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The importance of UX and UI in mobile app design

The importance of UX and UI in mobile app design

Creating a fluid user experience is central to the function and flow of any mobile application. User Interface (UI) design explores how an app looks and interacts with a user. User experience (UX) defines how the app feels, from the users’ perspective. These concepts are at the development core of any mobile project.

During the development cycle, focus on the end product. Be sure that all of your efforts are centered upon the end user; concentrate on how they will interact and react to your app. Here are a few things to keep in mind while you design your new app:

UX/UI Must Haves:
  • Offer specific mobile-only functionality. Be sure that the product you put in the users’ hands will fulfill their mobile needs and wants. Make certain that the end experience is as solid as the function.
  • Design core features specifically for the target audience. Are you focusing on gamers or shoppers? Regardless of your audience, all features must deliver as promised. Take the time to ensure that the user’s experience dovetails with the features in hand.
  • The use of multimedia should be considered for the project. Be sure that the user has full control over the media. Don’t allow the media to become a memory hog.
UX/UI Mistakes:
  • Don’t confuse web UX for mobile UX. Simply scaling down the UX features of a web page is not the same as designing an app that is built specifically for a mobile platform. These are two different platforms with very different audiences.
  • Build an app that highlights your mobile users’ needs. Don’t build an app just so you can justify all of your ideas. Feedback, change and growth are all critical factors in the development cycle.
  • Be sure that you app has a specific function. Make sure that it actually does something. If your app ends up as a glorified sign-up page for a service, you’re going to upset the very people you are trying to reach.

DigitalGov.gov has established a set of guidelines to help the US Government develop quality mobile applications for the consumer. They looked at a wide variety of UX and UI design issues. This list provides an interesting set of ideas to examine while you consider your next mobile app. Not all of these ideas may be relevant to your project, but they provide a solid core of ideas to consider while you dream and design.

No matter the purpose or function of your application, the end product must provide a superior quality customer UX. If you aren’t ready or able to place a flawless mobile experience into your customers’ hands, the release of a lower quality app could be doing more harm than good to your reputation. Keep both the UX and UI design at the forefront of your design.

Contact Colure’s development team to discuss your dreams for a mobile application.

Using consumer reviews to assist your ASO efforts

Using consumer reviews to assist your ASO efforts

Mobility and responsiveness – these are two critical skills needed for anyone who enters the arena of mobile application development. Your product must be nimble and quick, but these too, are critical skills your marketing team must employ in the release of that shiny new app. The art of App Store Optimization (ASO) is important during the entire release process.

In a marketplace that features over a million apps in each of the major app stores, developers must manipulate each variable in their media arsenal. One very powerful tool is the use of consumer reviews.

The power of reviews

Being able to harness the energy of raw consumer feedback is like riding a wave. Managing both good and bad press is at the core of your public image. For better or worse – the true measure of you and your product is formed by the users’ impressions. Once you release, the power is in the hands of the consumer.

Your team must be able to respond instantly and individually, in order to reap the value of feedback. Take the time to interact with consumers and let them know that their opinions matter to your team.

You already have a plan in place. You have from the beginning. But if the consumers go in another direction or simply don’t like your idea, you need to be able to really listen and appreciate the value of what you are being told.

The fickle winds of consumer opinion can easily blow in either direction. A stunning app with an established track-record can suddenly be dashed upon the rocks by a sour update, or by the development team not listening to consumers.

The transparency of reviews clearly matters. KISS Metrics conducted a study evaluating average reviews in connection to app store rankings and it found that the most positively rated apps ranked highest on a given keyword. Those reviews are being offered by users as their reaction to your new app. How you respond to those words will determine how the market views your product. In other words, reviews are vital. 

Increasing the volume of reviews

There are several ways in which you can increase your app’s reviews. One way to do it is through app reviews plugins. This is a pop-up screen that appears after a bit of usage, asking the consumer for their opinion. You should be sure to delay the activation of the plugin. Give the user the opportunity to get comfortable and really discover all of the features you’ve built into the app. If you ask users to review when they first open an app before they’ve actually had a chance to try it, they may be displeased and leave a negative review instead.

The best way to get a positive review is to build a high-quality application that makes a significant difference to your users by either helping or entertaining them. The more satisfied users you get, the more likely they are to leave a positive review, with little to no reminder or encouragement from the app.

