Building your own app is a great way to make an income on the side. It’s also a brilliant way for businesses to expand their reach and create new marketing opportunities. However, building an app is a lot harder than people realize and there is a lot of competition on the app store, so you need to do something pretty special if you want to make sure that people actually download yours.
There are a number of steps that you must take during the design and build process if you want to create an app that people love, but one of the most important things to consider is the usability of the app. If you download an app and it’s frustrating to use or it always crashes, you are likely to delete it right away and never bother with it again. That’s why poor usability is one of the biggest app building mistakes that people make and it’s tough to bounce back from it because, even if you fix the problems further down the line, your app always has a bad reputation.
If you are developing an app and you are concerned that you might have usability issues, here are a few simple ways to improve the design.
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Failing to test prototypes is one of the biggest mistakes that people make when developing an app. It’s important that you incorporate the testing phase into the design process so you can build an app that has usability at its core. The Indigo design system from Infragistics allows for testing of a simple prototype app with the basic functions. This allows you to see how users will interact with the app as a whole as well as the individual pages. If there are certain areas of the app that are clunky and difficult to use, you will pick up on it from the beginning and you can make alterations early on.
Too many people think of testing as an afterthought and they wait until the app is finished before getting any feedback. The problem with this is that the app is often built around features or functions that have serious usability issues and the only way to fix them is to start again from scratch. But if you test a prototype and make usability the focus from the very beginning of the design stages, you will get a much better final product.
Cut Loading Times
Long loading times are a common usability issue that people find incredibly frustrating. We all have high expectations these days and if an app or a webpage takes more than a few seconds to load, we get annoyed with it. People won’t keep using your app for long if the loading times are too long, so this is one of the most important issues that you need to address. On average, people will leave an app if it takes more than 6 seconds to load, so it’s vital that you test every page on the app and if a page takes longer than a few seconds, make some changes to cut that loading time down. In many cases, pages take too long to load because they have too much going on. Simplicity is the key to good usability, so streamlining your app and removing any unnecessary functions or animations will improve loading times and make the app much easier to navigate.
When you create an app, it’s important to think about the function that it will serve. In a lot of cases, apps have more than one function and it’s important that you funnel users based on their goals. For example, if you create a fitness app that has some great workout guides, a section for healthy recipes, and a section for buying fitness gear, it’s important that the app opens on a basic menu. If you open straight into the store section, users that downloaded the app because they wanted some workout advice or healthy recipes will be put off and they may even delete the app. Goal funneling ensures that all users, regardless of their goal, are easily directed towards the right area of the app and they don’t feel that other goals are prioritized over their own.
Create Simple Menus
The menu system that you use is one of the most important aspects of goal funneling and usability, in general. Apps are supposed to make life easy, so users need to be able to find the page that they are looking for right away. Nobody wants to waste time searching through complicated menu screens before they find what they are looking for, so simple but intuitive menu design is absolutely vital. Start with a main menu that has 2 or 3 basic categories, and then break each category down into more specific pages. That way, people can instantly see where they need to go when they open the app.
It’s also important to include a good search function on your app as well. Sometimes, people don’t want to navigate menus at all, they just want to jump to the relevant page using a quick search. If you don’t have a search function at all or you have one that doesn’t work very well, you will lose a lot of users.
Focus On Readability
Readability is one of the simplest but also most important aspects of readability. If your users can’t read the text on your app, they can’t really use it and they will most likely delete it. Unfortunately, a lot of people are so concerned about making their app look stylish and unique that they don’t think about how that impacts readability. Just because a certain font looks great, that doesn’t mean that it’s easily readable.
In order to make sure that your text is readable, pick a simple font that isn’t too flowery and make sure that you size it between 12 and 16 points. Make use of space and don’t overcrowd the page because that also has a big impact on readability. The background is important as well, so make sure that you consider how the text stands out against the background color. Before you launch the app, make sure to perform readability tests with a range of people and consider adding a dark mode for people that struggle with the bright backlight on their phone.
We are all more aware of online security issues these days, so it’s a priority for most people when downloading apps. This is especially important if your app requires people to share their personal information. You want your users to feel safe while using your app, so it’s important that you prioritize security and make sure that you communicate this to your users. Once they have an idea of the time and resources that you put into security, they will feel a lot more comfortable using your app.
If you don’t manage your security properly and your app is the victim of a cyberattack, this can be very hard to come back from. Customers will lose trust in you if their personal data is lost and your app will get a very bad reputation, so don’t cut any corners where security is concerned.
Keep Pop-Ups To A Minimum
Pop-up ads can be an effective marketing tool and they do have their place, but you have to use them sparingly. They’re great on apps if you want to encourage people to leave a review or sign up for an account. But if they are constantly bombarded with pop-ups that interrupt them, your app will soon become very frustrating to use. It’s important that you keep pop-ups to a minimum and once somebody has responded, don’t keep throwing the same pop-ups at them. Giving people the option to opt out of certain pop-ups is always a good idea. It makes them feel more in control of their experience and stops people from getting annoyed by constant interruptions.
Use Personalization Techniques
One of the best ways to improve the usability of an app is to personalize it. Consumers increasingly expect a personal experience when browsing online or using an app and if they don’t get that, they may be disappointed. By recording data about which pages they visit most often and which features they are most interested in, you can alter the way that the app displays. Put their most used features and pages front and center so their experience of using the app is simpler. You can also use marketing data to send them relevant notifications about deals and offers or any new features that you think they might be interested in.
Keep Up With Maintenance
Even if you design the perfect app that offers an amazing experience for the user, that experience can easily be ruined by maintenance issues. If pages start crashing and certain features stop working, your users will soon give up on the app. That’s why it’s so important that you keep up with regular maintenance on the app and release patches to fix any bugs. You should also create new features and add new content if you want people to continue using your app long term.
These are some of the most effective ways to fix usability issues on your new app and make sure that people have a great experience with it.