The success of mobile apps depends on three things: user experience, user experience, and user experience!
Even if the app offers very intuitive and powerful features, it is of little benefit unless users are able to make use of the app properly. Today’s mostly harried users have little patience to put up slow loads, confusing menus, half-baked functionality, breaks in the process, or any other glitch, and would just abandon confusing and hard apps.
Even as there is a consensus on the need for superior User Experience (UX), many stakeholders confuse UX with the user interface (UI) and use these two terms interchangeably.
User Experience is much wider than User Interface and refers to designing apps in a way that optimizes usability and accessibility. The overriding aim of a good UX is customer delight, or delivering maximum possible pleasure to the users interacting with the app. UI is delivering a good UX through a good interface. UI may be regarded as one element, albeit critical, of UX.
The Power of User Experience (UX)
User Experience is work “under the hood.” A good UX delivers a neat and simple design that facilitate users to complete their tasks easily and seamlessly.
User Experience focus on the scientific and methodological applying what the target users prefer and industry best practices to the app architecture, to enhance the design and make the app functional and intuitive. It deals with the way product flows logically from one sequence to another, how information is laid on screen, and how people interact with it, aimed at enabling users to complete a specific task in the best and seamless manner possible.
A good User Experience typically ensures the user progresses through tasks and screens in a natural flow, without having to think too much about what they are doing. The effects of a good UX is almost invisible, but the effects of a bad UX manifests quickly, with users often searching on what to do next to complete a task. Obscure or confusing menus, convoluted process flows, poorly visible buttons and more are all tell-tales of a poor UX.
The implications of sound UX go much beyond customer satisfaction though. A lean approach to design contributes largely to faster page load times, at a time when slow-loading websites cost retailers $2.6 billion in lost sales every year.
The Power of User Interface (UI)
The User Interface is more a work of art, aimed at making the interface beautiful. UI concerns with the choice of colors, the style of buttons, the animations and widgets in use, the spacing between elements, click/tap behavior, and other elements that make it easy and attractive for users to interact with the app. The different UI elements combine to enhance the aesthetic flavor of the app. The best UI designs inspire, engage and excite, and create a state of mind where users feel confident of using the app.
There is no hard and fast rule on what constitutes the most potent UI style, but fidelity to the consensus on what constitutes best practices help. Keeping an ear out to the preferences and taste of the target audience of the app or website also helps. For instance, choosing a specific blue over some other hues gave search engine Bing an additional $80 million in annual revenue.
The Conjugation of UX and UI
Image Courtesy: Ana Haris
The User Experience and User Interface combine to deliver highly powerful and successful apps that combine functionality with elegance.
User Experience work is about the end-to-end experience when people interact with an app or website, and User Interface work is how users feel about that website as they use it. To illustrate, the UX design may decide users are redirected to another page on tapping a button. The designer working on the UI complements the UX by placing a visual signal, such as a spinning wheel, to convey to the user another page is loading. The UX may adopt a lean philosophy, and opt for simple and straightforward menus. The UI complements through a minimalist interface, with plenty of white space, and minimal graphics that drag down the website and reduce page load speed.
As the adage goes, “well begun is half done.” The robustness of the User Experience and User Interface is decided during the design stage, well before even a single line of code is executed. However, getting the UX and UI right invariably requires teamwork, with contributions from resourceful and talented technical experts, business managers, feedback from end users, and more. It requires talented and resourceful developers, who are not just up-to-date, but know how to apply industry best practices, to ensure a sound UX and UI for the software. With software playing an increasingly critical role in most enterprises, enterprises would do well to rope in external technical expertise, who deal with delivering apps and other digital assets with superior UX and UI, day in and day out.
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In today’s highly interconnected world, marked by the dominance of the social media, a poor app is a virtual death sentence for the brand. With several options readily available, users are more likely to abandon transactions and even delete the app altogether when they encounter glitches and obstacles, or if they encounter poor mobile app design. Getting quantifiable insights into the extent to which a user is satisfied or dissatisfied with the app, and identifying the pain points that cause dissatisfaction is of critical importance in the wider scheme of things.
