4 Essential Principles for Building User-Friendly Apps
Hazel Pan

One of the most interesting online shopping statistics is that mobile shoppers are responsible for almost 73% of total eCommerce sales. And that’s a figure that can be just as scary as it is exciting.

Those that have already made the jump into a mobile-first online marketing world can be happy about the opportunities that this can offer. But companies that are still only taking careful steps towards becoming more mobile-centric are probably already feeling the challenges that this can bring.

Still, the good news that even companies without any mobile presence aren’t doomed. In fact, the advances in technology mean that you can go from completely ignoring your mobile audience to becoming a leader in your niche relatively quickly.

By creating an app that your customers can use, you can instantly gain a significant advantage over the competition that doesn’t have it, and also create a new marketing tool that will allow you to engage your audience on their own devices.

With that in mind, let’s look at some of the most important considerations when building user-friendly apps that your audience will love.

Understand Your Customers

As mentioned before, creating an app today is easier than ever. In fact, you can do it without any coding skills or previous experience.

Using a leading app maker, you can create beautiful and fully-customizable apps that include unique functionality, branding elements, and use the best app-creating practices available today.

However, even though the technical aspects of app development have become much more accessible, you still need to understand which choices are the most likely to resonate with your audience.

But what does that mean?

Well, imagine two different audiences: one for a B2B marketing product, and another for an apparel eCommerce store.
Both of these audiences could benefit from having an app to access the services and products, but the app itself would look drastically different.

This same logic can apply, even to a smaller extent, in almost any situation. Even in terms of apps for eCommerce, there’s a wide variety of different functions and features you could focus on based on what you think is most important.

Unfortunately, figuring out the answers to these questions isn’t always going to be straightforward.

The only way to know for sure is to talk to your customers, roll out an early version of the app, and collect feedback until you start gaining a better understanding of what an app really needs to have, and why.

Avoid Distractions

Distractions are a marketer’s worst nightmare. Any time a prospect or a customer gets distracted by something other than the action you want them to take, that’s costing you money and making your marketing efforts more expensive.

And when it comes to mobile devices, distractions can be just as devastating. If not more.

Because of the technology available today, you can insert dozens or even hundreds of different features in your app. Many of them can seem to serve a logical purpose and to enhance the experience of your users. At least in theory.

In reality, however, every distraction your app users will have to overcome will lower your app’s effectiveness.

Instead of getting the most out of your services or buying more products, people will get bogged down by the available options and end up closing the app in frustration.

The good news is that the solution to this is relatively simple.

When developing your app, start with the ultimate goal that you want to achieve with it. If you want to encourage people to shop through the app, make every feature and function in the app a part of that process.

Whenever someone enters your app, they should immediately know the steps they need to take to buy from you and not have to worry about complicated processes or confusing navigation.

These users have already shown enough interest to download your app. Don’t waste that good faith on useless features. Instead, provide users with the most important feature they are looking for, and make it as useful and convenient as it can possibly be.

Make the Buttons Easy to Click

Buttons may not be the first thing you think of when designing mobile apps. In fact, they might not even cross your mind.

But the truth is, button size in apps has many rules you must follow, all of which play a critical role in how happy your users are going to be.

If you might be forgiven for breaking a few of those rules, make sure to at least meticulously test how your app’s buttons look and function on different devices and screen sizes.

You might think that your buttons are fine, but if your users are struggling to click them on an iPhone or a Samsung device, you will not only lose a user but might also damage your reputation in the process.

So, how should you approach button design for apps?

Well, the obvious step is to make the buttons big enough. 42-72 pixels seems to be a popular estimate, which should allow even people with stubbier fingers to navigate your app easily.

But an equally important part of the equation is spacing the buttons from each other so that they’re not bunched up in one place. Even if they’re big enough, you still need to leave space so that people don’t end up repeatedly clicking the button next to the one they wanted.

Focus on Simplicity

The final piece of an effective and user-friendly app is simplicity. We already discussed making the app intuitive and straightforward, which can be achieved by removing unnecessary or non-essential features.

But at the end of the day, you want your users to convert or at least perform the action you want them to take. And even if they are willing to do it, they might get sidetracked if they have to jump through multiple hoops to make that happen.
As an online business, you should value the time of your customers and make it easy to buy from you.

In an app, that means following the best form design practices, as well as making the checkout as simple as possible.

Instead of having people fill out many fields in a form, try to minimize the amount of information that’s required. Think about what’s more valuable to you - an additional piece of information you can work with or a significant difference in the number of people that end up completing the signup?

The same goes for checkout. Consider adding autocomplete functionality whenever possible and offer the possibility to save the data users are inputting so that the next time they buy, it’s as simple as clicking a button.

Final Words

App design will be one of the hottest trends in most online industries around the world. And the best news is that even companies without experience in app design can create beautiful apps that match their audience’s expectations.
By following the steps listed above, you can ensure that your app will not only look good but will also serve its purpose and will be actually used by your target audience.