Without the right User Interface (UI), a software app, website or mobile application will frustrate consumers and business users and ultimately may cause them to abandon the app or, worst case for a business application, to refuse to adopt a crucial application for work-related tasks. The UI defines the User Experience (Ux) and must be user-centric and designed to support the tasks and prescribed use of the application.
In this article, we will discuss the trends and developments in the mobile application market and how these trends will influence UI and Ux. If your business is considering the design and development of a mobile application, you will want to consider these issues as you design your software application or product.
Why is UI and Ux Important?
The user interface is the foundational connection between user and application. If designed correctly, it can make a user more productive, improve customer satisfaction and allow for easy navigation and task completion. Everything from text and fonts to buttons, links, layout, color and contrast must be considered. And, these are only a few of the considerations. Much like ‘way finding’ in a hospital, government building or event venue, the user experience provide support and must point the way to allow users to get there easily and without frustration, offering guidance and presenting other relevant information a user might need while visiting the app, a page within the app or while performing a function. The user interface must support these actions and direct and guide the user throughout the user experience.
Mobile Application UI and Ux Trends
When you are thinking about developing a mobile application, consider where the market is going. Factoring in market trends in your Ux design will help you to better serve your customers and users and to succeed with your application launch and adoption.
Simplicity of Navigation
Many applications overload features and functionality, offering too much information on one screen and making it hard for a user to easily find next steps. Simplicity is key. When you develop your requirements, think about WHAT the app will do and HOW users will accomplish tasks and design accordingly. Swiping and ‘buttonless’ design are becoming more popular and, as the traditional ‘button’ selection process fades, designers gain more space on the screen to present content.
Custom Views and Personalized Settings
The use of machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) allows you to design an app that can easily answer and address what the user wants to do. Custom settings and choices allow users to choose everything from background colors to font size to where the user will land within the app when it is launched. Settings that allow for filters and other options help users to choose what they want to see and what they DO NOT want to see so that they are able to set a personalized starting point for shopping, media and information content, streaming choices, etc.
Look and Feel
Gone are the fancy, complex views, color overload and hard to read fonts. Clear views, easy selection and curated content will allow you to easily engage your users. Make it easy for them to see and find the next task or item and keep moving through the application. UI must incorporate expertise and skill so that the user experience is designed to address how people read and understand information, and what shapes, colors and contrasts will make it easier for the human brain to find and comprehend information and take the next logical step. Be sure you address the needs of those with low vision, hearing issues, etc.
The integration of Siri, Alexa and other virtual assistants gives users another option to navigate through the menus and tasks of the mobile application and when incorporated with video content, streaming, libraries, etc., these technologies and the integration of other technologies to address visual and speech disabilities will drive the use of applications. For businesses that wish to develop a product for those with low vision or hearing issues should carefully consider the available technologies. As an example, there are numerous mobile apps on the market to address those who have to test blood sugar but many of those apps display the results in smaller fonts that are too difficult for older people to read. Nothing on the market today provides a voice option to announce the results so that someone with poor vision does not have to read the results. These trends will become more important as the population ages and more health-related apps enter the market.
User Authentication and Security
Mobile apps that offer fingerprint recognition are more popular today and allow users to sign into an app without having to remember a password. Retinal scans and facial recognition are not common for most mobile apps today but, in the future, as these technologies become more cost-effective and dependable, that trend will grow.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
Incorporation of these technologies is getting easier and developers are using these tools to provide more of a ‘real world’ look and function to their mobile apps. VR and AR are getting more popular in media, travel apps, real estate apps, science and medicine, and even in eCommerce.
All UI and Ux considerations and design must include full compliance with all the devices your mobile app will serve. What displays and navigates well on one screen size and resolution will not look the same on another. Fonts, color, headers, menus – every aspect of the user view and navigation must be suitable for all the devices you plan to serve. Remember that the average user has more than one device and may also work with more than one operating system, i.e., Apple iOS vs. Android OS.
This list is not meant to be a complete list of trends and considerations but will give you some idea of the level of detail and complexity your requirements must accommodate. If you wish to launch a successful mobile application, you must consider these trends and your consumer and business user expectations. Remember that users are not looking at your mobile app in a vacuum. They are looking at how it functions and how easy it is to navigate and comparing it to the other apps they know and love. If yours is too hard to understand and use, you will not achieve optimal user adoption and revenue.
Whether you decide on an iPhone mobile app or an Android mobile application, or you have decided to use a cross-platform mobile application, hybrid mobile app approach, you will need a trusted IT consulting partner to help you conceive and mobile application development improve results for your start-up organization. For more information about the importance of Ux and the benefits of good design, visit our Blog.