A survey by HP in Europe and North America reveals 53% of mobile app users delete an app if it crashes, freezes or produces errors, 49% of users no longer use an app with response times longer than two seconds, and 36% of users shun apps that are battery hogs.
UX is the name of the game in developing highly intuitive mobile apps that delight the customer. Here are some tools that offer greater insights and empower the developers to deliver a great mobile app design, and by extension deliver superior UX.
1. New Relic APM
New Relic APM is the leading mobile app performance management (APM) software. APM software offers in-depth visibility into the data consumed by the app, detailed monitoring of vital parameters including network monitoring, and monitoring of how users interact with the app. It helps resolve issues affecting end-user experience and generates advanced trend analysis.
Using New Relic APM, app developers, could, for instance, generate crash reports on the fly, to identify the underlying reasons that caused the crash, identify the root cause of why the service is not as fast or reliable as expected, unearth and fix errors, and do more. Just a few clicks make explicit the bottlenecks that hinder performance.
New Relic APM especially scores high on transparency, making explicit what exactly takes place behind the scene, which code paths are running, and more. Using the tool enables developers to troubleshoot and improve the app on a proactive basis, rather than wait for errors or issues to flare up before fixing it reactively.
2. HPE AppPulse Mobile
HPE AppPulse Mobile is another popular APM tool, offering almost all the functionality and benefits available with NewRelic. It also offers some additional features, such as a tag list capturing the data end users generate through their interactions with the app. This tool scores very on its user-friendly nature, offering developers very powerful features without having to write a single line of code.
Dynatrace is another tool that offers live performance monitoring, allowing developers to detect problems and nip issues in the bud before it grows and saps the vitality of the app. The app also makes explicit performance trends, facilitating diagnosis of performance and identifying degradation in performance over time.
4. Dell Foglight
Dell Foglight is yet another APM suite, making explicit the behind-the-scenes working of an app. This tool co-opts some valuable features, such as a central repository which saves time in analysis, and a high level of automation, which reduces manual works considerably. It is strong in history, enabling effective analysis over time, something not available with many other APM tools.
5. HP AppPulse Mobile
HP App Pulse Mobile documents user interactions with the app, logging their swipes, taps, and stretches the screen, to make explicit user behavior, and offering a blueprint for improvement. Tracking how users navigate an app reveals unintended obstacles, how users circumvent such obstacles, and at what point users simply abandon the transaction, resulting in lost sales and poor reviews.
HP App Pulse Mobile integrates with HP Haven big data analytics to analyze the performance and stability of the app, the resources the app consumes and identifies any issues plaguing the app. The tool generates a score that makes it easy to compare UX among apps, and also offers recommendations to fix the underlying root causes of issues connected with the apps.
The AppSee tool makes explicit what exactly users are doing on the app. It offers a range of intuitive reports and materials, such as session recordings, analytics, and heat maps, which reveal rich insights into several areas of the apps, including the most popular areas of the apps, trouble spots, unwanted features, how users navigate the app, and much more.
The Applause tool taps into the power of crowdsourcing, to target groups of users who use the app and inviting them into a survey to test the app. Applause also offers in-house expert usability surveys, narrated captures, consultations, and more, all aimed at generating the right feedback for the app.
With mobility gaining widespread acceptance, and more and more functions being implemented through mobile apps, the stakes of a good UX has never been so important. Maintaining constantly high ratings and acceptance for the app is a challenge, and nothing beats professional help. When you partner with us for your app development works, you are guaranteed high-quality apps, customized to your requirements, and superior in all aspects. Our highly skilled, talented, and resourceful team makes it a point to pay finer attention to the detail and use their wealth of experience to deliver high-quality UX sure to gain widespread acceptance.