Managing negative reviews is a metered skill. It takes time and patience to respond thoughtfully to whatever may be written. How and with which words you respond, will determine if you are able to yield a net favorable response.

Keep in mind that this is a difficult task. It often takes time, energy and patience. Be ready to have your greatest weaknesses publicly highlighted. At your moments of weakness, how you respond to your critics will determine if you earn their respect and future business.

Contact Colure today to establish a plan to help define you next mobile app.

“Mobilegeddon” and Google’s algorithm update

“Mobilegeddon” and Google’s algorithm update

On April 21st, 2015, Google will release a major update to their search engine algorithms, significantly expanding the role of mobile-friendliness. This is widely considered by many, to be one of the largest game-changing events in the history of internet analytics. The announcement was made officially on Google’s blog in February of this year.

Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high-quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

Mobile access has already dominated the marketplace. Companies who have not integrated a mobile-mentality into their marketing plan are already being hurt because of the lack of customers who can view their website. The new shift in search results could significantly limit the remaining market share available to these companies. Companies without a mobile design will drop dramatically in the search engine rankings.

The purpose is to be sure that companies are adopting a mobile-friendly mentality to meet the expanding demands of the consumer. This event is about more than just having website with a Responsive Web Design. This is about companies embracing an entirely different mentality toward their marketing efforts. Next week’s shift will be monumental in the marketplace.

The event is significant enough to have been dubbed “Mobilegeddon” within the industry. This change will firmly establish what the industry already knows – mobility is not an “option”. It is a “must have” feature at the core of every application. The cost benefit of this move will re-enforce what many companies are already experiencing. Those who have not embraced the mobile movement will pay a significant price for not keeping up with the demands of the market and the consumer.

What will be changed? Google is keeping that a pretty tight secret. However, a recent post by Cindy Krum and Emily Grossman of MOZ, provides one of the best explanations I’ve seen of the upcoming changes. They discuss, in depth, how this will affect you and your company.

To assist companies in gauging these changes, Google has provided a test page for you to check your website’s mobile-friendliness.

Whether or not you have already modified your marketing plan, website and approach to mobile-friendliness, there’s an outstanding chance that next Tuesday should be pretty interesting. It’s sure to grab the attention of many CEO’s and stockholders.

Contact Colure’s Project Management Team to discuss your mobile concerns.

Cross-Platform Mobile App Development

Cross-Platform Mobile App Development

Thanks to the cell phone, our world has become compact and information is always ready at hand. An individual’s entire life can fit in their palm or pocket.

It has become progressively important for companies and businesses to have a heavy mobile presence since smartphones and tablets have captured a dominant share of the market. Mobile application development, a pathway to marketing and branding, includes the need to create applications that run on various mobile platforms. A mobile platform is simply an operating system. For example, Apple’s mobile operating system is ‘iOS’.

Developers create applications that are targeted at specific audiences. Often, cross-sections of these audiences disperse between various mobile operating systems. The need to ‘skip’ across various platforms provides the companies the ability to reach different audiences with one application, regardless of the platform. Cross-platform services save time, money and allow code to be easily shared between different platforms. It provides a greater reach to users.

With many solutions, often come with both pros and cons. Mobile development is no different.

Advantages with cross-platform mobile app development:
  • Deploy your app to various platforms reaching a greater audience.
  • Saves time. Allows developers to write code in one language.
  • Reduces development costs. This allows companies to save money by not investing in one team specific to that platform.
  • Simple for developers. The frameworks to create cross-platform applications are designed for scripting languages which allow for a smooth transition to the mobile device.
Disadvantages with cross-platform mobile app development:
  • Technology does not include all features of all mobile devices and operating systems. App developers are continuously updating the apps whenever companies add new features. The framework will need to be updated to support the new additions.
  • Tools are restrictive. Designing an app compatible with cross-platform frameworks can challenge developers, prohibiting them from using their own development tools and suites.
  • Code inefficiency. The inability to work on every platform’s native language. When translation engine become ineffective, the code efficiency decreases.
  • Slower code and process. Due to the cross-compilation process, the code writing run time may slow down.

As with any development process, there are benefits and liabilities associated with using a cross-platform application development system. Cross-platform tools are not a universal solution. Having a development team with a working knowledge of development environment is critical.

Contact Colure’s development team to help integrate your mobile applications with your existing systems, fitting your specific needs.