Optimizing application design enables developers to appeal to their consumer base and enhance user experience. In this article, we will discuss nine key elements of application design that help you increase user engagement.
Intuitive navigation is one of the most important elements of any successful application. Efficiently designed applications help users traverse through different pages, enabling them to find useful information quickly. Inefficient navigation pushes users to lose interest and abandon the application for an alternative.
Users today prefer tools and applications that are optimized and efficient, providing them with more information in less time. Ideally, your application must be mapped in a way that allows users to access required information in less than three clicks.For this, you must keep the hierarchy of your app’s navigation bar simple.
A simple hierarchy helps users develop an easy mental map for using the application. While designing the navigational map for your app, consider naming every application page. If the application experiences an error, you can redirect the application to the home page, previously accessed page, or other pages that might interest users.
However, developers must anticipate user behavior to create a well-structured app navigation map. If your app design ensures application usability, you can gain greater engagement from users.
One way to optimize your application’s navigation is to group pages with similar content or functionality. Similarly, app designers can minimize hyperlinks to reduce the complexity of your application.
Creating user stories during development is a great way to understand how users interact with the application. User stories replay a user’s interaction with the application by identifying and mapping user interaction with different components of the application.Once you can visualize how users interact with your app, you can optimize the application for more straightforward navigation.
Standardized Visual Design
One of the first things users notice about an application is its appearance. A tone-sensitive and uniform design immediately influences a user’s perception of your brand. Therefore, employing design components that harmonize with your brand’s messaging and perception can leave a substantial impact on users.
You can break down your platform’s overarching visual design into three components: external consistency, functional consistency, and visual consistency.
External consistency is responsible for ensuring uniformity in the company’s overall design. In other words, everything from your products, website, and applications should have consistent and coordinated designs.
In application design, functional consistency is also important.Every application requires functional consistency to ensure interactive elements work homogeneously. On the other hand, visual consistency consists of a standard set of buttons, labels, color palettes, and type faces.
Paying attention to visual design enables developers and designers to ensure consistency in application performance and messaging. Ultimately, an efficient application design aligns with your company’s brand, leaving a positive perception of your platform.
Clear and digestible content on your platform serves two essential purposes. It informs users about your products and services and encourages consumers to try them. Clearly displaying content on your mobile application allows you to strengthen your application’s messaging and branding.
To present content effectively, considering formatting and structuring content in a user-friendly manner. For instance, placing intelligently positioned headlines helps you deliver key messages to app users.Likewise, segmenting content through bullet points and leveraging white space for better readability and visibility makes your content and messaging clear.
Consider using action verbs at the start of subheadings and headings to push users for a particular call-to-action (CTA). Although the visual design is essential for strengthening your application’s appeal and shaping user perception, unclear and unstructured content can drive users away from your application. Developers should leverage content as an asset to communicate the company’s purpose, vision, and mission.
Interactivity and Feedback
The best applications engage users visually and encourage them to interact with the application.You can improve the application’s interactivity through various ways such as email subscription pages, dynamic product specifications, using CTA (call-to-action) buttons, downloadable materials, and other design elements.
Such design elements motivate users to actively use the application and help them understand the functionality of your application effectively. Instead of casually scrolling between app pages, users interact through input fields and forms.
Every developer is aiming to use apps and websites to gain new users. Therefore, while designing your application, it’s essential to actively encourage users to engage with the apps. Users must ensure that every user’s journey is action-oriented.
Ensure Visual Consistency
Your application’s input fields, buttons, and other design elements must be based on your brand image. If you are designing your application based on your company’s website, you must ensure that the app’s color palette, navigation, and basic functionalities are similar.
If your application is based on an existing website, make sure its navigation works similarly to a website. Don’t change the color palette or other basic functionality to avoid confusion.
Not every application is created for the web. Unlike web users, mobile users can’t use a cursor or hover around a button or action to guess what happens when they press it. This is why it’s important to give visual cues regarding what happens upon selecting specific actions within the app.
The applications are designed with the users in mind. They provide an intuitive user experience that instills a level of predictability. Having a predictable layout and design is a core principle of optimal UX.
Users have different objectives when they first use an application. While some users open the application for its functionality, others want to learn about your products. As a developer, it’s your job to anticipate various objectives of the users and design the application in a way that caters to these objectives.
Besides intuitive navigation design, developers must consider what each application component conveys to users. Each object’s appearance influences how a user perceives the object’s functionality.
Therefore, the way you design each application object must match the user’s expectation regarding the object’s functionality. For instance, including a trash can icon showcases that the button reflects the ‘delete’functionality without explaining the inner workings of that button.
App users use an application based on their past experiences with other apps. They set their expectations accordingly. If your app’s navigation or design is radically different from the norm, it can push users away from it.
Considering and adopting common design patterns of popular applications is essential. An easy-to-use application attracts more users and results in greater engagement. There is nothing wrong with taking inspiration from the most common patterns and UX design trends.
With that said, it’s not wise to blindly implement every design pattern without considering its compatibility with your overall app design.
App users today are easily distracted. They don’t open the application as long as they are using it. Most users toggle between different apps as they use them. They may close your app to text back to a friend, watch their favorite show on Netflix or respond to an emailfrom work.
Therefore, it’s best if your application saves user progress. Doing so enables them to switch between your app and other applications without losing progress.
Multi-platformsupport is another criticalelement of app design. Some of your users prefer accessing your products from the web, while others use mobile phones for these tasks.
As a developer, it’s essential to design your app to support both types of users.Your application should save automatically save progress and activities of logged-in users on both these platforms. Likewise, your customers should be able to learn about your products and services you’re your app, as well as your website.
E-commerce web apps are a great example of this. They engage their customers both on the weband mobile applications. Because they realize that customers notice use their phone more frequently than websites. Push notifications, therefore, encourage greater engagement from users.
Minimalism is just a lifestyle choice but an important design principle in app development. Lengthy and embedded processes and pages discourage users from using your application. Keeping content minimum can declutter your app.
Ideally, it would help if you broke down longer processes into sub-pages. For instance, if your app has a purchase process or a checkout, consider dividing it into sub-pages while including an embedded progress bar.
In a minimal design, it’s best to prioritize one action per screen. Doing so allows you to direct users to one primary purpose, decluttering each page from additional elements and making the process user-friendly.
Ensuring User Engagement at All Times
Every app can come across unexpected delays. If your app suffers from static or blank screens throughout the user flow, it can drive users away. You can leverage skeleton screens to keep users engaged while your app deals with process delays. These screens provide temporary information containers. These containers are initially blank pages, and gradually load information over time.
Application design comes down to how well you can identify customer requirements and incorporate them in your application. Leveraging the design elements discussed here can help you push your app in the right direction, enabling you to focus on users and improving your application performance and usability.