January 23, 2017


If you want to create an app that beats its competition on the overcrowded mobile scene, you need to provide the end-user with a smooth user experience.

The design of your app has a great impact on how users interact with it. That’s why you shouldn’t design only for aesthetic reasons. You need to deliver a design that helps users to easily make the most of your app. Focusing on usability and UX is a smart move.

Here are 12 design strategies to help you boost the performance of your app.

1. Remove sources of friction to build a smooth user experience

You need to get rid of everything that introduces friction to your app experience.

First of all, every screen of your app should have one dominating action ascribed to it. Don’t count on users to meticulously read all your copy and instructions. Try to test the screen of your app – cover the copy to check whether it’s still clear what is the dominant action for that screen. Also, avoid confusing the users with equal choices. Make sure that they don’t accidentally tap on the wrong button.

What’s more, all your CTAs should look like part of the same process. You can do that by using the same placement, color, or font. For example, if users have been tapping a large button at the center of the screen, don’t make them suddenly reach the upper left-hand corner.

This kind of design causes friction in your experience flow. If you manage to remove sources of friction, the entire user experience should be clear and take seconds to complete.

2. Boost your sign-up screen

This is where you make the first impression on end-users. As you can imagine, a bad user experience at the sign-up stage leads straight to app abandonment.

So what to do? Firstly, make it simple and easy. Sign-up forms look longer on mobile screens so keep it as short as possible. Minimize your form to ask only required data. Mobile users don’t have enough patience to fill in a lengthy form.

An example of a well-designed sign-up screen – our app Running League

Morover, the final step of the sign-in process needs to be understandable. Ensure that users can access the app with the least amount of effort. For example, if you’re using email to confirm users, you need to make sure that the navigation from links the app to an email in a quick and smooth way.

And last but not least, don’t forget to show the value of your app before asking users to sign-up.

3. Reward users for taking action

Asking users to make an effort is a tall order.

That’s why it’s smart to reward users for every action they take. For example, if you’re asking them to fill out a firm, add a green check mark every time they populate a field.

Morover, add some fun transition animations between screens, especially after tasks which required taking high-friction actions.

You can also provide them with visual indicators of progress as they complete a lengthy action. It can be a thin bar at the top of the screen or dots at the bottom which show how many pages are left to completion.

Orienting people this way will make them more accepting towards the effort it takes to use your product.

4. Revamp your in-app permissions

Permissions are crucial for some app functions, but they can easily appear invasive. Users are generally suspicious about handing over their data to third parties, so you need to make sure that your in-app permissions are clear and convincing.

Provide users with effective explanations of each permission request. Ask for these requests only when they’re absolutely necessary. Make sure your permissions appear in the right context to remain relevant.

5. Pay attention to what your screen looks like with keyboard and other panels

Many app designers forget that their design will at some points be obscured by the keyboard or other panels.

To avoid problems, check whether key information or links are not hiding behind the keyboard. Or perhaps you’re covering a CTA? If that’s the case, you need to redesign your app to avoid this problem.

Panels should be fitted well within the screen. Like in one of our apps – BookApart.

If you have international traffic in your app, don’t forget that different countries have slightly different keywords. Do your homework and you’ll be sure to create a frictionless experience.

6. Invest in your referral channels

Referrals are a key source of growth. Measure referrers per user and then check the number of invites sent per referrer to prospective users.

That’s how you’ll be able to prioritize channels that bring you the highest volume of invites. Then, you can focus all your resources on these channels.

7. Avoid providing too much information

It’s not smart to flood your users with information while onboarding.

Instead of providing users with a series of screens filled with information about your app, offer a selection of tool tips located on top of UI elements.

That’s how users can easily learn about the functionalities of your app – and take actions in real time!

8. Work on your error states

What happens if users provide a badly formatted email address or incorrect credit card number?

Many designers forget about error states, while these make up for a significant chunk of user experiences. There’s plenty of things that might go wrong and you need to properly alert users about these errors.

Don’t opt for technical messages, they’ll only confuse users. Instead, offer a simple way out. Make it easy for them to return to what they were previously doing.

9. Strategize your social sharing

Think your social sharing strategy through. If social isn’t at the core of your product, don’t include social media buttons in your app. It’s as simple as that.

Including social buttons without a specific intention is a mistake. Users are blind to these buttons because they see them all over the place. So such buttons will be useless and only a waste of space.

By making your app lighter by removing social sharing buttons, you’ll only boost the user experience.

How to enable sharing content in your app? See an example of John Paul 2 app.

10. Focus on a growth trajectory

You need to identify the main traffic sources that bring in users of highest value to make sure it’s easy to reach your app through these channels.

That’s why you should develop a clear onboarding funnel based on events which are triggered for each screen viewed by the user.

Next, measure and track different metrics like retention rate. When picking your analytics tools, go for those which provide quick insights.

11. Be transparent about data sharing

Transparency is a key when it comes to data sharing. Explain what users are sharing and with whom they are sharing it. Remind users about their sharing settings in an in-app message.

Don’t assume that users will want to share their achievements with their social media communities. You need users to trust you, otherwise you’ll get plenty of negative reviews that will bury your app.

12. If you’ve got no idea what isn’t working, make a radical change

Sometimes it takes a bold move to find out whether your ideas have potential. The best way to test them is by making big changes to your app and testing the reactions of your users. Nothing will give you a clearer answer about what works and what doesn’t.

Once you gain your insights, you can fine tune your changes to build an optimal user experience. Your product is evolving, and users are bound to get used to these changes.

Follow these 12 proven tactics to ensure that your app’s design boosts its performance on the competitive mobile market, bringing in plenty of traffic and offering a great user experience.

Want to develop your own app? Check how to pre-plan app development in 5 easy steps.

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