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User experience: yes it is important

Did you come up with the next big app idea over the weekend? Were you out for a run when your Facebook-killing idea popped into your head? Or were you at a bar with friends when you came up with the idea of an app that blends Pokemon Go with Tinder? You are excited about how big your new app is going to be, have thrown down a few notes on a napkin and started googling luxury yachts to spend your millions on. Unfortunately there is a lot more work to be done.

User Experience (UX) is very importantIn a day and age where we are spending more and more time in front of a screen. we are being exposed to a lot more apps on a daily basis than we were in the past. To be successful in a world where the consumer has so many different options, just having a great idea is not enough.

Consumers are becoming more selective about the products they use in their lives, and more impatient when it comes to using these products. If an app does not capture and keep their attention within the first little while they will move on to the next option. We need to give the user an experience that will keep them wanting more.

UX Design is not UI design

User experience (UX) is very important in the development of an app these days. A great user experience ensures someone using your app enjoys every portion of it. UX covers all aspects of a consumer’s experience with a company, their services and their products. It is not the same as UI (User Interface) design; a good looking app does not necessarily mean the app offers a great user experience. UX is more than just how good the app looks, it is also about the following questions –

  • How easy is your app to use?
  • How fast and responsive is it?
  • Does it give the user the functionality they need?
  • How does it make your users feel?
  • Do you offer great customer service?

All these questions relate to the experience a user will have. If you can answer positively to these questions then you are probably heading in the right direction. Answering negatively will allow you to see areas where you might want to make some changes.  

Why is it important to your business?

Some of the biggest tech companies on the planet have been successful by ensuring good UX processes were an integral part of their product development. Some of these companies didn’t even have the benefit of working with a new idea. Facebook was not the first social network site; however, they gave the user all the functionality they wanted from social networking, allowed them to use it anywhere, and made it easy to use. Apple did the same with their mobile phones. They took an existing product – the smart phone – and made a fast, responsive, sleek product that consumers couldn’t get enough of.

A study performed back in 2014 by AppDynamics and the University of London found consumers are becoming less tolerant of poor performing apps. Close to 90 percent of the users surveyed said they had stopped using an app due to poor performance.

Other findings in the survey include:

  • 65% of the people surveyed said their expectations of app performance has increased over time
  • Close to 50% would change banks if their banking app wasn’t up to par
  • 30% would spend more money with a company that had a good app
  • 29% would pay more for a product if the company’s app performed better than the competitions
  • Performance -- whether it's pages taking too long to load or browsing being slow and difficult -- is the top frustration of respondents when using mobile apps and websites

How can you improve the experience a user has with your product?

There are many things a company can do to ensure the experience a user has while using their app is a positive one. Usability testing is one UX practice that should be part of every company’s UX story. Usability testing allows you to observe your consumers interacting with your app which will give you a good indication of what works, what doesn’t and what could be missing. Any new features added to your app should be validated using usability testing before it is put into production to ensure they are actually going to be used. And remember to test early with real users, and test often.

Eliminating unnecessary content and clutter from your app will also increase the user experience of your consumers in a positive way. They will be able to enjoy the content you offer without being overwhelmed or distracted by unnecessary things on the screen. Using pattern libraries can help with this. There are many pattern libraries available on the internet offering collections of previously tested user interfaces and widgets that solve many of the common design problems others have found in the past.

There are many other ways to improve your user’s experience. Searching the internet for common ways to improve your UX design will bring back many ideas, some that are easy to implement and others that will take a bit more work. But anything that you choose will have a positive impact on the success of your app.

Conclusion

With the overwhelming number of apps available in our lives UX design has become a very important part to help companies apps stand out from the crowd. Offering a positive user experience will lead to your users raving to friends and family about your app, more people using your app, and faster growth for your company. UI design is important to your app but is not all you need for a good user experience. Your app will more likely succeed and your users will be happier if your app offers proper UX even if the visual design doesn’t look that good. Companies simply fail without happy customers. Make yours happy with good UX.

Posted by: Shaun Denholm, Junior Developer | 30 March 2017

Tags: UX, User Experience, UI, User Interface


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