Users of Mobile apps are often unforgiving. If the app doesn’t perform in the first attempt or if it fails to capture their interest, they’re most likely to dump it. And that is why mobile user experience design is the key deciding factor in whether your app will be used a second time or not.
The issue is evidenced by a recent survey from Kony that found that 50% of developer and designer respondents said their apps weren’t approved due to mobile UX design issues – not because of problems with functionality, according to a Computerworld article.
Here’s a look at five apps that have made strides in getting the mobile user experience design right, making them some of the most successful apps on the app store.
“If you build it, they will come” isn’t actually true when it comes to apps. You also need to make it easy and intuitive for users to access the app. Instagram does just that by offering users three registration/login options, according to a recent Optimizely post.
The app also provides context on why a new user should provide personal information when creating an account for the first time, making it easy for friends to find them on Instagram.
By making onboarding easy, the app helps new users get to the next stage of the flow and addresses key questions they might have. Instagram has also made great strides with something called ‘optimistic actions,’ according to a Fast Company article.
The actions give the app the appearance of working, even when it hasn’t yet – in an area with spotty service, for example.
About 80-90% of downloaded apps get used once and then deleted, according to the Computerworld article. And that first-time mobile user experience has the potential to boost the lifetime value of a user by up to 500%.
Pocket, an app that lets users save articles or video for later, has embraced knowledge like this and recently won a Webby Award for providing the best mobile user experience design. The app essentially helps new users become active users by the way it shows users the number of screens or steps remaining, and how far they have advanced thus far.
Google Ventures used actual user experiences in reworking the app, bringing in five people who hadn’t used Pocket into the office to try prototypes. They listened to the feedback and the result was an app with a simple looking interface that is intuitive for users and a whopping 58% more new users saving their first item to Pocket – meaning higher activation rates and more active users.
Cantina’s Newport Folk Festival® App
While this app is region-specific, it bears mentioning because it won a User Experience Award for its efforts at educating users before the Newport Folk Festival – as well as helping them to navigate the festival.
The app provides access to up-to-the-minute artist, schedule and venue information while keeping the audience focused on the festival, and not just on the app. For an optimal mobile user experience design, the app incorporated three stages when a user might need it: discovery prior to the event, logistics during and managing schedule changes and notifying festivalgoers.
The app even changed while the festival was happening, continually realigning itself and its content to reflect the up-to-the-moment state of the event without the users being required to do anything.
Eventbrite Seat Designer
Eventbrite’s seat designer also won a User Experience Design Award, and is a ‘rich interactive web-based seat map and ticket creation management tool.’ It provides a simple way of self-serve creation and management of reserved seating events.
With reserved seating events, organizers can optimize revenue with tiered ticket pricing and attendees also have a better event experience since they can choose their own seats at the time of purchase.
While the project faced many challenges from a solution design perspective, developers kept their eye on the prize and great care was given to ensure the app was simple to use for its millions of potential users.
According to an article in Smashing Magazine, ‘context’ helps us remove digital mystery. The article refers to context as elements and pages that don’t just snap from one state to another without showing where they came from and why.
For example, take the Instacart app. Users choose a grocery store, shop for items, and get on-demand delivery of those items within an hour.
The Instacart app provides context by enabling tapping on an item to show more detail about it – rather than snapping open a new view with the item details. The item’s picture moves from its current position to a new position above the details view and users can completely understand what happened and how it relates to the previous view.
It’s an idea that has caught on with consumers, and Instacart has been growing rapidly over the last year. As of June 2014, Instacart was operational in 10 cities across the United States, showing 15x revenue growth.
Whether based on signing in for the first time, simplifying subsequent usage or providing context, all of these apps have one thing in common: They kept the user in mind, and weren’t just built for the sake of building an app.
For some guidelines on how your own app can deliver on that great mobile user experience design, check out Rahul Varshneya’s recent Entrepreneur article.