Let’s face it. Users are choosy. More than 50% of them uninstall an application right after the first launch. The next 20% of them delete it before the end of the day. Even successful apps, such as shopping list app Listonic, are faced with challenges such as these.
But it’s hardly surprising. With millions of apps to choose from, users are simply overwhelmed, and often, hard to impress. Most of them paw over apps like t-shirts in a clothing store. Even if you do sell a t-shirt to a customer, it’s another thing to make them wear it.
Every application builds a relationship with the user, and usability is a factor that bonds or breaks this relationship. Users notoriously delete applications that fail to make a good first impression. This is why excellent usability is a must from the very beginning of the user experience, and these 5 ways to improve usability of your app will help users download and not uninstall your app.
1. Simplicity is key
Since users’ eyes have so much to process nowadays in all aspects of life, they intuitively gravitate towards simpler shapes. This is why the rule “the simpler, the better” applies in mobile design. Your application is not Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner: a feast of umpteen options.
So, get rid of all unnecessary icons and options from the main screen and don’t be afraid to enlarge those that are left.
Users also tend to move their fingers clumsily. Therefore, small icons and texts will discourage them from using your application as they’ll keep pressing things that they don’t intend to. This will also help the growing number of senior users using apps to navigate your app better. So, go big or go home.
2. Improve your app’s navigation
Patience is not the strength of most users. If they have trouble switching between screens, you’ll be in trouble. The users should not have to guess which gesture results in what action. and they won’t continue to use your app if they’re confused.
Remember that your application is not the first one they use. If you adjust your app to match the user’s previous experiences, you’ll do yourself a favor.
3. Don’t underestimate the importance of a search function
Note that users often turn to the search feature when they can’t find what they’re looking for. Some successful apps even use it as a primary source of navigation!
So, a well-designed and quick-to-use search feature is priceless when faced with a demanding user. A good idea is to improve the auto-complete engine to speed up and facilitate queries. Pay attention to the directness of queries. Remember, simplicity is key. Users will want straight answers about main features rather than intriguing app nuances.
4. Notifications. Notifications. Notifications.
You will significantly boost the usability of your application if you use notifications properly. But, remember that they can be a double-edged sword. They have as much potential to drive users away as to make them use the app again.
Sending a large number of notifications will do more harm than good. Nobody wants to receive spam. Consider what type of information will convince the user that following a notification has a tangible benefit.
5. Get feedback
As mentioned earlier, every app builds a relationship with its users. Your primary task should be to always make sure that the user enjoys using your application.
So why not ask them?
Building in effective user feedback means you can see what is working well. More importantly, it can help you find out what you really need to change.
Like with everything else, keep the design of the feedback structure simple and intuitive as the design. Users don’t like filling in long forms or providing complex pieces of information. It also needs to strike the right balance of encouraging them to engage and not drive them away, like with notifications.
It’s also important to keep asking and keep developing. Nothing is perfect, and neither is your app. Your users’ needs and approaches might change over time too, so you’ll need to accommodate these in order to stop them from downloading a different app.
The truth is that your application needs to know the users better than they do. It’s a demanding task, but doable. If you consider these five ways about how to increase the usability of your application, it will certainly do you good.