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It’s important to make mobile apps as usable as possible. With well over 775,000 apps available, an app that isn’t easy to use will be quickly discarded. The positive side to having so many Apps around is that we now know how to optimize for mobile and build an app as usable as possible.
What are the positive side effects of having a usable app that people love? Better ratings and reviews, more downloads, increase in revenue, and proof that your app is a valuable tool or downright enjoyable product. Plus, we all want everybody to love using our apps.
Here are 5 usability tips that will make your mobile customers fall in love with your app:
1. A mobile optimized design
Sounds silly to have a mobile app that isn’t optimized for mobile right? Well, I see it way too often so here are some things to keep in mind to create an app truly optimized for the mobile experience.
Limit the number of input forms and required information for your customers. Keyboard interfaces on mobile devices aren’t ideal for entering information so try to stay away from this as much as possible. If you need your customers to enter data make it easy and simple. Using large input fields and a picker will make it easier for customers to enter information.
Produce large buttons that are easier to tap. Nothing is more frustrating than accidentally tapping the wrong button.
With hundreds of different Android devices and the number of iOS devices and operating systems increasing, it is important to test your app to ensure quality design over a large spectrum of devices. Many screen sizes and resolutions are different – what may look slick on one device may look cramped on another. In general, less is more on mobile so design with that in mind (but don’t make it look empty).
It is annoying for customers to have to tap the back button repeatedly to return to the home page, or any other page for that matter. Include a menu bar that is accessible from anywhere in the app that allows customers to quickly navigate to any feature of the app within two taps.
Mobile apps have unique abilities that should be harnessed as customers come to expect these kinds of features to be present. The most important is being able to share your location. It’s incredible to tap a button and have all the closest restaurants, car washes, stores, or anything else you are searching for pop up around you. This feature will drive customers back to your app repeatedly. Mobile is all about being simple and easy and having an app that knows where you are saves the customer time and effort.
E.g. Qthru, the app that lets you skip grocery checkout lines by scanning your items and paying through your phone, shows you everywhere nearby where the service is available.
3. Fast loading features
If your app takes more than 5 seconds to load any one of its features then kiss the majority of your customer base good-bye. If there is no way to avoid a longer than 5 second wait time insert a loading screen so at least the customer understands what is going on. You can design the loading page to have tips, advice, jokes, or anything else that will help keep the customer engaged while waiting.
Poor performance clearly lets the customer know that the app is unusable. 38% of customers will delete an app immediately in cases where a mobile app freezes or takes longer than 30 seconds. Spend time optimizing your mobile app to run as fast as possible, and your customers will be delighted with how fast they can complete tasks with your app.
4. Social Capabilities
Customers love to share their experiences with their friends, family and colleagues. Having social capabilities such as the ability to login via Facebook, or quickly share with friends via Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook is a highly sought after feature. The Facebook login is a great way to create an account for a customer without making them fill out a form. Additionally, being logged in via Facebook has shown an increase for engagement and in-app purchasing.
Would you like a little bit (just a little) of free marketing for your app? That’s what social capabilities give your app. Allowing customers to post to Facebook or any other social media site is a free way to have the word spread about your app, and even better it is reaching potential customers through their friends and family who they trust.
5. Give your customers a voice
Customers like to be heard and giving them a voice to talk to you, inside your app, is extremely important. App stores don’t allow you to connect and communicate with your customers or provide you with the feedback you need to improve your app. A key factor to making your customers fall in love with your app is by continually improving your app and the best way to do that is by understanding what your customers want and need.
By giving your customers a voice through in-app feedback you are effectively gathering information to use to improve your app. Additionally, your app reviews will improve as negative feedback gets funneled straight to you. ￼￼
Our quality standards for apps that we use everyday are continually rising. Only the apps that are focused on being valuable and useful will find a spot on our phone. By focusing on optimizing your app for mobile devices you will be making an app that has everyday value for your customers. These 5 tips you will help your app become easier to use, which will make your customers come back for more.
Editor’s Note: Ezra Siegel is Apptentive’s VP of Community. Apptentive provides in-app feedback tools for app developers to improve ratings and the customer experience. He often writes about customer service and mobile apps, and most often where the two meet. You can read more along those lines at Apptentive’s blog, and keep up with Ezra and Apptentive on Facebook and Twitter.