Before you give up on that mobile app, consider this: Maybe you’re doing it wrong!

The end goal for your app may be downloads or purchases, but if the user experience is lacking, people aren’t going to download. And if, by some miracle, they do download, they are likely to delete.

So, before you abandon the idea of mobile altogether, try improving usability. You’ll probably be glad you did. Think MEX: Mobile-User Experience. Here are 10 ways to improve user experience for mobile devices.

1. Prioritize

Present only the information that is relative to your audience. Show them the stuff that they want to see, and not just what you want to show them. And don’t forget that this is a mobile venue, so give them information that can help on the go. Think flight statuses and in-store shopping tips. These are the elements of the mobile user experience that keep people using your app.

2. Make the Most of Mobile Functionality

Give users a reason to use your app. Not only should information be relevant, but it should be helpful, which means using the functionality of a mobile phone. Think barcode scanning and image recognition. These things can help make the mobile UX much more seamless for users, which means they’ll be more likely to rely on that app of yours. What is mobile UX? UX refers to User eXperience.

3. Localize Your App

If you have a local business, or a business that could benefit from personalizing content based on your users’ physical location, make good use out of geo-targeting! Maybe your app links to directions from users’ current location or shows nearest stores. Maybe it connects them with other people in their area that also use your app. The possibilities are endless. Just be creative.

4. Don’t Forget the Basics

Your website has features that customers simply wouldn’t do without, such as order tracking and product search. You wouldn’t dream of building a site without them; don’t build an app without them either. Whenever possible, your mobile app should include the best features from your website.

5. Personalize the Experience

When your users sign in, their experience should be seamless. If they were just on your website and made changes to their account, those changes should be reflected in the mobile app. And if it’s really not possible to offer all of the functionality you’d like to have on a mobile app, be sure to direct your users to the appropriate channel.

6. Make Navigation Easy

When designing the mobile user experience, understand that every user will have a different experience. Not everyone will get to the same destination in the same way, and the more options you give them, the less likely they are to find their way there. Present links on the landing page, and ensure that they can navigate around the app from any page. Mobile user experience and design go hand-in-hand.

7. Minimize Action

You want your customers to take action, yes, but you don’t want to make them jump through hoops in order to get to their destination. Get them there in as few clicks as possible. Go through the process as an end user and see what steps, if any, can be eliminated. More clicks or taps means more time and more bandwith. It’s just not appealing.

8. Don’t Forget About the Old School

It may be difficult to believe, but not every smartphone has a touchscreen. Most do, and if your app only caters to touchscreen users, you’re probably hitting the majority, but why rule out the others? When designing for touchscreen make sure the tap size is at least 30×30 pixels, and provide keyboard shortcuts

9. Give Users Clues

Everything is obvious to you. We get it. It’s your app. But what about those users who don’t have the time to figure things out. People are much more likely to take the next action if it is clearly marked. Use mobile breadcrumbs and a “home” button, so users can easily jump back to the start.

10. Descriptive Over Creative

Don’t be to clever when assigning names to navigation links. Users shouldn’t have to wonder what will happen when they click on a link. Once they figure out what they want to do, they should know where to click to get there. It’s even more important when users are using smaller mobile devices or when they have poor data connections. If you want to learn more about user experience design, check out the Informa mobile user experience conference.


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.