Australians use, on average, 36 different apps per month. That’s six more than the global average.
This is great news for Australian businesses looking to develop apps, as engagement rates on mobile apps are much higher than mobile-optimised websites or even desktop web viewing – including 100% and 300% higher conversion rates respectively.
However, customers tend to be very unforgiving when it comes to app design, not least because you rarely get a second chance to make a good first impression.
According to Fortune, more than 75% of users open an app once and never come back, and the average app loses 77% of its average daily users after 3 days. So, if you want your app to be successful, it’s crucial to consider UX as an essential component of your product strategy.
Here are some ways you can help make the that first impression positive – and impactful.
Minimise cognitive load
Interacting is a lot easier when you don’t have to think about it. The less confusing you can make the app, the better! Fast loading times, ease of use and limiting the number of actions required to complete a task all help reduce the mental load on users. You can also try using visual weight to prioritise important elements (such as contrasting colour for primary call-to-action buttons).
The navigation menu of your app should remain as straightforward as possible. Unusual navigation rules might seem a good idea at first, but if they aren’t intuitive for a user, they can have a severe impact on the app’s success. Use an existing design language that the average user will be familiar with, such as the Tab bar (for iOS) and Navigation drawer (for Android).
The majority of users are used to finding certain elements in certain places, like the back button in the top left corner, or navigation at the bottom of the screen. Creative designs are better used for other features in your app.
Design for mobile first
Never consider a mobile app as a smaller desktop version of a website. Mobile phones come with their own nuances and constraints, so design accordingly. Start with the mobile UX first, as that will likely be used more frequently.
Consider how the experience could work across devices
Mobile apps usually have a connecting experience on different devices. For example, mobile users usually browse an ecommerce website on mobile, then switch to desktop to purchase, so that transition needs to feel fluid and shouldn’t break the experiential flow in any way.
However, if your app offers functionality that doesn’t work on desktop, such as an AR try-on feature (e.g. AMIKASA), this may be unavoidable.
Personalisation is an opportunity to connect with users and provide the information they need in a way that feels tailored specifically to them. This is critical if you want to cut through all the other noise and distractions your user will be experiencing.
One great example of personalisation is the Starbucks app, which uses data from customers’ past interactions to create personalised offers and discounts.
Animation can instantly enhance the clarity of a user interface, but it’s often only used in a utilitarian way. Implementing animations that delight users can elevate the entire UI, making it memorable and more human, and creating a longer-lasting emotional connection with users. Delightful animations also display a level of craftsmanship, reminding users that the app’s designers have taken great care with the details and enhancing their overall perception of the app’s quality.
When it comes to UX, it can be tough to define what your users would consider delightful, but following the philosophy of providing an experience that is easy to understand, intuitive to navigate and beautiful yet usable should set you up for success.
 App Annie