Mobile apps have turned out to be one of the most innovative technological advancements of our time. As the saying goes, there is an app for everything. Today, it is difficult to imagine what our lives would be without apps, as they have touched and influenced almost every aspect of our lives.
That being said, there are good apps and bad apps. Good apps add value to our lives. Good apps are the reason why we cannot live without apps today. On the other hand, bad apps make our lives harder. They annoy us and frustrate us. This disparity always boils down to one thing: design. Mobile app design and development, together with UX design, are the main reasons why apps are categorized as good or bad. So what makes a good app? Let’s take a look at all the awesome features of a good app.
Planning app development with good functionality is the one that will stay installed. If your app does not have the features a user is looking for, it is of no use to them and will promptly get uninstalled. How can you tell if your app is functional and whether the features work right? A pretty design is no longer enough. Here are a few tips:
- Menu Options: They should be easy to find and navigate through. Essential options like Help and About need to be easily accessible.
- Keys: Scrolling, text selection, back and reload buttons should be consistent. How does your app behave with touch screens? How about with mobile devices that have keyboards?
- Screen Size: Your app should take screen sizes into account. Test your mobile app across different screen sizes for issues like left-right scrolling, image sizes, and orientation.
- Login and Sign-up: Can users locate these at a glance? Do I have to go to your footer to access the login page? Make your app as simple as possible to use.
- Interruptions: How will your app behave when interrupted by an incoming call or SMS? How does it perform with a full battery versus and low battery?
- Data Handling: Does your app save and store information of the mobile device? Can it access this stored information properly? Games, in particular, can get really frustrating if you lose all your saved progress every time you start the app. Thoroughly test for data handling to avoid these issues.
- Error Messages: Compile a list of error messages that are clear to you and your users. The error message should also be actionable.
- Operating System: You need to test how your app performs across platforms, or, if you are designing for a particular platform, you should thoroughly test the app performance on that platform. What is the relative performance of the app across different devices?
- Device specific bugs: Every device is different. How do you determine that a bug is device specific? Well, for instance, say you find a broken link on one device. You need to try and reproduce it on your desktop. If everything works fine on the desktop, then it is device specific. If not, it is a design flaw that you need to fix.
- Normal use test: When testing your application’s battery consumption, you need to install it on a fully charged phone. Use the app exclusively for about 6 hours, measuring the battery reading every half hour. How quickly does your app drain the battery?
Localization means making your product accessible to users in all regional markets. Localization
is important if you want to have an edge over your competitors. If done successfully, localization can tie your product with cultures and emotions, making your product stand out even more. Good localization distinguishes good apps and bad apps.
Another main aspect of good mobile apps is user engagement. Your app should be fun, enjoyable to use, and above all, add value to the lives of your users. An app that has good user engagement need not necessarily make the user spend too much time on it. What is important is that the user garners value or information from it. For instance, a good Dictionary app may only be used for a few seconds each time, but, depending on the user, it may be an indispensable app.
It is easy to make a good app today, as long as you get the funding first. All you have to do is put yourself in the shoes of your user and they will appreciate the forethought you had in designing for them. Remember to conduct ongoing user testing, ask for feedback and read reviews. Simplify the app, use clear fonts and be consistent in user interface design. Do this and you will have cracked the code to building the perfect user-friendly app.
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