Understanding usability will help you create a stronger app for your target market, which is essential for growing your business. The word “usability” refers to how easy an app is to use. High-usability apps have more users who are more willing to share the app with others, thereby helping you grow your customer base. Here are six ways to increase your mobile app’s usability.
Your app may have multiple possible functions. For example, a realtor’s app might include options for those looking for homes to buy or apartments to rent, as well as options for those looking to sell a home. If the app opens with a search form for houses for sale, this brings usability down for apartment-seekers and home-sellers. A stronger option is to have an opening screen with three tiles, one for each goal (buy, rent and sell) so that users can select their own objective. Goal funneling helps streamline the users’ app experience.
Understanding the app users’ overall goal and anticipating their needs helps increase usability. For example, in the United States it’s customary to tip people in the service industry, such as wait staff, porters and taxi drivers. So, for example, people who use a ride share app may want to tip their driver. This should be an integrated part of the app, not some separate process that takes the users to a third-party site (away from the app) or forces them to carry cash to tip their driver.
As much as possible, give consumers the ability to opt in or out of a particular function. If users don’t want to leave a tip, there should be an option for them not to. If users don’t want to write a comment after leaving a rating, they shouldn’t have to. Forcing users to respond, even if it’s just for their opinion, can cause frustration.
If your users can’t read what’s on their screen, they can’t use your app. Making sure that all the text in your app is readable means watching out for the following:
Light text colors that could be difficult to see against a light background
Text that’s too large or too small (between 12 and 16 points is the sweet spot)
Lack of clarity (if you don’t have any strong writers on your team, hire one)
Lack of spacing (don’t squeeze text together, especially on a small field like a smartphone screen)
Import and Save Options
Usability also includes speed and convenience. Having to enter credit card, address, email and other information you may need for the app is tiresome for users. Always be sure to offer users the option to save this data in the app so that they don’t have to enter it manually again.
Let the App Do the Work
If there is an email that needs to be sent, a phone number that needs to be saved, or a location that needs to be navigated to, structure your app to be able to do these simple tasks automatically by working with the user’s phone. This streamlining of your app increases its usability, because there are fewer things that the user has to do manually. Users then see your app as a time-saver, which makes them want to use it more often.
If your app has all of these characteristics, you’re probably dealing with a strong piece of software. If, however, you see some areas for improvement, get to work strengthening your app so that you attract loyal users.
Simon has worked in the software industry for over 20 years; intent on always producing work of the highest standard and creating software products that genuinely makes things better for people. Simon has previously held positions ranging from Developer, Technical Consultant, Head of Development through to CTO and more recently founder and CEO of several high profile technology companies.