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Jan, 2015

Why good user interface makes an app successful

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According to IDC Research, 1.4 billion smartphones will be shipped in 2015 (http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS25282214). App downloads will rise to 183 billion within four years.

So, having said that, what helps your app to be great and become a top seller? User Interface, known in the industry as UI. Great application design is vital to business success. An app’s appearance and the way it operates is extremely important to its success. If your navigation isn’t fluid, doesn’t look as good, has too many buttons or is confusing, it could result in your good idea failing.

So, what are the characteristics of good UI?

  1. Stay with platform conventions
  2. Easy navigation
  3. Clear
  4. Simple
  5. Focused
  6. Engaging

Platform conventions are important because it is the way the user understands the device’s operation. Don’t confuse them by having functions that don’t follow the platform the app is residing on. It&rsquos the same as knowing that on is clockwise and off is counterclockwise, the up button brings an elevator that goes up, or turning a doorknob opens the door. Doing something unique when the user is accustomed to a certain way only brings confusion and a distinct possibility that your app will be abandoned.

The look and feel of your app should be consistent cross-platform: if you are using icons, make them the same from Android to iOS smartphones and tablets to desktop browser.

So is the agency building your app aware of iOS, Android, Windows and other platform’s conventions?

Make certain your app is easy to navigate. Keep in mind how a user holds a device, which fingers are primary for touching the screen of a tablet or a phone. Venture Beat has five tips for creating great UI that talks about the user’s hands, fingers, and even expertise (http://venturebeat.com/2013/04/08/5-tips-for-creating-great-mobile-app-user-interfaces/).

mobile-button-location Mobile Screen Accessibility

Your screen navigation design needs to answers three questions:

  1. Where am I? (Is it easy for the user to determine?)
  2. Where else can I go (Are the choices for navigation apparent?)
  3. What am I going to find when I get there? (Does the user understand what the navigation is displaying?)

Making your navigation predictable with no variation means the user will likely learn your app quickly and without confusion.

To make your app clear, avoid jargon, corporate speak, and formal flowery language. Keep it short and sweet. Avoid using the ever-familiar web trick of click “read more”. Try to avoid your user having to scroll endless copy. Make certain your text is readable in a legible font, not in all caps and script. Most importantly, be clear on a screen about what needs to be done so there is no confusion.

Don’t get too elaborate with icons. You may understand the symbolism, but your user may not. Use text if the icon is ambiguous. If you use animation, make certain it is necessary to point out a function and not just a distracting sideshow or you may stand to lose your user’s interest.

Keep your app simple. Beware adding too much functionality. Keep the app and each screen simple. Don’t give a user more than one option to perform the same task. Try to keep a minimum of buttons on the screen. Don’t overload the graphic elements. A busy screen bombards the user with distracting elements. Keep your user focused by streamlining each moment.

Focus is challenging. Think about your app’s purpose, and try to stick with it. A user doesn’t need to see reviews if your app edits photos. A scheduling calendar does not need to be concerned with changing colors and fonts. The more “on target” your app is, the more likely the user will continue to use it.

Finally, engage the user. Users don’t want to simply read a bullet list, they want to be interactive and see how things work. Focus on usability from the perspective of the user in mind. Users want demos, they want to see results. There is a popular app that advertises the manufacturer’s toilet paper by helping users find bathrooms when out and about.

Well done UI design can strengthen relationships with your customer base and help deliver your products and services more quickly. UI done successfully is a way to deliver a better experience, thereby increasing your business, through visual innovation. We can help with that.


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