A good mobile application is not only about its useful features and income that it brings. How often have you removed from your smartphone a program that seemed to be necessary for you, because you were tired of “poking around” in its interface in order to complete your task? To prevent this from happening to your work, you need to carefully analyze the user experience (often abbreviated as UX – User Experience) – and transform it into a competent interface (UI – User Interface).
Before you create an application, you need to understand who will use it.
After all, there are no products for everyone. Even if we take the simplest product – a book – it turns out that the potential consumers of books are not all people on the planet. Most likely, these are people with certain hobbies, income levels and lifestyles. The rest will be those who prefer newspapers or audiobooks, or simply don’t like to read, and so on.
Therefore, when designing a mobile application, you need to take care of how it meets the expectations of the target audience (TA).
To calculate your target audience, you need to answer five questions, also known as Mark Sherrington’s 5W.
What? (What?) – a product or service that you offer to users;
Who? (Who?) – the type of consumer according to such characteristics as gender, age, place of residence, social status;
Why? (Why?) – what problem will your product or service solve and why should the user be interested in it?
When? (When?) – at what time will the user make a purchase? It can be a season, holidays, time of day.
Where? (Where?) – where will the purchase take place – in an offline store, in an application, on a website?
However, the answers to these questions do not give a complete picture of the potential user of the application. Highlight important unique characteristics that future users of your app will have. Do they love dogs? Interested in rare books? Listening to vinyl records?
You can go further from this. Divide the target audience into segments that can be described by a combination of criteria – for example, for an online cinema application, these could be active users of social networks who are fond of movies, are constantly on the move and like to watch videos on their way to work and home. Having singled out several such segments, you can proceed to “building muscle on the bone” – creating a persona.
The persona method, developed by Alan Cooper, allows you to focus on a specific user of the product, and not the faceless average mass. With it, you can create a detailed model of user interaction with the application and personalize it.
An important advantage of this method is the stimulation of empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings, motivations of other people, which is necessary in order to develop a good interface. Empathy allows you to understand not only the user’s instant frustration, but also their capabilities, goals, hopes, fears, etc. With its help, we can create solutions that not only meet the needs of users, but also improve their lives by solving their problems and pains.
It’s hard to feel empathy for a faceless mass. A persona, on the other hand, makes us think of a potential user as a person we know.
The person has:
Drive or motive is what she wants;
Source of drive – why she wants it;
Context of use – how does the person want to fulfill their desires?
The context of the person – allows you to present it as a real person.
You can give a person a name, a background, a photo, figure out what is important to her, what she is afraid of, what benefits she wants to get from the application, how and for what she wants to use it. And in order to bring a person closer to yourself, think about what she can dream about, what to love, what annoys her – and so on.
By defining the target audience, dividing it into segments and selecting persons from these segments, you can take into account the needs of different user groups and create an application that will benefit many.
UX Design Principles
UX – user experience – user experience. Thus, UX design is about creating an interface that is clear, predictable, and user-friendly. Over the years, designers, developers, and psychologists have studied human interaction and behavior, and based on the data they have developed the principles of UX design, which are now guided by the creators of mobile applications.
There are five main principles.
The more important the design element, the larger it is.
No need to overload the interface with different sizes, three – large, medium and small – will be enough. This way you can create a visual hierarchy on the page.
The principle of visual hierarchy
It is important to direct the user’s eye to the elements in order of their importance.
This principle can be implemented by the arrangement of elements, their colors, shades or sizes. Hierarchy allows the user to quickly find important elements on the page – and achieve their goal faster.
So, for a clear visual hierarchy, you can use 2-3 fonts to point out the most important content, or highlight important elements with bright colors, and subdued less important ones.
One area of the screen does not distract the user’s attention from another.
If you draw an imaginary axis in the center of the screen, the number of elements on both sides of the screen will be uniform.
Balance can be symmetrical (calm, static), asymmetric (dynamic) or circular (when all elements come from the central point of the composition and draw attention to it).
Principle of contrast
Element contrast allows the user to understand that different elements on the screen perform different functions.
Most often, this principle is applied to colors or sizes: for example, in applications on iOS, the “Continue” button will be gray or blue, and the “Cancel” button will be red.
In some cases, the contrast between background and text is used. This option does not always play into the hands of designers: if the contrast between these elements is too weak, then the content will become less accessible to consumers.
The organized whole is perceived as greater than the sum of its parts.
This is a whole group of principles, which includes:
Common Destiny (also known as Common Behavior or Destiny).
Humans simplify and organize complex images made up of many elements. By grouping seemingly separate objects, we see a full-fledged figure.
One of the striking principles of the work of Gestalt principles is such an art movement as cubism. For example, in the works of Pablo Picasso, portraits of people are made up of many geometric shapes. However, we will begin to perceive the picture as “cubes” only if we begin to peer and divide it into components.