The user interface design of a mobile website or app should focus first on the user experience (UX). Not only because ease-of-use keeps visitors on your site longer, but because the nature of mobile devices means that people use them while they’re on the go. That means regular interruptions. A mobile UX design that emphasises speed and simplicity, however, increases the odds that the consumer will be able to complete a CTA or other transaction process before having to switch his attention elsewhere. Here are five simple mobile design tips that will help maximise the user experience and help increase conversion rates.
Start with the consumer
The first rule of user interface design is the same as it is for public speaking – know your audience. In the case of mobile users, not only is the demographic that makes up the businesses customer base important but so is knowing how they interact with the site. For example, if customers typically enter a site with a mind toward completing a quick task or locating specific information then the interface design will look a little different than if a business were catering to browsers who log on for more casual pursuits.
Regardless of intent when they log onto a mobile website or app, users should have a stress-free experience. Mobile users don’t have much time to complete online transactions, so utilising a task-based model is ideal. Identify and highlight the critical functions needed for the customer to complete his task, streamline them as much as possible, and get rid of the rest. This sort of intuitive style of design will help make the preferred action obvious and usher the user through to completion.
Similar to task-based design is the idea of the 80/20 rule, first forwarded by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, and eventually becoming known as The Pareto Principle. To put a modern spin on the Pareto Principle and apply it to web design, only about 20% of an app’s functionality will be utilised by 80% of its users.
So, before committing to a design strategy, use analytics to determine which features and areas of the site visitors are using most. By tracking that data, you will be able to narrow down which features are most popular and focus on making sure that the most commonly used 20% or so are as seamless to use as possible. In the same way that task-based design makes tasks easier to complete, the 80/20 rule makes it simpler for users to access the areas of an app or site that are used most.
Screen space on a mobile device is obviously a lot more limited than it is on a desktop computer. So, images and other tricks are often used in an effort to maximise the little space that is available. It is a good idea because icons and other interface elements can work to keep the user interface design simple by replacing space-cluttering words with actionable symbols. However, choose those icons carefully, ensuring that they will make sense to the end-user. Now is not the time to be too creative. As an easy example, if the icon will lead to a contact page, make it an envelope. Mobile users won’t take the time to try to guess what to do. Instead, they’ll get frustrated and leave your site.
Ease them into it
When the user will have multiple steps to complete, break down the steps and ease him into the process. For example, no one enjoys completing complex, burdensome forms, but when the form is broken down into defined, numbered steps it makes it easier for the user to complete. The easier the form or task is to complete, the more likely it is that the user will finish it.
These tips are given with the goal of enhancing the user experience by making it as useful, efficient and engaging as possible. Focusing resources on the user interface design with an eye toward making the UX as smooth as possible is critical to any business online success. The more user-friendly a mobile site or app is the longer the user will remain engaged, and the better the odds that the user will convert into a paying customer.