actions
UI/UX designers ought to anticipate every imaginable action or eventuality in the user journey and plan appropriately for it. Users do not always use your product in the manner you intended them to. For instance, a user may attempt to sign up for a service using an email address they previously used to create a prior account. They may also fill in forms incorrectly.
Users should get appropriate messages on their screens in case of such mishaps. This is far better than a non-responsive screen when the user tries to click a button to complete their intended action. The correction message should be easy to spot (most websites will use red color) and should tell users how to quickly correct the mistake.
Another instance may be when the backend service is unavailable or the occurrence of a connection error. By providing the appropriate message on the screen, the app user is less likely to leave. Even if they exit the application, they would at least know that there is a technical team handling the service problem.
Pop-ups on a web page or within an app can be a great way to make offers to customers, collect crucial information, and even reduce drop-off rates. However, when used excessively they can quickly interfere with a user’s experience leading to low satisfaction levels. Pop-ups should be placed thoughtfully, and it should be easy for users to close them easily. If user feedback says that the pop-ups are too intrusive, it is important to change tact.
When used carefully, pop-ups can be worthwhile inconveniences for users. For instance, asking users to opt into a newsletter that provides exclusive offers and information about products they already love might be worthwhile. Limiting the number of pop-ups per page to only one is perhaps a good ceiling to prevent over-interference in the customer’s journey.
A common mistake in UI/UX design is failing to collect or ignore user feedback about their design experience. In an ideal scenario, the development team would test out different designs when preparing mock-ups of how pages will look like. However, time and other resource constraints may mean this will not happen.
Once the mobile application goes into the market, users might begin to discuss their initial thoughts on the look and feel of the application. Later they might point out more deep-seated issues such as not finding information easily. The product team ought to be ready to collect and channel this feedback so that it informs the product roadmap. Changes should be made slowly but regularly so that the product evolution does not feel too dramatic for users.
Small tweaks meant to improve user experience send the signals that the product is alive. However, ignoring bugs and feedback tells users that the product team does not pay attention or is not keen on developing the product further. This sets the ground for a high churn rate.
While you cannot overemphasize the importance of a smooth UI and UX, it is important to strike a balance between that and functionality. A good-looking mobile app cannot make up for a system that does not solve a user’s problem. Certain designs may be pretty to look at but that could also take away from the app’s intended use. For instance, a news aggregator app would not do well if it takes on the layout of an app geared towards fundraising or travel.
There is never a single way to solve a UI/UX design problem. However, there are basic metrics that tell a good design from a bad one. The most important things remain functionality and a smooth user experience.
Preventing Common UI/UX design mistakes
While these pitfalls can be difficult to prevent during a project, you can do several things to mitigate the risk. The first is to perhaps carry out proper research into user needs and behavior before the design phase. By understanding their pain points and preferences, it becomes easier to build a layout suited to them. It will also inform the nature of UI writing that follows.
Another important pointer is to prioritize optimization of the entire application for speed and intuitiveness. The development team should take advantage of optimization techniques such as caching and image compression. This reduces load speeds and allows a smoother user experience. The development team ought to keep in mind that users will have the app on devices of different sizes. As such, the app should be responsive so that user experience remains world-class across devices.
Work with NS804
If you have an upcoming project, you can contact NS804. Entrust us to develop a world-class mobile application. Our experience in delivering projects for businesses in multiple sectors means we have vast domain knowledge in multiple industries. We keep upskilling to take advantage of the latest trends in both backend and UI/UX development.