By: Vince Kattoula
Technology, especially mobile apps, should be easy to use and make life easier, not harder. A good user experience is usually the difference between success and failure in the app world. User experience (UX) involves a person’s behaviors, attitude, and emotions about using a product, system, or service. When UX is well thought out and succeeds, end users are happy. But when it fails, users can become frustrated and end up saying goodbye for good.
Paige Templeton, our Lead UX and PM, had this to say about the work involving UX:
“The work involving UX encompasses a broad collection of things. The research portion gives us a base to make decisions. Competitive analyses, personas, and usability tests all help to create an app that caters to the end user. Taxonomy and information architecture work is vital in making sure users know where to find things. A lost user is a failed experience and results in a deleted app. Then, as most know, there is the user interface design. Interface design focuses on creating a layout that feels intuitive to the user. An interface that follows recognizable patterns lifts the user’s mood and he or she responds more positively. The visual design in UX caters to the look and feel of the app. It helps lead the user to more understanding of what kind of an app it is. Interface choices, such as over-designing, can hurt the app by creating a frustrated user.”
Earlier this year, Paige spoke at Ignite UX Michigan in Ann Arbor. She discussed the good, the bad, and the ugly regarding icon usage. Here are a few key takeaways:
- Use labels unless there isn’t enough space.
- Use context cues if you cannot fit a label in.
- Test, test, test! Use your users.
- Use the AIGA universal symbols list when possible.
- Don’t assume that making something an icon will make it easier on the user.
Creating an awesome app is more than just great code or flashy looks. After developing more than 1,000 apps for hundreds of clients across multiple industries, one of the best lessons we’ve learned is that the only thing that matters in a mobile app is the experience that it offers end users. To create an excellent user experience one must put on their end user hat and really think about each individual experience with their product. Each button, link, feature, and so on, needs to be carefully considered and designed to delight and engage the end user.