Few thoughts about mobile UX
DISCLAMER: I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT UX, THAT’S WHY YOU SHOULD READ THIS
What is the user experience
Some say that UX is how you use the application, or better how a drunk user who can’t use a phone use your application.
For me UX is the essential part of the application, from the “view” to the actual core.
If you’re doing a mobile app the first things need to think about it are:
- The mobile user has short interaction with their phones, usually under a minute.
- In that short interaction usually the user do more stuff than in the desktop application
- The battery, cellular signal, ram, disk, screen are awful
PUSH vs PULL — The first choice
As a web developer we are in the mindset of: the user searches for something and we give the result. This is the pull approach, we ask for something on stackoverflow or on facebook and we check for data.
The only good approach I can see is in the TripAdvisor app, the question that he ask and the information that you need to give him are clear and not confusing, the icons are really powerful
The push approach is something different, the application don’t wait that you are asking to them something, the app suggest something, here are some examples.
This is Foodora, one of my favorite example of app, this app should be used just in certain hours when restaurants can deliver the food.
Obviously if you are, like me in this moment, using the app when you shouldn’t you have some kind of advertisement of the restaurants.
This is without a tap, you enter the app and it suggest you something to eat, is not a searching experience, it’s more like a friend who want to suggest you something.
Another app that you have to love is the Medium app, if you’re just reading and not writing stuff the essential part is that you need to provide to the user fresh stories and the stories that are interesting to your user.
You can’t just put a search bar in that situation like you can put it on the TripAdvisor app, the user doesn’t want to search for stuff, wants to kill some time reading for stuff and learn new stuff.
Interaction — don’t confuse your users
I see two major problem with this matter.
The first problem, more pressing to me is the following:
- WEB IS DIFFERENT FROM AN APP
- IOS IS DIFFERENT FROM ANDROID
If you’re doing a web page and the user expect to see a webpage has a mindset that drags him to certain pattern that he is used to follow, for example the whole concept of a main page and the menu navigation provided by the browser.
If you’re doing an iOS app you should follow the design pattern provided by Apple and that are common for the application that runs on iPhones and iPads. Honestly I don’t have an iPhone so I can’t tell you what they are, working shoulder to shoulder with iOS developer I know that you need to provide a more explicit navigation system and that menus are in the bottom instead of in the top.
If you’re doing an Android app you should follow the trends from the material design, if you don’t like it you can do some modification (I don’t really agree on that but, it’s you choice).
Remember that there are some meanings attached to fragments of UI, here are a couples and this leads to the second problem:
- Floating Action Button is a creation action, if you click something needs to happen and change something else. You can follow the Wunderlist approach on this, or the Trello one.
- Swipe to remove (from right to left in a list) should delete the item and this action should actually ask for confirmation, follow the Gmail approach, avoid the Asana approach (srsly guys I can’t set a task to done because i tried to scroll, I needed to uninstall your app and just use it from the browser)
- Cards are atomic pieces of information, in a card you should only put the essential to that argument, if you tap you show the whole thing, kudos to the Foodora app.
Back to Disneyland
Everything Scott Rogers learned about Level Design, he learned from Disneyland. Everything I know about UX I learned from Scott Rogers.
I really do wish that you see the video and possibly read his book Level Up because thinking about a journey in a real place, in a video-game and in an app are things totally different but share the same thoughts about
- A journey that your user need to take in your product
- Your user needs to be “redirected” to what you want them to see
- Power user needs shortcuts
- You have strange things that changes your creativity and your creativity like trains, limited amount of data in the user’s plan or something else
Use your app, see what information you’re accessing more frequently, share the app with non technical friends or family members and see what your users see much more frequently or what are the information that needs to be accessed more rapidly in case of necessity.
Kudos for you Airberlin and your recent update where you put my flight tickets in the bloody home page and I can do the check in in basically one tap, you should follow their example.
Avoid wizard style apps, or at least try to guess something from sensors on your phone, try to measure the amount of time to go from point A to point B and try to shorten it or use shortcuts.
But most importantly if you read until the end
Please do flame in comments and write why I’m totally wrong so we can all learn from this.