What Makes A Great Mobile App

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Mobile applications are used only intermittently, so they must be especially easy during initial use. Take a look at a presentation we've pulled together outlining a number of best practice design principles and recommendations for how to build user insight into your mobile app development process.

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What Makes A Great Mobile App

  1. 1. User Experience What makes a great mobile app? Prepared by: Nick Watt & Christine Velen Research & UX
  2. 2. UX is important for mobile apps worldwide sales of devices that can download apps is expected to increase from: • around 165m this year • to 423m in 2013 most mobile applications are used only intermittently, so they must be especially easy during initial use
  3. 3. good apps play to the strengths of mobile 1 Communications 2 Spontaneous 3 Geo-sensitive 4 Short periods of use 5 Focused activity
  4. 4. Mobile App Usability Heuristics 1 Principle 1: Visibility of app status The app should always keep users informed about what is going on, through appropriate feedback. Example: Shazam provides feedback as it analyzes audio. More common feedback use cases: progress indicator when sending content (e.g., email) or receiving content (e.g., latest news).
  5. 5. 2 Mobile App Usability Heuristics Principle 2: Match between app & the real world The app should sense the user‟s environment and adapt the information display accordingly. Example: Google App delivers location sensitive results . Other apps change the display orientation from portrait to landscape when appropriate, e.g. iHandy Level.
  6. 6. 3 Mobile App Usability Heuristics Principle 3: Emergency exit Users often choose app functions by mistake and will need a clearly marked “emergency exit.” Example: “Cancel” and “x” buttons are common iPhone controls. In the case of “immersive” apps, e.g., video or games, users should be able to tap to access controls and/or exit.
  7. 7. 4 Mobile App Usability Heuristics Principle 4: Error prevention Eliminate error-prone conditions or check for them and present users with a confirmation option. Example: Spell check has option to reject the recommendation. The example below is from the built-in email app.
  8. 8. 5 Mobile App Usability Heuristics Principle 5: Consistency & convention Users should not have to wonder whether different words, situations, or actions mean the same thing. Example: Kindle uses standard controls for bookmarking and showing progress. See Apple’s iPhone Human Interface Guidelines for the complete set of standards.
  9. 9. 6 Mobile App Usability Heuristics Principle 6: Recognition rather than recall Minimize the user‟s memory load by making objects, actions, and options visible. Example: The Yelp “Recents” tab stores businesses recently visited. Maps also uses “recents” to enable users to access past addresses and routes. Other ways to reduce recall (& minimize typing) include remembering the app’s last state as well as previous search results.
  10. 10. 7 Mobile App Usability Heuristics Principle 7: Flexibility & efficiency Reduce the number of steps required by anticipating user needs and enabling customization. Example: Maps app on iPhone anticipates users will need to define if travelling by foot, car or train and displays options on map screen instantly
  11. 11. 8 Mobile App Usability Heuristics Principle 8: Aesthetic & minimalist design Screens should not contain information which is irrelevant or rarely needed. Example: Photo controls are hidden when not in use. The same is true for other immersive apps such as video and e- readers, e.g. Kindle.
  12. 12. 9 Mobile App Usability Heuristics Principle 9: Help users recognise & recover from errors Error messages should be expressed in plain language precisely indicating the problem and solution. Example: Epicurious explains what content may be available when users are offline.
  13. 13. 10 Mobile App Usability Heuristics Principle 10: Help & documentation Help should be focused on the user‟s task, list concrete steps to be carried out, and not be too long. Example: Ocarina provides contextual help upon startup. The Sketches app has new user tutorials that are both playful & helpful.
  14. 14. mobile UX design considerations Images & Colours • Use images sparingly (they should not substitute text) • Careful with image metaphors & consider including text labels • Use colour intelligently – to differentiate content • Contrast is key • Check with accessibility e.g. colour blindness Content & Layout • Organise content into logical sections • Organise according to the user‟s relative importance • Group similar settings/items together • Check for landscape and portrait configurations • Minimise scrolling Consistency & Feedback • Use consistent navigation, colours & language • Display error messages in plain language • Ensure users know why things have gone wrong • Notify users (after 3 seconds of no activity) • Include progress indicator • Provide an option to „cancel‟ an action Navigation • Ensure it is easy to return to the „home‟ screen • Must be easy to „exit‟ at any point • Ease of „discoverability‟ • Active areas need to be large
  15. 15. remember the users • who are they? • why will they use the service? • what value will they gain from the content/service? • when will they interact? • will they have time to wait for content? • what type of behaviour can we predict?
  16. 16. testing Concept testing & Prototype testing participatory design & usability What types of issues can you explore? What is a Paper Prototype? • Do they understand the key concepts? • Format can be hand-drawn sketches or screenshot printouts • Do they understand the terms in the UI? • Fast & cheap way to incorporate user feedback into designs • Does the flow match what users expect? • Does it provide the right level of information? • Is content organized as users expect? • What additional features are desired?
  17. 17. tools http://www.appsketchbook.com http://www.balsamiq.com http://www.graffletopia.com/
  18. 18. thanks!

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