Product Design

Nov. 13, 2018

/ product design

7 ways to improve the UX of your application

Luiza Sadowska

How to create a positive user experience? In essence, UX design is the core of the web application and influences the company’s performance overall. We might have a great product or an amazing platform with a really good marketing strategy, but if we don’t create a long lasting relationship with the user, we don’t know exactly what is our target audience and how they use the app, the design (UI) doesn’t seem appealing and so on… unfortunately, we are most likely running the business like babes in the woods.

 

There are some very common mistakes in UX which might be avoided before launching the product. Let’s talk about them and work on improving your’s app performance. 

Why is a positive User Experience important for your business?

Understanding the key principles of UX has a significant influence on the application - during the creation process as well as when you need to optimise it for better performance and conversion. It doesn’t matter if the product, service or a website is a small scale project or a large, complex product to work on - having UX in mind is necessary on each step of development for both, your business and the software team. 

In a nutshell, UX is everything that should be taken into account while developing the product or the web app. Often UX is considered as UI, but there is much, much more. Just from this infographic you can get an overview and see why UX is so important during the creation/improvement process.

UX is not UI

Source: www.uxisnotui.com

To get the point and accept that UX is an unbound part of a web application, and to prove that if done wrong it definitely causes problems, we will discuss most common mistakes and focus on ways to avoid them and in the same way improve UX. 

7 ways to offer a better User Experience 

Undoubtedly there are many of DO’s and DONT’s when it comes to UX, but we tried to focus on what is important during the web application development and where it often happens to blunder. 

1. More research before design 

Before you start even visualizing how the application should look like, there is plenty of work that has to be done. The UI is like colours of walls and decorations while the UX is the whole structure of the building together with its fundaments. A great solution before even starting the development process of a web application is, to begin with, the basics:  product design workshops. This type of UX workshops requires specialistic knowledge and experience. Thus it is most likely that help of UX consultation service or hiring UX designers already at this step is more than necessary. However, in this scenario, you need to hire someone to execute the idea to bring the application to life. If you are working with one software house on a complex project, the problem is solved. The research and sophisticated audit are made by an experienced UX team which will help to find weak points of the project, generate new ideas and revise current users’ needs, find solutions to problems, estimate time and costs as well as focus on the priorities. Sometimes it is challenging to keep in mind the user’s first approach. Undoubtedly it is also easy to forget that we don’t have the same perspective: we are making, they are using. The way we think that the application is used doesn’t equal the way it is actually used (the False-Consensus Effect). Experienced UX team, especially focused on Design Thinking methodology, is aware of that and knows how to, first of all, find the information they need and after, estimate how the user would interact with the application which shows how the app should look like to fulfil users’ needs and be prospective from a business perspective. 

2. Time for decluttering - less is (usually) better 

Having in mind the principle - UX is for people, not for technology or organizations, it requires the application to be quite intuitive and shouldn’t confuse the user. In this case, there are two things which can improve the UX of the app:

  • decluttering and focusing on core objects
    Too many features are making it a bit messy. Don’t get us wrong, features are great and improving is always a way to go but sometimes the less available options, the better. It’s a common ground for web applications and mobile apps - prioritizing one primary action. Too much choice might be overwhelming. You want the user to buy a product on a particular page? Create one call-to-action button. It also should be predictable - knowing which action triggers a reaction from the server makes the whole app easier to use. Think about Twitter, not that many features are available - core action is to add a tweet, and still, people love it. The app might be evolving and growing with time but don’t lose focus and keep the core object clear.
  • minimum required action from the user
    Basically, the navigation should be intuitive - use patterns which are familiar to the target audience. Too long user path might be a reason for user’s drop-off before getting to the information the user was searching for. For example, by analysing users’ flow, you can get the grasp overview on where they got annoyed or confused and left the page without finalising the purchase (or whatever the goal was).
    On another hand, if you need a user to execute some tasks or provide you with information (like a survey) - break it into small size bite-chunks. Imagine that the whole task is an elephant, how would you eat it? Answer: piece by piece.
    Just having 30 fields to fill up on a never-ending landing page doesn’t seem appealing but if you separate the process, let’s say 5 questions per screen, and additionally show the progress (so we know we are almost done with it), it is not so discouraging anymore. 

3. Familiarity

Isn’t it way easier to navigate and use an application which feels familiar and meets our expectations? When it comes to decision making, the familiarity principle plays a huge role. Bear in mind that familiar gestures for shortcuts and not using jargon but well-known commands make it simple to use. 

Fewer features, clear communication and more familiar UX seems like a good idea!

4. Testing and analysing feedback

The role of testing is extremely important, but this is something your UX researchers and designers will definitely tell you during the product discovery process. Just don’t forget about it not only in the matter of technology and usability but also regarding users’ flow, content and so on. Another thing that can improve your UX is taking the feedback seriously - not only (and particularly) from users that send support tickets. 

Of course, this when and how we test depends on the context, needs and final goals - but let’s just keep in mind that each product is different and what worked in one case, might not be the best solution for another. 

The vast majority of users doesn’t tell exactly how the application works for them, but it is our job to monitor the User Experience, test it and analyse it in a constantly changing web ecosystem. In this way, we will get some valuable insights and understand how the user is actually interacting with our website or product. We can reach our business goals and answer users’ needs better: a win-win situation.

5. Cut the fluff

Even though it might be tempting to give all the power to the marketing team, clear communication might bring more long-lasting relationships with users than any growth-hacking strategy. Of course, content is king in the web, but context is queen - the user should know exactly what is this app for and how to use it without all the fuzzy and nice words which can describe the product or service. Don’t let the users come up with assumptions - provide context which is the perfect amount of information to understand the large-scale of the project without overwhelming them. 

Same goes to pop-ups and all those forms to catch at least the email address. Instead of getting a new user, it might drive them away. 

A web app with clear UX should stand for itself without looking like an advertising platform.

6. Consistency 

Keep it clean, simple and logical! No matter if it is a landing page or any other part of the app - the visual hierarchy is quite important. It helps to understand the content and makes it easier to navigate. Fonts, contrasts, visual elements, feedback for interactions (even a hover effect) it all influences the UX experience after all. Keep it consistent and don’t try to surprise users. Of course, there is always a room for creativity but best if kept in a prototype structure. 

7. Tailor-made for device type

Let’s not pretend that a web app looks the same on the laptop screen and the mobile. RDW (Responsive Web Design) is a must, but additionally, we should consider other important aspects like finger-friendly tap-targets in a neutral area on the screen, minimizing the need of typing (quite annoying on a phone screen, isn't’ it?) and so on. After well-executed research, testing and constant monitoring, you can come up with conclusions and know users’ behaviour patterns. If the majority is using the mobile for the app, focus on enhancing the experience there. Quite often users are watching and exploring on mobile devices to purchase on a laptop finally. Bear it in mind while trying to create a seamless experience (i.e. switching the device with an item in a store basket). 

So how to improve User Experience?

No matter how much we try, mistakes are likely to occur, and that is actually a good thing because we can always improve and learn more about the users and the product. Having in mind that we are designing something for users it is already a win. The application is meant to be used by real people! This is why the research is so important before starting the process of software development and coming up with the UI. Let’s keep it clear, familiar and simple, less fluff and more usability!

 

Like what we do?

Do you have a project in mind? We'd love to hear from you.

Get in touch

We use cookies on this site to improve performance. By browsing this site you are agreeing to this. For more information see our Privacy policy.