Appearances and experiences, though sometimes deceptive, matter
There are a few factors that help you make up your mind about a new restaurant you have just visited. You can easily divide those factors into two groups: one would be what you see and the other – what you experience. An interesting thing to remember is that they are not equally important, as the design, along with the table setting and the way food is served, may mean nothing when compared with what the food tastes like and how lovely the waiters are. It works the same way when it comes to designing web-based apps.
If you still think that designing a website is just developing a website, this post is here to help you do your homework. The term designer is no longer enough, and now User Interface designer and User Experience designer are two completely different occupations. The first one takes care of what you see and the other – what you experience. As you may realise, the two need to cooperate in designing a perfect website or application.
Why cross-platform design
Nowadays, it is no longer possible to predict what kind of platforms users choose to access your website or app from. With a growing number of smartphones, smart TVs and many more smart devices, a need for innovative multi-platform design is essential, especially if you care about how many users access your app. Because of different device sizes, designing only one solution will not do the job. Can you imagine accessing a desktop-only app from your mobile or mobile-only website from your smart TV?
Cross-platform design is more challenging, as it not only requires making an app accessible; it is all about making it just as useful. There are several factors you need to take care of when designing cross-platform applications, especially if you want UX and UI to cooperate perfectly.
- Understand your user
To understand your users and why they access your app, you need to think from their perspective, consider your initial thoughts when you started the business. That way, you will understand what your users need and expect, in addition to what they feel when they use your app. Unfortunately, relying on your gut instinct is not enough; you need to run some research, such as understanding target demographic audiences. By analysing the data, you will be able to put yourself in your users’ shoes.
- Think of the size
According to a study run by Google, the time we actively spend online is determined by the size of a device we use. An average interaction time on desktop and laptop PCs was 43 minutes, but the number drops to 17 minutes on a smartphone. Thus, it is easier to lose customers because the app is not well adjusted to various devices. The size, however, is not the only thing that matters. It is crucial to redesign your app so that the font, the body and all the images correspond to the relevant device.
- Set project goals
There is no reason to be ashamed if your main goal is to sell the product and thus make money. To do so, however, the product must work. Setting project goals will improve the process of creating an app itself, but it will also make the app better.
- Make sure everyone in your team knows who will use the app and what for
Whether it is meant to be used by the general public or by staff exclusively, whether it is supposed to drive sales or provide information, all these things have to be precise.
No matter how good your app is, ignoring the need for cross-platform designing will, sadly, destroy it. The best solution is to check how it works on every device and system there is. Another thing you cannot forget about is the fact that more and more tools are created every single day. Who knows what will be next, a smart fridge perhaps?