There are practically millions of apps competing with one another on the mobile app marketplaces of two leading platforms. But only a handful of these apps get the desired success. Most apps just fail to make enough to survive as a business.
Successful mobile apps irrespective of their niches and categories have one major common thing and that is they are powered by a great UI/UX design. The User Interface ( UI) and User Experience ( UX) together make the most crucial aspect of the mobile app design process and app development.
The UI/UX design determines not only how appealing an app is likely to look but also how easy it is for the users to use. The creation of an engaging and user-optimized app begins with the UI/UX design attributes. Even in some countries like Belgium where the app development market is experiencing an upturn, UI/UX remains to be a differentiator factor. Many apps ontwikkelaar België now boast of their expertise with UI/UX design instead of development skills.
Here through the rest of the blog post, we are going to explain the crucial roles played by UI/UX design in the context of mobile app development.
What is User Interface (UI)?
User Interface or UI makes the look and feel of the mobile app that appears on the mobile screen allowing user interactions. The purpose of the UI is to facilitate easy interactions for app users. UI typically brings together different design elements such as app layout, graphics, and presentation layer of the app. A great UI will be easily eye-catchy besides allowing easy user interactions.
What is User Experience (UX)?
User Experience (UX) determines the ease of use and the overall experience of the users while interacting with the app and trying to get things done with the app. How the app addresses the user’s feelings, emotions, préfère, and perception through ease of access, usability attributes, app features, and UI elements make the User Experience (UX) of the app.
Understanding the key aspects of UI/UX
Let’s understand that UI/UX design consists of several key elements. How these elements are sewn together to deliver an engaging UI and a satisfactory UX is the most crucial aspect for the app designer and developer.
What UI needs to deliver?
Let’s try to understand these UI deliverables first.
Storyboard presents the way to present the entire app idea and its flow in an understandable manner for the clients and the development team.
Visual design elements
The look and feel of the app are shaped by bringing together a variety of visual design elements. The design effects of images, font and typefaces, use of negative space, colors, layouts, graphics, and animations are the key elements of visual design.
After the app idea and its flow is decided and the basic visual design elements are decided, the designer creates an app prototype that showcases the app’s intended look and feels. This prototype is desired to be dynamic in character to allow incorporate iterations and changes based upon client feedback.
What UX needs to deliver?
Now, let us see what are the key elements UX design needs to deliver.
The competition analysis helps the app project to understand the competitive landscape the app is going to be presented against and the key shortcomings and bottlenecks of other apps that this new app needs to avoid in its UX design.
Based on the client’s focus and deliberation the UX designer must carry out audience research to understand the preferences, emotions,s, and perceptions of the target users and incorporate them into a user persona or a fictitious user profile that describes the ideal user of the app. This user persona will guide the way the UX design will try to address user preferences and perceptions.
User journey and user flows
How a user behaves while using an app and how the user interactions continue to flow all through the app, is crucial for the user experience. User journey map typically showcases the time spent by the users, user expectations, the thoughts and sensitivity of the users, needs, etc in a clearly defined manner. These aspects decide how the app makes user interactions with the app easier and how user satisfaction is guaranteed by the app.
Unlike the dynamic UI prototype, the interactive prototype mainly offers a structure of the app to allow user interactions and how the final app product will behave in relation to the user interactions or user behavior.
The most important aspects to consider inefficient UI/UX design
Now that we have explained the core ingredients of UI/UX design it is time to have an understanding of the best industry practices for creating app UI and UX. Let us understand these practices.
The UI/UX designer should not try to reinvent the wheel and instead, they need to make balanced use of all the design elements such as symbols, font, color, layout, icons, buttons, and other design elements that the users frequently encounter. By using completely unfamiliar design elements you can only add to the confusion of the users leading to loss of traffic.
Ensure faster-loading speed
The sign of a great User Interface (UI) design is the faster loading time and smooth navigation from one page to another without making the users wait.
How fast you can allow users to get things done and access their desired content is what matters most. The eye-catchy look may hold the user’s attention for a second or two but ultimately how easily users can interact will prove to be decisive for the app’s success.
Adding constant value
Since the UI/UX design makes the core value proposition of any app, any app project needs to add value to the UI/UX design from time to time without messing up with the core design attributes. By addressing small performance glitches or incorporating design tweaks, an app can be continuously driven towards a more satisfactory user experience.
So, the tested and tried the path of UI/UX design is already laid out for the app designers. For a successful app project, you need to adhere to these ground principles besides giving your creative output from time to time.
Vincent Martinot is a Managing Director of Eureka Apps en app ontwikkelaar België Belgium based firm that builds Online presence by offering app development services to SMBs and Tech Startups. He shares his knowledge of mobile security, tech integration & business development by contributing to different online platforms.