Five tips for great mobile UX

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Quite simply, if your brand has any sort of digital presence, it is crucial that it’s well optimised for mobile devices.

Earlier this year, consultancy firm Deliotte released its 2014 Media Consumer Survey. The report found that nearly half (49 per cent) of UK households own at least one smartphone, tablet and computer. According to eDigitalResearch, 60 per cent of the overall population own a smartphone and, since 2010, the number of people using them for browsing and shopping have practically doubled.

It doesn’t matter how innovative your app might be, without an enjoyable and intuitive user experience (UX), even a brilliant idea is likely to fall flat. Great UX requires going beyond simply presenting the information; every element of the layout needs to be carefully considered. Interaction needs to be user friendly, to the point where they don’t have to think twice about how something works. Meeting a frustrating dead end or an inadvertent obstacle in the way of what a user wants to achieve is unlikely to retain a user, let alone see them converting into a customer.

So, what should you take into consideration when designing a mobile UX and what can you do to improve the experience? Take a look at some of these tips:

1. Make it natural

Whether the device is going to be used in the hand or resting on a table, the way that a user manipulates the user interface (UI) needs to feel natural and intuitive at all times. Having to stop and think about how to do something will turn users off. Try to use the existing UX of your chosen device to your advantage. Users will have become accustomed to using certain gestures or techniques when navigating an operating system or native platform apps. This consistency will feel second nature when used elsewhere.

2. Design for the device

It’s really important to remember that users will navigate differently when using a phone or a tablet than they will using a laptop or desktop. A desktop version of a website needs to be optimised for mobile use. As mobile devices tend to be more goal-orientated, this could mean streamlining the functionality of a mobile site compared to its desktop equivalent or adding intuitive iconography for shortcuts to functions.

3. Remember the importance of search

A mobile visitor is likely to have something specific they are looking for and a search option should be clear from the start. Add filters to allow users to quickly narrow down their search, add ‘smart’ search options that will yield relevant results from an incompletely typed phrase, or auto-complete suggestions to save time inputting words.

4. Add social login

Having to register to every new site you visit or app you use quickly gets tiring. Allowing visitors to sign up using an existing Facebook, Twitter or Google account is quick and convenient — and allows some great data capture for your marketing department.

5. Consider gamification

Mobile users tend to be short of time and can be impatient when faced with time-consuming tasks. Giving them a sense of competition and achievement can make even the mundane more exciting. Adding badges, points, or ‘levelling up’ users for completing forms, checking in, leaving comments, posting reviews or sharing content can help with user retention and gathering customer metrics.

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