design Archives | Mood Up team - software house
Side by side comparison of mobile apps with good and bad UX design

A Bad UX Can Kill Your App. What Can You Do to Avoid It?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

“If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.”

Dr Ralf Speth- CEO of Jaguar

A good User Experience (UX) is vital towards the success of any mobile app and we cannot stress this enough. The UX should be at the top, centre and bottom of any mobile app development as those who use it should have an experience unlike any other to continue using it. Any experience less than stellar can have your hard earned users getting frustrated, closing your app and uninstalling it. You might even get a negative review on the App Store or Play Store if the said customer is in a particularly bad mood.

A good mobile app UX should have the end user being able to navigate inside your product in an intuitive manner, without much hesitation or instructions. This sense of mastery over the app in the first interactions is an experience many designers should aspire to provide as failure to do so can have the user feeling anxious and frustrated.

A bad UX is usually due to a combination of many reasons. Key amongst them are:

1. Lack of strategy in UX design  The UX of any mobile app should be created with the end user in mind. Such deliberate, user-centric UX design is only possible through research on the end users and their needs.

2. Client centric design – client feedback is important to the success of any app design. Such feedback, however, should not overpower common design principles recommended by the UX designers. It is a designers duty to push back against any counterproductive ideas from the clients and provide insight into why that is so.

3. Compromising on investing in design  creating great app UX designs take time and a sizable amount of investment. Cutbacks on these can have an impact on the design of your app and therefore its overall success.

4. Not conducting enough tests  design based on usability tests should and is fast becoming a norm due to their ability to get design feedback from the users themselves. Such exhaustive tests give power to the user and give the designer more insight into the expectations of their app design.

It is to guide the design thinking process that UX designers follow Nielsen’s Usability Heuristics. Key amongst them are:

1. Keeping the user updated  Every action should be correlated with an appropriate response. Users should be always informed about the current state on the screen, whether it be loading or experiencing connection difficulties. Such information about the status prevents frustration born out of waiting and guesswork.

2. Matching the app to set standards – Matching your app design to the standards the end user is familiar with and expects is important to how intuitive the app feels. The app designers should, therefore, pay a sizable amount of attention to ensuring users are able to navigate their way around the app with ease and accomplish their end goals in as little interactions as possible.

3. Aesthetic and minimalist design – User-centred app designs as you might have noticed from your use of the most famous apps today do not need to be complicated. It can, in fact, be very simplistic and help the end user achieve their goals speedily.

4. Giving the user control over the app – A good app UX is when the user has mastery over his actions within the app and has the ability to either interact or undo the said interaction. Such freedom to undo and/or redo gives control to the user and can go a long way towards the overall UX one experiences.

5. Cutting out the jargon Not every user is a software development engineer, which is why the language used inside errors, popups and larger group of texts should not be jargon. Remember, real-world users, react well to real-world interactions and natural language.

Kermit the frog meme on how apps with bad UX will not be popular

How to avoid the pitfalls of a bad UX?

Mobile app users today are spoilt for choice and will have no hesitation in moving towards your competitors whose app design is better than yours. This lack of loyalty will translate into a bad reputation that will impede the rebranding/remake of the app that led to the issue in the first place and taint the success of any future product. One must, therefore,

1. Know that bad UX designs do exist – Designers should always work with user expectations in mind and prioritize their basic needs. We at Mood Up like to conduct usability tests with a sample of the end users to ensure what we discovered through our market and user research matches the actual expectations. The goal is to make user-driven iterative changes whose success we can measure.

2. Take inspiration from top players – Visually pleasing designs might compensate for the lack of a user-friendly UX flow. This, however, will not last long if you are creating a global app in a saturated app marketplace where your competitors are looking to out-design you at every turn. Take inspiration from the top players and apps that are seeing high popularity to get an understanding of what makes their UI and UX design so successful.

3. Hop onto the shoes of the end user – User-centric UX designs need user input and that’s why we recommend creating users personas and scenarios. Such user personas help designers to get insight on their end users, their needs and ask the right questions. Another little trick you might want to try is creating a minimum viable product (MVP) and letting a sample of end-users use it before asking questions on expectations and improvements.

4. Sketch – Constant constructive iterations are the key to making a great product, as even the biggest brands made those along the way. Get the user involved in the design process with user tests and solve problems together.

5. Test, test, test – Place an emphasis on usability tests with a certain group of users. This will provide you with fresh insight into improvements and issues you might have missed due to your familiarity with the design.

Remember

Creating great UX designs isn’t easy. It, however, isn’t also rocket science and can be mastered if the designers pay attention to their end users and practice due diligence with tests. Such test driven design should be a cornerstone of any app development project and one we at Mood Up place a core focus on in every project we work on.

Lean UX Post 1

Should You Adopt Lean UX Principles?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

In a mobile-first world where clients require faster development cycles whilst adhering to the same high standards of quality, UX designers were in limbo.

