10 awesome tips to developing user friendly apps

Thinking of building a new app? Well one thing’s for sure: you’re not the only one. Before you start explaining how useful it will be, just stop there for the 5 minutes it will take you to read this article. There are currently 2,2 milion apps on Apple Store and 3,5 million on Google Play. And, as predicted by TechCrunch, the number of live apps on Apple Store will reach 5 million by 2020. I think you can already tell where this is going. You’re right if you’re thinking “Hey, that’s a lot of apps compared to what people actually use!”.

According to last year’s App Annie research, despite an increase in time spent using mobile apps, users only access an average of 30 apps and only 9 of them are launched on a daily basis. So who in their right mind would want to build another app? I’ll tell you who. Someone who knows how to build the next superstar app that people will actually use. Someone who doesn’t stop at a brilliant idea for an user friendly mobile application (there’s a great chance it’s not entirely new) but actually focuses on stellar execution.

How to create apps user will love?

So how to build an application users will love? It’s hard to say, but here are 10 tips that will be a great help in developing a user friendly app!

Tip #1: Solve users’ real problem

This is a key point in mobile app development. An app has to, first and foremost, be helpful to the user in a real way, such as save them time, money and generally make their life easier.

A good place to start is to incorporate that user value in your elevator pitch. Is your business really addressing an important issue people have? Try to say it in one convincing sentence. Test it on your friends, family, random people, and – most importantly – on the people in your target group. Ask them if they think that what your business has to offer actually makes sense.

Here’s a template you can use:

My company (name), is developing (a defined offering), to help (target audience), (solve a problem) with (secret sauce).

Tip #2: Understand your users

This might be an obvious one, but too often we see it being skipped out by app developers due to lack of time and impatience: you need to get people to test your app before going live. These cannot be folks who had been in any way involved in the process of designing or developing of your product. What will you be testing? How they are navigating your app, whether it’s intuitive enough and doesn’t cause them frustration. One way to test and collect feedback is MVP development process.

Once the beta testing stage is completed, you can collect the feedback and introduce any necessary changes before you launch your app.

Tip #3: Make sure onboarding is (super) easy

Apps that require users to register in the first step are a thing of the past. Forcing people through this stage creates very high bounce rates. Get rid of any barriers that might stop people by asking them about their personal or credit card details even before they start using the app.

If your application requires any of these things, that’s fine but make sure users already like your app before you ask them to commit and trust you.

Tip #4: Use best practices of app development

With so many apps around, and so few truly successful ones, it’s smart to follow in the footsteps of those who succeeded. This doesn’t have to mean copying anyone, it just means not repeating the mistakes of so many who came before you. Read our app developer guide to get know about application development life cycle.

This is especially true when it comes to app design. We all love letting our imagination and creativity run wild, but the truth is that when it comes to apps, design has to be functional. This means that more often than not, experimenting outside a well tested framework is not good practice and can lead you and your business astray. Always use a designer who knows about mobile and get familiar with popular guidelines available online such as Google’s Material Design.

Tip #5: Avoid redirects

A good app should consist of everything that a user needs to navigate it and solve his problem. Hence, linking or redirecting to external pages from your app is very bad practice.

If you can’t include everything in your app, keep in mind that it’s always better to give the user less options. Concentrate on perfecting your product’s key functionality instead of providing several low-quality solutions.

Tip #6: Design user touchpoints

Consider specific situations when the user might want to use your app and prepare accordingly. From a technical standpoint, push notifications are a great tool you should be experimenting with.

People have mixed feelings about them, but that’s only because many apps overuse this mechanism or use it the wrong way. But when applied correctly, push notifications will attract people back into the product exactly at the time when they most need it.

Think of Uber sending you the message “Your driver has arrived” exactly when you need it to do that. This isn’t some redundant piece of information you could live without, it’s actually essential and hence doesn’t irritate you.

Tip #7: Integrate when possible

This could just be summed up by ‘don’t reinvent the wheel’. If you need, say, a payment system, a chat bot or a file sharing option, use the tools people are already familiar with that you can integrate into your product at a low cost.

This way you are making it easier for them and making your product better by teaming up with high standard systems people already love. Don’t forget ready-to-integrate components such as Stripe, Send Bird or Google Docs.

Tip #8: Make pretty things people want

As much as the main function of design is good user experience (see point 4), making your product look good should not be underestimated either. This is often tested when you launch your app through Apple Store or Google Play: slick-looking apps tend to get more downloads.

It’s a simple fact that people prefer to look at pretty things and so spending enough time and resources on stellar design will pay off. This is true for any industry but especially applies to “cool” apps such as those to do with entertainment, social networking or trends.

Tip #9: Create a safe environment

With so many apps around, it’s not surprising that we are hearing about more and more about users data being compromised. If you are requiring users’ credit card details, make sure you use trustworthy payment service providers such as Stripe or Braintree.

If you aren’t 100% sure about your app’s security it’s often safer to integrate a Facebook or Google login into your app as then you are outsourcing the your users’ security to well safeguarded products. This is a very welcome practice by users as it means they don’t have to register again.

Tip #10: Grow your friendly app by listening to your users

As you know, technology advancement is exponential. New operating systems create new possibilities for apps to avoid previously notorious errors. Constantly changing smartphone screens sizes may require adjusting the layout of your product. User behaviour also changes, meaning that what worked amazingly yesterday may be terribly annoying for your users next month.

Keep reading and replying to your users’ comments, encourage them to share feedback and implement their suggestions in the next version of your app. Get very friendly with Google Analytics or Fabric to make sure you are always on top of things.

10 awesome tips to developing user friendly apps
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Paulina Chmielewska, Marketing Specialist

Paulina Chmielewska, Marketing Specialist

Creates strategies, plans activities, carries out campaigns and creates brand image. Mainly she focuses on e-marketing because is convinced that the Internet and new technologies are the future that happens now. She is open to people and ideas - mixing external output with her own experience, she seeks for ideal solutions.
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