5 Tips to Help Improve Your Mobile App Usability

By James Tredwell on August 28, 2019

One of my colleagues recently started working on search engine optimization. She owns a software house and her focus domain is ‘mobile application development’. So she read all the science behind SEO, and started implementing the relevant SEO practices on her website. But how long do you think it would take for her to get her website ranking for those keywords? It could take months, years. The reason behind this is that there is a lot of competition in the app industry. Just as trying to rank on Google is difficult, trying to rank on the app stores is also getting difficult.

Millions of apps are being launched each year, every new app is better than the previous apps.

And every app development company is trying their best to stand out from the rest of the competition. This means that you have to work extra hard to develop a quality mobile app that stands out from the other apps. Apart from making it interactive, you also need to make sure that it delivers a good user experience and has excellent usability. In this blog post, my primary focus is going to be on mobile app usability. I will offer 5 tips you need to master your mobile app’s usability.

Before we move on, let’s take a few moments to understand what ‘app usability’ actually is:

What is Mobile App Usability?

The first and foremost thing to remember is that mobile app usability is not equivalent to the app’s user experience. Usability is the measure of how effectively a user can interact with the mobile app. Mobile App Usability is a small part of the user experience. It focuses on the user and the product and measures how effective and efficient it is to use the product. Usability is the measure of how easily a user can achieve his goals.

Think about it, which type of app would you prefer to use? An app that has an entire instruction manual that you have to spend hours trying to figure. Or would you prefer using a simple app that is easy to understand and the navigation comes to you smoothly? I’m positive the later will be your answer. All the successful apps on the play store and the app store are intuitive and very easy to learn. The shorter time it takes for a user to get familiar with the mobile apps, the more useful it will be and the more conversions it will derive.

Why Exactly Do I Need to Improve my Mobile App Usability?

The harder it is to interact with an app the fewer downloads it will get, furthermore, users that have already installed the mobile app will choose to uninstall it from their devices. On the contrary, an app that is easy to understand and easy to use will get more installs and users will keep these apps installed on their devices for a longer period of time. A mobile application must be effective and efficient; this means that you need to quickly give the users what they are looking for. If users are unable to reach their goals, they will probably abandon your app faster than they had installed it.

Having good usability is the only way to build a client’s confidence and to generate repeat usage. So in simple words, usability is the key factor for generating loyal users for your mobile app.

Now the main question is, how can you improve your app’s usability?

How to Improve Your Mobile App Usability?

Bring Simplicity in Your App Designs

When users open an app, they have a certain goal to accomplish using the mobile app. They expect to get their work done with efficiency and speed. But, if you start creating obstacles in the way of the users, it will frustrate them. They will lose track of reaching their goal and probably start cursing you for wasting their time. Those obstacles aren’t intentionally inserted by you, but, you can follow certain designing rules to make the goal easier to achieve.

Those obstacles may be a result of overly complex app design and unwanted features that might misguide the users from completing their goals. If you want to improve the usability of your mobile app, you will need to start taking the minimalistic approach during the designing process. By taking the minimalistic UI design approach, you can create a simple yet highly usable application.

To remove any unnecessary features from your app design, you can create wireframes and prototypes to test the simplicity of your mobile app. Make sure you pass your app through multiple test iterations and live interactions to check the simplicity of your mobile app.

Platform Usability

Something that really annoys me is when I really want to install an app on my mobile phone, but, it turns out that the app doesn’t operate on my specific phone model. In another scenario, if I install the mobile app but it doesn’t function correctly on my phone. Android and iOS are two very different operating systems; you can’t expect a mobile app developed for Android to work on iOS.

Both operating systems have different types of design and programming requirements. For example, the navigation for iOS doesn’t host a device ‘back’ button like Android. Keeping this in mind, you should decide which operating system you want to develop for (I would suggest you go for cross-platform app development) and make sure that your app is compatible with various Android and iOS smartphones. This will add to the usability of your mobile app, limit the bounce rate, and improve your conversions.

Clear, Concise Content and Readability

Just like having minimalistic app design features are important, having clear and concise content is also very important. You only need enough content to aid the user in completing their goals, there is no need to complex everything, it will only confuse the user.

For example, in the buying process, Consumers need complete, yet, relevant and concise information to successfully complete a purchase. Including too much information will only result in poor user experience, no one likes to read lengthy paragraphs to find something that could be conveyed in a single sentence.  Make it as easy and as readable as you can.

Asides having concise and relevant content in your mobile app, it’s also important that your users can read what’s on the screen, otherwise, they won’t be able to use your app. In order to make sure that your content is easily readable, you can watch out for the following factors:

  • Text colors that could be hard to read against a certain background.
  • Text that is either too large or too small
  • Unreadable scrip, such as ‘Edwardian Script’
  • Bad writing and lack of clarity
  • Too much or too little spacing

Easy Navigation

One of the top issues that users face is ‘poor navigation’, this is especially true for eCommerce mobile application development. When customers are using the app, they have a hard time finding exactly what they are looking for. They might have to navigate around the app for far too long to find the product that they want to purchase.

So if you’re aiming to deliver better usability, you will have to make sure that your products and services are very easy to find. When a user starts using your app, they clearly have a target to achieve, it’s necessary that they understand how to navigate to complete their goal. Whether they want to purchase a product, find certain information, or book an appointment, it should be done without any barriers. So when focusing on usability, make sure that your products or services are really easy to find. You don’t want to risk triggering the user abandonment rate.

Goal Funneling

I’ve come across multiple apps that have multiple features and functionalities, but they lack proper goal funneling. For example, consider a realtor’s app that aids those looking for houses to buy, apartments to rent, and also includes options for selling houses.

Suppose you are looking to rent an apartment, so you quickly go ahead and install the app in your smartphone, but when you open the app, you come across a search form for selling a house. If you are someone patient, you might stick around to figure out how you can rent an apartment, but, if you’re in a hurry, you might feel frustrated and abandon the app to find something more relevant. This could cause to lose some potential clients.

So what would you do in this situation? The best option would be to have the screen open with three tiles. Each tile for a different goal. This will allow your users to select an objective of their own. Improving the user experience as well as mobile app usability.

Wrapping Up:

So it turns out that mobile app usability is a very important factor for deciding the success of a mobile app. How users perceive and interact with your mobile app has a major impact on whether they will stick around to use your app or move on to something better. The mobile app usability decides how users feel about your app, negative or positive. If they perceive, value, efficiency, and utility of the overall experience, then you have succeeded in developing a successful mobile app that converts. After all, usability is what will help convert visitors, into loyal, long-term customers, and in turn, generate more revenue.

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