Across the digital landscape, a shift in focus has been happening throughout the past decade or so. With smartphones enabling superior accessibility and convenience, owning one hasn’t just become an indispensable part of life – but is now the go-to gadget for getting almost anything done. Therefore, it’s no surprise that most people are now accessing the web via their smartphones, than desktops. Whether it’s on the bus or while taking food to go, the compatible nature of today’s smartphones present everything at the palm of one’s hand, literally.
With so much mobile penetration, website and app developers have much abuzz amongst themselves; as millions connect online through their smartphones, business owners have also realised the potential of such a market. It’s no surprise that there are a wealth of mobile platforms, resources and apps out there, rendering users spoilt for choice while posing quite the challenge to stand apart from the rest.
If you’re thinking about venturing out to this vast, ubiquitous space, you’re also probably thinking about:
- How you can differentiate your brand or concept from other mobile resources,
- What you can do to ensure you are successful in this endeavour.
Before we get to the nitty gritty of how you can begin your journey towards a mobile website or app that leaves your users/consumers awestruck, it’s important to remember some key elements that constitute all forms of mobile UI/UX – no matter what you offer or how prominent your business is.
Must-haves for any mobile UI/UX to prosper and thrive
1. Information Architecture
Creating, and determining concise information architecture for your app or mobile site is akin to setting a strong foundation for a house. Knowing what you can offer your users, how they can obtain what you offer, what happens after they’ve done what you’ve asked them to and showing them how you can assist them if needed sets the framework for enlightening everyone else in your team, on how they can prepare mobile UI/UX that fits these expectations.
Remember, unless you aren’t acknowledged on what your mobile resource is capable of offering, you cannot direct anybody else (whether it’s your team or your customers). What’s more, it will also help clarify the ultimate objective of your mobile resource – which is what will lead to successful mobile UI/UX.
Clutter always makes things complicated and overwhelming. With too many elements in view, it is hard for users to determine what to click on, in order to meet their goal. Mobile UI/UX is easily prone to getting cluttered with more elements, features and functionalities than needed, as very limited screen space is available.
Excessive clutter can also make several features seem redundant, which can in turn confuse users. You want to avoid this at all costs! While producing a minimalistic mobile UI/UX in the wake of barely 5 inches of screen space is a tough feat to achieve, it is undoubtedly the key differentiator between mediocre and amazing mobile experiences.
3. Result-Oriented System
You know what you want your customers to ultimately do (purchase a product, book a service, post a listing etc.), and this is precisely what your mobile UI/UX must achieve. Mobile UI/UX that fails oftentimes has a disparity between these two elements; the end goal and user journey are on two completely different spectrums.
So how do you ensure that both your end goal and the customer’s journey are on the same page? The simple answer: eradicate distractions. This means that you need to reduce the opportunities that may make users abandon your mobile resource. Examples include interstitials (this can also negatively impact your SEO rankings, by the way), frequent requests to rate/review and sensitive questions without any context (asking users’ access to their contacts at a time when it’s not really needed, for example).
Always remember that a positive and effortless user journey determines whether users are converted to customers, if they’ll come back for more and how much they trust your brand overall. The slightest distractions could create frustration, which can be counter-productive for your business.
How to prepare for great mobile UI/UX
1. Know what you want
Once again, this boils down to comprehensive information architecture. With preliminary analysis that is logical and systematic, you are on your way to create a mobile resource (and subsequently, mobile UI/UX) that empowers you to achieve your product goals.
In addition to that, the right information mapping will help you notice any loopholes well ahead in advance, which can save your team loads of time, energy and money by eliminating any faulty elements from the very beginning.
2. See what your competitors are up to
While you don’t want to copy what similar mobile resources are providing to users, a competitor analysis can help you figure out what you can do differently, so that you can stand out from the rest.
Whether it’s offering something extra or modifying an element that isn’t the most convenient for consumers, learning what others are doing can help you produce something that’s truly unique and useful.
3. Determine a user persona through research, surveys and testing
While it is your aspiration to impress your users enough so that they make a decision of your choice, you must keep in mind that producing mobile UI/UX needs to be done from their point of view – and not yours. Ultimately it is they who will determine whether your mobile UI/UX is successful or not, and learning things from their perspective is imperative to give you the leverage you need.
In order to do this, conduct surveys to gather both quantitative and qualitative feedback from real-life users. Preliminary research can then help you create a user persona, which can be the benchmark you can use to centre all elements pertaining to mobile UI/UX. Of course, a user persona is never final and can vastly differ from what you initially thought, so regularly releasing prototypes and performing user testing is ideal for improving your mobile UI/UX, and the mobile resource in general.
To provide your users an engaging mobile UI/UX, there are a few basic things you must keep in mind:
- Information architecture i.e. a clarified articulation of what your mobile experience can offer users, and how they can embark on the journey to obtain what they need,
- Designing mobile UI/UX that is customer-centric, via concise user testing and prototypes. Adhering to the ‘less is more’ rule will be beneficial, as mobile UI/UX presents the challenge of limited screen space (and too many elements can only make it cumbersome to use),
- Taking that customer focus further by continuing to keep your users’ interests at heart, through constant feedback and subsequent upgrades.