3 Mobile User Interface Strategies that Build Customer Love
Have you ever become so frustrated by a mobile app’s poorly designed user interface that you uninstalled it? User interface design is about more than just looks. A great UI makes apps easier to use, reducing confusion and uninstalls caused by customer frustration and annoyance.
While a bad UI can alienate your users, a great UI has the potential to make customers love you.
Simply put, compelling mobile app UI design—the kind that wins over customers and builds brands—is about focusing on the user and making your app as relevant, usable, enjoyable and simple as possible.
Are you designing a UI for your mobile app? Below, I’ve listed three mobile UI design strategies that will help you retain customers, earn positive reviews, and generate valuable word-of-mouth feedback for your mobile app.
1. Build a strong, intuitive, and usable foundation
The best user interfaces are all designed to help your users achieve specific goals, from creating an account to completing a task or making a purchase.
Goal-driven design involves creating personas for the people most likely to use your app, then designing around their goals. Instead of designing your app first and then letting users adapt later, a goal-driven user interface design places users first and designs around their needs.
When a user opens your app for the first time, they should instinctively know how to interact with its interface. Its UI should use signifiers to make the purpose of each UI element, from a text link to a button, obvious to users from the moment they open your app for the first time.
Finally, your app’s UI needs to provide feedback for users. When a task is completed, the user needs to receive a confirmation message or visual signal to let them know that their actions led to a real outcome.
For more information, check out this UX Booth guide that goes into more detail about the importance of building an intuitive and usable foundation for your app’s UI. By designing with users in mind right from the beginning, you can avoid many of the most common usability pitfalls.
2. Dig deeper to really get to know your users
There’s a reason it’s called user interface design—your users, above all, come first. The more you understand your users, the easier you’ll find it to design and build a UI that puts their needs ahead of any other factor.
Braden Kowitz, who led design for Gmail, Google Trends and several other hugely successful Google products, puts it simply:
“Get your customers to show you what they do today, what problems they have right now, and watch where products (including yours) are failing them. I guarantee you’ll learn a lot.”
Researching and learning about your users now will save you major headaches and resources in the future. After all, it’s far easier to get your user interface right the first time than to redesign your app from the ground up after release to fix your UI design mistakes.
UXPin’s Guide to UX Design Process & Documentation shares how you can use personas, user scenarios and experience maps to improve your UI design process.
At a minimum, you should run usability tests for your app so that real people can interact with it in a natural setting.
It’s easy to make excuses to avoid listening to your customers, especially if you’re working with a limited budget or racing against time to release your app. Just remember that your users are the ultimate judge of your app, and taking shortcuts now could seriously hurt their experience.
3. Make your users feel at home in your mobile app
There’s no place quite like home. By designing your app’s user interface to make users feel as familiar and comfortable as possible, you create a home-like experience within your app where users rarely, if ever, feel uncomfortable or confused.
Avoid the temptation to innovative in your app’s design (although by all means, feel free to offer an innovative product or service) and instead build your app around familiar UI patterns.
Most people spend the majority of their mobile time using the same few applications. When apps like Twitter, Facebook, and Chrome are built with the same UI patterns, users grow comfortable with them and expect them in other apps.
Instead of reinventing the wheel, design your mobile application’s UI to make users feel familiar and comfortable from the moment they open your app from the first time. Be creative, but only in a way that doesn’t reduce familiarity or comfort with your app’s design.
Treehouse explains this perfectly in their guide to UI design fundamentals. Patterns make it far easier for users to feel familiar with your app right from the beginning, preventing uninstalls and bad reviews based on confusion and annoyance that hurt your app’s user retention rate.
How can you improve your mobile app’s UI?
It’s easy to brush off UI design as a non-essential for a successful mobile app. While you might have a deep understanding of the value your app offers, your users don’t. If they can’t navigate through your app’s menus or understand its interface, they’ll never be able to discover its value.
From simplifying to making use of common UI patterns, there are lots of ways to improve your app’s user interface. What steps can you take to improve your user interface and make users feel more comfortable, familiar and happy when using your mobile app?