When creating great experiences, it’s not so much about doing what users expect. Instead it is about creating a design that clearly meets their needs at the instance they need it. – Jared Spool
We have an app for almost everything today. It has passed beyond the time when there were apps for every action. Today, it is about one’s mood or state of mind, and depending on which state of mind, you have got an app. If you are sad, apps such as Code Blue, Lantern and the likes cheer you up and put you in a better mood. If you are stressed then there is Happify, Headspace and others to make you feel relaxed. There are tens and hundreds of apps for every state of mind and for every age whatsoever. Why this is important again drops down to “user adoption” and how the modern app thrives to get a hold on to the main screen and stay there for some time.
User experience is the lifeline of an app which helps it see that pinch of success to survive the first 10 seconds without hitting the recycle bin. With around 2.2 million apps on the stores now, it has burnt down to a matter of choice whether to use App A or App B to cater to a particular need. Today, it is not about the idea you have, because that idea would have been recognized into multiple apps already. Rather, it is about how you make it get past that first 10 seconds and give the user what he/she needs within this time frame. That decides the fate and life of the app.
When we design an application, there are a few constraints that we take into account. They can be summarized into:
Getting the Story On-board for every App
Before we even start developing the wireframes, we think that it is important to have empirical knowledge about what we are going to implement. Be it an app that helps your coffee shop to function better or help a couple manage their dates, it’s always wise to get the story from the coffee shop owner and from real couple. At our workplace, we follow the concept of interviewing real users and understand what could help their lives tick with our app. This helps our business analysts eliminate assumptions and deal with real world problems and find solutions for them.
The Cognitive Load and Releasing Frustration
Most apps follow a particular navigation to achieve something. For example, applications such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter have the option to like or share posts just beneath the messages. It would bring down the cognitive load of the user if a new app we built follows the same or similar logic. Anything other than this would imply a new learning curve and could frustrate the user. Getting inspired from some commonly used design logic into our app, could eventually let the user focus on the actual task.
At Experion, we are way past the myth that UX and user designs are different words with the same meaning. User Experience for us starts from the idea, from inception to all the way up the process ladder. Our designs are just a part of the experience it promised to deliver. After all, it is just the user’s feelings and emotions that matter, and if we cannot cater to this fact in the easiest manner possible, we have not created a great app at all.
The Habitat and the Ecosystem We Create
Just open Google.com.
What do you see?
Just a couple of buttons and a search bar right? That’s it. That’s all Google has been trying to do. It wants to search for you what you need at the time. If you look closely, you would still see a few other options too like setting a language, Gmail, images etc. But did you see how prominent they are compared to the core function of search? That’s how simple and focused an app or website should be.
We often intend to build an app that tries to satisfy everybody. I mean everybody big or small. We pull in a lot of controls and functions and cram the user’s world. The app thus become a maze of search and find for a user who might have opened the app just to order his/her favourite pizza when hungry. To make it worse, we dump all the controls in the home screen with the same dimensions.
See, we get it. We need an app or a website that covers all possible use cases. However, there is a way to achieve it and stuffing the available real estate is the last resort a developer should use. In Instagram for example, it is an array of image tiles from which you can select the image you want to zoom into. So simple, isn’t it?
Often, we tend to forget that most users do not go beyond 2 minutes to do what they would love to get done from apps. Of course, I am not talking about music or video streaming apps here. The habitat that we create should help the user get their things done in a flick so that they can resume to their most important tasks.
Not the last things first if you can help it
Joe got late one day and missed his office cab. He decided to download the app of a local cab service in town. After installing, the first thing the app asked was to login or signup and didn’t allow the user to navigate to the services unless authenticated. Now, being new to the app, the user had to sit and register which took at least 5 minutes to set up.
Now, is this normal?
Why do you need to log in if all you require is to hail a cab and travel from say place A to place B? In the real world, if you need to catch a cab, do you need to fill up a form, submit your documents, and submit a photograph for id?
The apps we use should help us achieve what we need to get with minimal user inputs. While signing up for an app might be seen as something that is not uncomfortable, it might not be so for someone such as Joe who is in a crisis and wants a solution without hurdles. Otherwise, the last thing one would do to an app the first time they use it would be to un-install it. If you get what I mean.