It is to fit these requirements that the lean standards were introduced to design, prioritising regular UX interactions with real customers over excessive documentation. Such an approach to design we’ve found is more agile, increase collaboration and allows the design work to be done as efficiently as possible, so that the client receives the best possible product at the lowest possible cost.

Lean UX Cycle

Basics of the Lean UX

The primary function of Lean UX is to be as agile as possible, reducing the traditional UX documentation and long hours spent in design meetings. The team, therefore, focuses on regular interactions with real customers through UX interviews and early testing.

“Design only what you need. Deliver it quickly. Create enough customer contact to get meaningful feedback fast.”
Jeff Gothelf, Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience

Such an approach to design, increases collaboration, where everyone is considered equal with no place for gurus or ninjas. This approach, we’ve found brings different perspectives to the table and initiates the simultaneous processing of tasks within the different members of a team.

What’s not to love?!

The lean UX process

Detailed deliverables are not a significant part of Lean UX, as the core purpose is to improve the product here and now.

The traditional requirements in a design brief are therefore discarded in favour of “problem statements” which leads to a set of assumptions, that allows us to create hypothesis statements

General questions we ask to create assumptions include

  1. Who is your user?
  2. What is the purpose of the product?
  3. In which situations it is used?
  4. When is it used?
  5. What is the most important functionality?
  6. What is the challenge in delivering a product?

Hypothesis

A hypothesis contains three components: product purpose, its importance and the personas it is important to.

Hypothesis Statement

Such hypotheses are useful as it guides designers throughout the process of designing a product. Deviations in the MVP are easily discovered when ones work does not fit into the hypothesis produced.

MVP (Minimum Viable Product)

What is an MVP?

Lean UX is all about creating the MVP – a product with just enough features to give the end users a satisfying experience while providing feedback for future improvements. Such minimum viable products are the reason for Lean UX design to flourish.

The MVP is created from both brainstormed ideas and the hypotheses, in order to build a product that has a minimum of all the key components. The MVP is then used to gather user feedback to improve upon previous assumptions and the quality of the product.

MVP definition

Such an approach to MVPs brings down the cost of development, increase efficiency and user satisfaction.

How can one evaluate the success of UX design?

  1. Observation –  directly observe the actual usage of the product in order to understand user behaviour and possible problems.
  2. User surveys – a simple end-user questionnaire can provide fast feedback if user observation is not possible
  3. Usage analytics – building analytics right into the product helps validate initial use and provides application telemetry. This is an incredible way to be up to date with user feedback.
  4. A/B testing – Allows for the comparison of two versions of a product to evaluate and pick the most effective variant.

Conclusion

App design is a costly process, in terms of both time and money, which why lean design can be beneficial for most clients. Such an approach will ensure an efficient design for your app as it can integrate with the agile framework of software development, which we use at Mood Up.

Got an idea that we can help build? Tell us more about it here.

Powerful Designers Developers Mix

Designers + Developers = Better Products

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Today’s modern product development life cycle requires designers and developers to communicate more and collaborate, a far cry from a time when they worked in their own silos and converged only at hour-long meetings.

Such an approach to work allows for a smoother and faster development cycle, as expected of all projects that function on the Agle methodology. It also allows for

#1 Instant problem solving

Problems in a software development project need to be resolved fast, as it can interfere with the velocity and delivery of the expected product at the end of a sprint. That’s why we at Mood Up pair designers and developers, as it allows for faster feedback and brainstorming solutions.

 

#2 No more backtracking

Hiccups are part and parcel of any software development project as we cannot anticipate every issue that will pop up. We could, however, reduce the probability of such issues by pairing designers and developers, who will work simultaneously.

Such pair programming allows each other to keep track of the velocity of the project, and deliver required components on time and budget as one cannot work without the other.

 

#3 Budget-friendly project

Contrary to popular beliefs, software houses do their best to produce high-quality products at the lowest possible cost for clients.

That’s why our clients love our efficient approach to development that is only possible by uniting designers and developers.

Great product with lower billable hours = happy client

 

#4 Speed up the process

As we keep reiterating, communication is essential to our velocity in product development. Faster communication help us solve problems as they arise, reduce billable hours to our clients and get back to what we do best- code.

That’s why we recommend our approach of mixing designers and developers together to all software houses.

Remember, dynamic products require dynamic solutions.

Here is what our lead designer, Dawid had to say on this

“Communication is the key for faster development. I’ve found it incredibly useful to have developers in the same room we do our designs in. It helps us to discuss progress, what needs to be done and how we can improve on current builds so that the client gets the best product possible. Such a collaborative approach allows us to accomplish a significant amount of high-quality work in short timeframes.”

We’d love to hear your opinion about our approach to pairing designers and developers together. Is it one you would try for your project?