Bad mobile UX or user experience can lead to many problems. If you’re a lefty, you should know what I’m talking about. And if you’re a righty, simply ask your lefty friends how frustrating it is to live in a world that is primarily designed for right-handed people.
Get the drift?
User experience design in apps is no different. Do you know how many of your users are left-handed or right-handed? Do you know how many are males versus females? Do you know what the age group of your typical customer is, or should be?
Answering these questions will tell you a lot about your customer and their behavior with respect to products around them. What you want to do with your mobile app then, is to make the experience or mobile UX integrate well into their existing lives.
Head of design at Dropbox, Soleio Cuervo says, “First, in order for a product to have global appeal, it should be conceptually basic and universally intuitive. Second, world-class experiences require combining technical expertise with an understanding of how a product fits into a person’s day-to-day life.”
It’s easy to make a complicated product with many features, thinking the more you pack in, the more consumers will intuitively understand. This, though, is a classic mistake. The best technologies and products keep the unnecessary out and leave only the necessary in.
How do you then create a mobile UX that is so dang amazing? We give you some of the most successful mobile and web apps and what element defined a fantastic user experience.
Dropbox’s product philosophy is that it’s better to provide people with “hunting knife” experiences that are very good at one thing than “Swiss-army knives” that overload too much functionality into a single app icon.
What differentiates Dropbox from its competitors is solving a hard problem of syncing files across devices in a very simple manner. Simplicity is actually a competitive advantage, being one of the most difficult things to achieve in a product design.
Dropbox does this and their competitors don’t. Which is how they make it difficult for anyone to beat their product.
Marissa Mayer, when she was at Google, describes what makes the user experience stand out, “Google has the functionality of a really complicated Swiss Army knife, but the home page is our way of approaching it closed. It’s simple, it’s elegant, you can slip it in your pocket, but it’s got the great doodad when you need it. A lot of our competitors are like a Swiss Army knife open—and that can be intimidating and occasionally harmful.”
Not only does Google does the best job of delivering the most accurate search results, but it also delivers these sets of answers in a clean layout. This eliminates the clutter for users and helps them get the answer quicker.
The thing that makes Snapchat’s mobile UX fantastic is best explained by comparing it with Instagram, where technically, both apps trigger users to upload and view photos and videos, albeit in a completely different way.
When a user opens up Instagram, they are presented with the feed, while when you open up Snapchat, users are directed straight to the camera. Unless you take a photograph, there’s really no real use of Snapchat, unlike as in Instagram, where you can be passive and look at what your network is uploading.
This strategy urges Snapchat’s users to become active while using their app.
Users can get started with WhatsApp by simply adding their phone number. A user does not have to submit information like his or her name, gender, address, or age; all that is required is just a phone number. Consciously keeping advertisements out of the app keeps the users focused on the value. WhatsApp achieves an instant network effect as the user’s prebuilt contact list is his social network.
Pinterest’s mobile user experience lies in its layout – allows the user to browse hundreds and thousands of images with ease using a combination of Masonry-style of placing images and infinite scrolling. By allowing a person to visually scan content along with a link to the original source makes it an invaluable search tool. There is simplicity of universal content curation wherein the user can easily pin an image on an existing board or create a new one in a fly with just two clicks.
Instagram’s mobile UX is focused on speed.
Instagram does this by ‘adaptively pre-loading content’ and ‘move bits when no one is watching’. They make the user feel productive by registering on-click events (such as like) even while the upload is happening in the background. The same happens while uploading photographs where the upload begins when you’re selecting filters.
In Uber, there are multiple types of ride services, and instead of requiring separate screens to deliver the necessary information, Uber uses the slider design pattern to allow for easy toggling between each ride service. This creates a seamless transition between the multiple options with just a swipe, making it very intuitive for the user.
If you have one takeaway from all of this, that would be to ‘treat design as a method of problem solving’ and making it a collaborative process between design and engineering.
Best articulated by Tim Van Damme, former lead designer at Instagram, “Putting a lot of functionality inside one app might seem like the most straightforward path, but in a mobile and app world the apps that people love most are the ones that do one thing well.”
Here’s an infographic for further reference: