In most cases, the difference between a good app and a bad app is the User Experience (UX). In current times, people expect a lot from a mobile app, including ease of use, fast loading time, and delightful interaction. The UX should be an essential part of your product strategy if you want your app to be successful.
What is included in the Mobile App UX Design?
The mobile app UX incorporates the subjective experience a user has while using the app. UX designing is the process of creating a mobile app that is easy and enjoyable to interact with. This in turn provides users with a relevant and meaningful experience.
User Interface is a part of User Experience but User Experience isn’t limited to User Interface.
Many times, people mix up UX with User Interface (UI). The UX designing is beyond just designing the mobile app UI. While designing the UX, the developers take care of aspects like content, sound design and user interaction. Creating a great user interface is only one part of creating a great user journey experience on an application.
Why is it important to Design a perfect UX?
As explained before, User Experience is much more than just the User Interface. It extends the designing to providing a better experience to the users before, during, and after they use the app.
Things to be paid attention while Designing Mobile UX
There are areas where mobile app UX designing differs from traditional desktop UX. Hence, some principles will change for mobile users:
1. Screen Size
Mobile apps are the more personalised and convenient way of accessing information that was previously only available in websites a decade ago. While creating a mobile app, if you take the approach of only shrinking the website to a common size of 5 – 6-inch mobile device, the design will possibly look inferior and navigation on the application will confuse the user.
In contrast to the websites and desktop applications where you get a bigger screen size to present the information, the information in the mobile app screens should be well-thought-out as the size and layout available is much less. Therefore you should pay attention to identifying the information that is most important and relevant for the users, and prioritise this information because on mobile,you only have one column to place all the content.
2. Screen Orientation
Mobile devices allow the user to change the screen orientation. Reports have found that almost 94% of the time users prefer using the screen vertically and the rest of the time, horizontally.
49% of the users like using their smartphones with just one thumb. The more the screen size, the lesser area one can reach comfortably with one thumb. 36% of the users use the phone resting on one palm and navigate with another thumb. Whereas 15% of the users use the phone with both their thumbs.
While designing your app for mobile devices, you have to be careful that your user experience is great with both of these orientation aspects. This will enable users to use the entire mobile screen and it will provide them with a comfortable user experience.
The steps to achieve this is to first craft your mobile app in a manner that it is usable in both the orientations. Second, you should arrange the clickable icons and features of your app in the places where the user reachability is easy and comfortable.
3. Navigation and Input
Mobile users have only a standard touch screen option to interact with the mobile app. They don’t have a keyboard attached to their mobile phone (in most cases). Therefore you should offer them with different types of input methods on mobile as compared to desktop users. For example on mobile, there should be a numeric keypad popping up when the user is supposed to type in numbers and Qwerty at the time where they type letters.
Another navigation thing you should focus on is the size and gap between the action icons. If there are too many action icons close to each other, the users are more likely to misstep. You should make sure that the action icons/buttons are big enough to tap and have a safe distance from each other.
It isn’t just the touch, the users can also interact with the app via touch gestures. The most common gestures in mobile phones are sliding, scrolling, tapping (short, long, double) and pulling down. For example, double-tap is a common gesture for zooming into a picture.
Mobile phones are used in both casual as well as professional environments. They are used almost everywhere, regardless of the location of the user. As it is hard to carry a laptop all of the time, most of the users prefer using mobile phones for all of their needs. This may take place in the form of browsing the internet, reading news, listening to music, or E-mailing to a client.
So you know, your users will possibly use your app regardless of their location or environment. This makes it crucial that your app is ready to be used almost anywhere. To make sure that the user can easily see and understand the information on your app, you should use high contrast colours so that the information is visible to the user even in high sunlight.
5. No Split Screen
Even though newer smartphones do support split-screen functionality, it isn’t commonly used by the users. Therefore it becomes crucial for you to design your app UX as if the user doesn’t have any split-screen functionality in their smartphones. For example, if your app is an e-wallet, you should provide your users with the functionality such as money exchange rates and other financial services. If you don’t, the user might leave your app to check the money exchange rates or they can be tempted to completely close your app. Later, he can also abandon the app.
Expert tip: Always try to keep the users in your app by providing them with everything that they would need whilst using your app. Also, never take the user to a browser screen for login or registration.
Best UX Designing Software in 2020
Undoubtedly, it is important to design the best user experience. But how do you do that? There are software tools that help designers with their user experience designing. The UX designing process starts with wireframing, goes through prototyping and ends at the final design.
There are many Mobile app design software available in the market. Due to the volume of the choices, it becomes tedious for the designers to know which one they should use. Therefore, we’ve come up with the top five mobile app design software tools for you.
InVision is a modern-world mobile app design software that is popular among designers worldwide. InVision is an intuitive mobile app designing application to design, create, and test business models and prototypes for any device. The application allows users to bring designs like sketches and images from other sources such as Photoshop. It helps users to create interactive mobile app designs that can be tested for any device of any size. The users can easily drag and drop design elements from Google Drive or Dropbox to sync files. In addition to creating realistic mobile app prototypes, it is equipped with many tools that can help you test, feedback, and collaborate with your teams.
Sketch is another tool for mobile app UX designing used by many designers worldwide. Sketch is based on iOS and costs $99 a year. Also, there is a free trial for 30 days so that you can easily give it a try. Learning the basics and tools of Sketch is easy but it will take you a while to get familiar with them.
When it comes to team collaboration and modern functionalities, Sketch is at par with its cloud sharing features. It also has huge libraries using which the user can build, update, and share the design components and layouts. With seamless cloud synchronisation, sharing styles and design components is a cakewalk. On top of all, the Sketch also supports plugins.
3. Adobe XD
Adobe Experience Design (XD) allows you to draw, reuse, modify vectors, and create artworks to draw production-ready wireframes, interactive app prototypes, screen layouts, all in the same application. The prototyping is enormously easy with Adobe XD and you can switch to prototype with just a click. Also, the users can add transitions and interactions to the prototype and share with their team to test and feedback the design.
As the product is coming from the house of Adobe, it is evidently clear that the integration with the company’s other products like Illustrator, After Effects, Photoshop will be seamless.
4. Axure RP
Axure is another tool best for prototyping and designing without having to code. Like Adobe XD and Sketch, it allows designers to create and share prototypes with their teams. The designers can publish their prototypes and designs to local storage as well as to the cloud for better accessibility. All one has to do is share the link and others can access the project via that link.
The Axure RP comes with features like:
- Adaptive views on sizing the canvas based on the screen size
- Prototype animations can be created easily
- Data-driven sorting
- Mathematics functions like subtraction and addition that are majorly used in eCommerce prototyping
- Dynamic content to provide hover function
5. Origami Studio
Origami studio was first created by Facebook to help teams build product designs and prototypes. The app’s prototyping tool is famous among freelancers or individual designers and helps them to see the app prototypes in mobile in real-time via a cloud feature named Origami Live. Origami studio supports importing designs from Sketch and Photoshop, making it a convenient and useful mobile app design software.
The designers can also export the prototype components with the animations by just a click, enabling software developers to just copy and paste the project. One drawback of Origami Studio is the lack of team collaboration features. The application could do a lot more to enhance collaboration by including features such as allowing comments for design amendments or recommendations and also providing a design version history log.
6. Adobe Illustrator
Adobe Illustrator is a very popular software designer across the world for creating mobile apps and desktop UIs. The software cost starts from $29.99 a month, and the new users can avail a trial period of 7 days for free. Adobe Illustrator can work with both MS Windows and macOS. Though it isn’t the easiest tool to learn, it is certainly one worth putting effort into.
For a very long time, Illustrator has been a software tool for vector graphic designing. It enables designers to create eye-catching typography, logos, illustrations, sketches, and videos. It is also the most famous tool for UI prototyping and mockup designing. Lastly, Illustrator is the mobile app design software that every designer must be familiar with.
Throughout the article, we’ve discussed things you should take into consideration while designing the UX for your mobile app and the most popular software tools that you can pick from to build a stunning UX for your app. The tools listed above have their own advantages and specialities that fit different requirements.
Admittedly, the list doesn’t include many mobile app designing software tools. There are several other tools available in the market, but we haven’t listed them here as these six are the best ones and are sufficient to create any type of mobile app UI/UX design.
No matter how many we discuss here, ultimately, it will come to which one is appropriate for your project? The answer to this question lies in the software familiarity of your team. The software that your design team knows best should be your pick.