While the actual coding of a mobile app is incredibly important, so too is the experience it offers the users. UX is a critical part of mobile development, helping to differentiate the app from others in the marketplace.

“UX is about the layout of every element, taking the time to make sure that every button on a screen is placed exactly where it should be, allowing the user’s muscle memory to naturally figure out how to proceed throughout the software’s flow,” CODE Magazine contributor Q Manning noted. “Great UX also includes a serious dosage of strong information architecture, guaranteeing that users won’t end up in a dead-end or frustrated because they’re forced to interact with the same data in a multitude of different ways. UX is about your users having fun.”

But how can you help ensure this favorable experience? There are a few essential tips that developers can keep in mind to help them establish the best UX possible. These include:

1. Identify your end users and their needs

First and foremost, developers should pinpoint their user audience, or the individuals they are targeting with the app. Who are the people that will be utilizing the app and what are their needs when it comes to usability and engagement?

Red Ant pointed out that today’s users typically fall into two categories. This includes hunters looking for a certain piece of information or want to carry out a specific activity, and gatherers who prefer to browse or fill time without being concerned about the results.

“If your audience are hunters, focus on features which enable them to achieve tasks in the smallest number of steps and minimize any functionality which does not help them,” Red Ant recommended. “If they are gatherers, look at ways to give them fast access to broad information, then identify ways to keep them in your app.”

2. Eliminate any roadblocks to usage

No matter what audience you’re developing for, it’s critical to remove any roadblocks or issues that could impact how the app is used. Google advised ensuring that users can access app content quickly. Using a focused homescreen and search options will help users easily navigate the application.

In addition, sign-up and sign-in options should only be included when they benefit the user by tracking transaction histories or other behaviors. When an app does feature this capability, it should be continual – the user shouldn’t be made to sign in every time they open the app.

3. Remember the 80/20 rule

Experts also recommend keeping the 80/20 rule in mind when designing the UX. This Pareto principle notes that “80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes.” When applied to UX, this means that users will likely only leverage 20 percent of an app’s functionality, mainly focusing on the features that offer the most value.

“So, when building your product, spending 80 percent of your time getting 20 percent of features that will be used 80 percent of the time is the most efficient use of your time,” Northern Div pointed out. “Delight the majority of your users first and worry about the minority later.”

4. Keep functionality simple

When it comes to overall functionality, it is best to keep things simple. Complicated navigation or capabilities that veer from the norm may only serve to frustrate users that are used to working with apps in a certain way. In addition, Red Ant noted that oftentimes, mobile apps come with space limitations, making certain bells and whistles unnecessary.

A leaner, more streamlined app will also be more beneficial for the developer over the course of its lifecycle. “In the long run, the simpler the app, the better it will be,” Red Ant stated. “It will be easier and cheaper to support and update, and it will probably do what it is supposed to do. Remember the mantra: feature rich, user poor.”

5. Maintain engagement with modern design

Finally, it’s important to establish a design that will keep users engaged. While basic functionalities like search should follow traditional design practices, ensuring users will know how to utilize them, the overall design should be more contemporary in nature. This will not only maintain user interest, but help to further differentiate the product from others in the marketplace.

For more information on user experience and its importance in app development, contact Making Sense today.