What do you think, which mobile app would users prefer better: the one with limited features but with a smart UX design, or a highly-advanced application but with complicated and inconvenient UX. The right answer is the first! The thing is that people are always in a hurry today, and they can quickly get annoyed with an app if it’s hard to use. They just don’t have time to get used to complicated apps, so it’s easier for them find something more convenient.
That’s why a smart UX design is a vital part of any successful project. However, creation of a quality mobile app design is not that simple. It requires knowledge of some special techniques. In this article, I’ll tell you about six best UX design techniques that every designer should know.
No matter what product you’re working on, you should create a design orienting on a target audience. However, it’s not enough just to collect the information about your potential users, you need to understand how they would react on one or another design. This is where personas come in handy.
Personas are virtual characters that are created on the basis of all the information about target customers. They help identify the most common needs and expectations of your users.
Personas are usually built according to next points:
- user’s origins;
- personal qualities;
- user’s technical skills;
- user’s expectations about app’s usage;
- the most convenient platforms and devices for users.
Here is an example of a typical persona:
What should you know about creating personas?
You need only 2 or 3 personas.
There is no need to create personas for every potential user. It’s more than enough to make only 3 or even 2 most common characters. To make your choice, you need to think which users are more like to use your app, and which ones are the most difficult to please.
Always ensure a credibility of your personas.
It’s always a good idea to make sure you’re making everything right. So, if you don’t have a clear picture of a person you are trying to imitate, you need to ask someone who is familiar with your potential users.
Eliminate all unnecessary details
Personas don’t need to be the exact copy of a user, so there’s no need to include all their characteristics. Concentrate only on those that are related to your app.
User behavior description
Next technique describes distinct cases of users’ interaction with the app. It’s usually made in three steps: a user story, a scenario, and a storyboard. They are used to determine a user’s behavior patterns to make better mobile app design.
To make it clear, let’s look at the example, based on our persona “Alison”:
User story: Alison wants to order a teddy bear for her daughter.
- Alison’s finally found time to order a present for her daughter.
- Alison takes her laptop, starts the app for online shopping.
- She perfectly knows what she needs, so she chooses Browse by category (Kids products->Toys etc).
- She finds a bear she needed, and makes her order by pushing buttons “Add to the shopping cart“-> “Buy”-> “Confirm the order”:
After the scenario is ready, it needs to be visualized on storyboard:
Professional designers never start their work with designing programs. First of all, to visualize an idea, they create manual sketches. But the visualization needs its explanation. That’s why designers often make written descriptions. This technique helps organize the information about a project.
To write down all the essential information and not to miss anything a designer should answer specific questions like: “Who is your target user?” or “How to convey the idea to users?”
I think everyone who works in a field where you need to go in a deep thinking and generate different ideas has already faced the technique of mind-mapping. It is very useful if you need to organize some information as a visual scheme. As for designers, it comes in handy when they need to gather all the ideas about future UX design in one place and create a scheme. With a help of the scheme, you can follow if your ideas go in the right direction.
Here is an example of a mind-map:
I’ve already mentioned a sketching step above, and wireframing is exactly the first sketch of a product, where you show the placement of the elements of your design. In other words, you make a blueprint with static pictures that demonstrate complete layout of your future product.
The next stage after wireframing is a paper prototyping. While wireframing is made like an outline for you, a paper prototyping is more advanced and can be used to demonstrate to your customer how the future product will look and function, even without special programming knowledge.
When you are in the final stages of creating your project, it’s important for you to make sure that you did everything right. The best way to check it, of course, will be user testing. You just need to give some real users try your product and then ask what they think of it.
There are two types of the testing: moderated and unmoderated.
The first is when you watch and coordinate users’ actions, like asking them to click specific buttons or try out some feature.
And unmoderated testing works the other way. You just give users some test cases, and after that, you don’t interfere in the process.
Do I need to use all these techniques?
Well, the answer is simple. It’s all up to you. My aim was to show you these techniques, but it’s only your decision which one to choose. You need to understand that clients will never ask you which techniques you used to create the project.You should find the most convenient and effective methods for you that will help you make outstanding products.
Alina Arkhipova is a Copywriter at Cleveroad, a Web and Mobile development company. We work with startups as well as with big corporations, helping them to create competitive and winning products.