It seems that every time we log onto an app, some button has moved or the colors have become slightly more vibrant or a new feature has been added. This is due to companies constantly trying to keep up with ever-evolving mobile user experience (UX) best practices as they gain more insight into their users. For example, if you move the app shopping button on the screen closer to a user’s thumb, it is more likely that they will accidentally tap it and become interested in products the company is offering.
In a previous blog, we touched on two of the four key focus areas for launching a successful employee-facing mobile app:
- Mobile governance
- Mobile vision and strategy
The first two focus areas above are the “what” that you want out of your app. In this blog, we will address the “how” of your app. We will discuss some mobile UX best practices and how to approach the concept of continuous improvement.
Mobile UX Best Practices: Guidelines to Influence User Adoption
Digital transformation, specifically in mobile apps, has provided many lessons that can help guide and shape mobile app design principles as you create the optimal mobile app user experience for your employees. Some of the most common mobile app best practices include the following:
- Simple and intuitive navigation
- Consistent user interface (UI) with design standards for style, look, and feel
- Compatibility with other internal systems/applications required to complete a task or access information
In this blog, we will discuss some mobile UX best practices to consider when designing an employee-facing app. Following as many best practices as possible will ensure your app is adopted and utilized by your employees.
Design Simple, Useful, and Intuitive Features
Successful mobile apps focus on a limited set of features. Prioritize app details or tasks and focus on what is important for your organization while trimming out “nice-to-have” items. The application must minimize user effort to complete a task. If possible, larger tasks can be broken down into smaller steps. Consider using defaults to auto-populate, auto-complete, or predict commonly used information or inputs in the process. If your app requires backend information as part of the process, carefully consider the user experience to ensure a cohesive approach.
Here are just a few mobile UX best practices to follow when designing your app:
- Be direct and use simple language that is comprehensible and familiar to your user. Remember the importance of the employee experience, both existing and new – employee mobile applications will be used by all.
- Font and font size can make a difference; choose one that works well with multiple variations and devices in order to maintain consistent legibility and usability.
- Font color may add differentiation and highlight areas to which you want to draw attention.
- Spacing and white space on a screen can aid in drawing attention to an important step or content.
- Use cards, small displays of images or content, to add actionable information to a task.
- Be sure your app complies with all standards of accessibility.
The key to making a useful and intuitive mobile experience is to start with the end in mind. Ask yourself what the user needs to achieve and keep that process as simple as possible. If possible, work with a UX/UI professional to gather their input and design ideas.
Make Navigation Self-Evident
Navigation should drive mobile app users to engage and interact with the features and content. When it comes to navigation, the most important design principle is to occupy the minimum amount of space on a mobile device screen while making sure you make the priority features easily accessible.
- Add a collapsible main menu – this is a great way to display all navigation options in a list format or card that expands/collapses on a mobile screen. Users can see all options, but it minimizes screen space.
- Utilize headers and footers on the app screen – icons and graphics are commonly placed in the upper or lower regions of a mobile app for “most used” features.
- Use a floating action button or “FAB” for common actionable tasks such as “Contact,” “Edit,” “Delete,” etc.
Carefully Consider the Approach to Notifications
Think carefully about what types of messages need to be sent to users via the app. Useless messaging or annoying notifications are one of the primary reasons users uninstall or fail to adopt mobile apps. Every message must count.
If the information is urgent and requires immediate attention, consider using a push notification to get the user’s attention even when they are not using the app. If it is less critical and does not require timely feedback or response, an email could be beneficial. Best practice is to provide your employees control over the notifications they wish to receive. For example, a user may only want to see notifications upon opening the app. In that case they would opt for in-app notifications.
Examples of different types of messaging methods include the following:
- Push notifications
- In-app notifications
- News feeds
The most important consideration to a messaging approach is that you do not overwhelm your user.