What is the Importance of User Experience (UX) in Mobile App Development?

A person drawing wireframes on paper

You may be familiar with the saying, "There's an App For That."

Apple trademarked this phrase in 2009 as part of a TV advertisement campaign for the iPhone. With an endless ocean of apps available today, this slogan couldn't be more true. From product to service, everyone is in on creating a mobile app for their business. There are many offerings available, and with human attention spans shortening, you only have precious moments to sell an experience that'll keep consumers around.


If you're looking to dip your toes into the world of mobile app development, finding out where to begin and what to do is understandably intimidating. There are many factors that go into creating a successful mobile application; user experience design is one that can bridge the gap between a successful app and a failure.


By learning key user experience principles and incorporating them into the mobile app development process, you can understand and reap the benefits of creating a great user experience for your customers.


In this blog, you'll learn about user experience, its importance in mobile app development, and how you can utilize it to create the ideal mobile application for your business.


What is User Experience (UX)?

User experience, often abbreviated as UX, is the set of interactions people have with a product. From websites to applications, UX encompasses concepts such as usability, efficiency, and utility. While what exactly a user experience is depends heavily on the product and its purpose, good UX is designed to make things easy for your customers, therefore improving customer satisfaction and creating an overall positive customer experience.


User experience is paired with another concept called user interface. User interface - also known as UI - is the visual presentation that guides the user experience. This encompasses shapes, colors, fonts, and images. In other words, UI is how your users engage and interact with your UX.


Picture your product as a human body. The outside appearance of your product's body is its skin, providing aesthetics and overall presentation; this is the UI. The UX acts as bones and organs, providing structure and supporting your product's functions. Just as a body is made up of skin, bones, and organs, both concepts make up your product and cannot function properly without them!


The process of incorporating user experience into product design is handled by UX designers. They are experts in their field and spend their time performing research, crafting wireframes and prototypes, and thoroughly testing their work to create the best experience possible for their product's users.


You don't need to be a seasoned UX designer to consider UX in the mobile app development process. Let's look into how.


How does User Experience (UX) Tie into Mobile App Development?

A person making a paper mockup of a phone user experience


User experience should be considered throughout the development process. Don't stress too much over the details just yet, though; chances are that you've already been considering factors like utility and design while planning what your app will do and who it will be made for. Planning is only the beginning, and the next step is to move forward with crafting a user journey map - a visual representation of what your users must do to accomplish a goal. Making a user journey map targets the focus of your app functionality and design directly on your users.


Once you refine and outline the user's journey through your app, you can begin creating a wireframe. A wireframe is a basic outline of the overall structure of your app and helps define where text, images, buttons, and other key elements will go. In other words, it’s the backbone of the entire user experience.


After the wireframe comes the prototype. This is an interactive early version of your app that is essential to testing its functionality. Testing the prototype is the first time you'll experience your app in action, making it vital to see if your UX is streamlined and on the right track.


Furthermore, you can share your prototype with your users to gather feedback. Gathering user feedback is an excellent way to make improvements and receive comments directly from your target audience. By testing your app design and functionality, you can find errors and gaps in your UX that may have been missed during the early stages of the development process.


Now that you have a rundown of how user experience intertwines with mobile app development, let's look at the benefits you can reap from putting your customers first.


What are the Benefits of Good User Experience Design?

Considering user experience in the app development process yields many benefits for you and your users. Here are some benefits of incorporating good user experience design into your mobile app.


  • Increase customer satisfaction: Users who have a pleasant experience while using your app will be happy and satisfied. This positive reception will have them coming back to your app and increase the chance of them recommending it to others.

  • Improve usability: User experience and usability go hand-in-hand. The easier it is to understand and interact with your app, the more likely it'll be downloaded and used.

  • Boost profitability and save money: Designing your app with user experience in mind from the beginning saves you the trouble of having to go back and make changes as you move along the development process. Going back to the drawing board can be quite costly and increases development time while delaying your app’s launch. In addition, good user experience design makes your app more appealing and boosts the number of paid downloads.

  • Improve your app's first impressions: Just like you wouldn’t show up to a job interview in pajamas, making a good first impression is just as important to the job recruiter as first-time users are for your app! If these first impressions aren’t positive, it’s likely that your app will be uninstalled and garner negative reviews.

  • Enhance brand image: By creating a solid app, your brand image will develop positively and become associated with a pleasant, customer-focused, and easy-to-use experience.

  • Reduce churn rate: Applications that aren't designed around your users' needs may end up with a high churn rate. The churn rate is the number of people who stop using an app after a few times. If your app has a high churn rate, it could be because it isn't intuitive or easy enough to use.

How do You Create Good Mobile User Experience Design?

A person holding a phone


Think about what you do when you open a new app for the first time. What do you do first? Do you take the time to observe what loads on your screen, or do you start navigating between pages to find what you’re looking for?


Considering how people use apps is an excellent way to learn how to create good mobile UX design. After all, you don’t want to create an app that you wouldn’t even recommend to your family or friends. Here are some factors to keep in mind when designing an ideal mobile application.


  • Performance: There’s nothing more frustrating than having an app crash or run slowly while trying to use it. Fast and bug-free apps are streamlined experiences compared to buggy and unpredictable ones. Your users also need to conserve their device’s battery throughout the day; make sure your app isn’t responsible for draining it!

  • Incorporate Ease of Use: People take their mobile devices anywhere at any time. From sipping on a hot drink in a coffee shop to doing a quick check-up between work meetings, it’s likely that your users won’t be entirely focused on interacting with your app. Keep your app simple by making it easy to use while guiding the user through their journey. In addition, keep user interactions within the app. The less brain power it takes for your users to accomplish their tasks, the better.

  • Keep it Engaging: Have you ever questioned if an app froze or broke as it lingers on a static screen? If so, you’re not the only one – our attention spans require small details to keep us engaged and on the right track. Including small animations or interactive elements in your interface design is a subtle but effective way to keep your users engaged and confident that they’re making progress as they use your app. Take care to remove any unnecessary distractions that only create clutter. If your application has internal processes that take time to complete, adding progress bars and other similar elements reassures users that your app is working as intended.

  • Be Flexible: Mobile devices come in many shapes and sizes. Responsive design – design that adjusts to different screen specifications - is key to good user experience and is vital throughout the development process. There are also differences between iOS and Android, such as design guidelines, customer bases, and app stores, that must be kept in mind depending on what operating system your app is built for. Native apps are built for a single operating system, while cross-platform apps are built for multiple systems.

  • Be Consistent: Take away any unnecessary guesswork by incorporating common visual design and interaction design elements in your app. For example, users know that tapping a hamburger menu will bring up more options to view. Make sure your elements are placed in spaces that can be easily tapped or swiped.

  • Understand Your Audience: What purpose does your app serve? Who are your users, and what do they like? In what circumstances will your users open and use your app? Answering these questions can help you design with intent from the beginning. Create scenarios in which someone would use your app and perform research on user behavior. Understand the who, what, when, where, why, and how behind your app and factor this knowledge into the overall user experience.

Are you ready to build the perfect app for your customers? Now that you've learned about user experience, its importance in mobile app development, and how to consider UX in the development process, you can create an app like that of a lighthouse; shining bright and clear among a vast ocean of applications on the market.