Today’s article was written by one of our iOS developer, Sebastian Dobrincu, creator of many apps among which Flatic , a full iOS blog application, with a great user interface and backend. With his experience in app development, Sebastian will guide you through 5 steps to a successful UX and UI in mobile.
Before we get started, let’s take a look at the definitions of both.
UI stands for ‘user-interface’ and it’s defined as ‘the space where interactions between humans and machines occur’. On the other side, UX, short for ‘user-experience’ is the ‘user’s overall satisfaction level when using your product’.
We’ll mainly focus on those two user engagement models in mobile, exemplifying the good and bad use scenarios.
Good UI != Good UX
This is a huge misunderstanding. Most people think that a nice user-interface comes with an enjoyable user-experience. Most likely, good UI flows from good UX. If you have to choose between improving the UI vs the UX, definitely go for the user-experience as no amount of UI polish will make up for a bad experience.
To get a better idea of the difference between those 2, let’s take a look at some examples. Check out the screenshot below.
You can easily spot on the awful experience you will stumble upon while browsing the page on a mobile device. Sure, the idea might work on computers, but a good user-experience, requires you to think of all the possible use cases and provide a fluent and easy to use UX, while maintaining the appealing interface.
Imagine launching for the first time an app with an amazing & unique interface, which takes 1 minute to load it’s data. Is your opinion as good as before noticing that ? Loading speeds aren’t the only factor that could effortlessly change your users opinion on your apps. Same applies to distracting (especially auto-playing video ads) or non-esthetical ads, not focusing on the content itself, unintuitive navigation and way, way more.
Know the priorities
Why did I decide to focus on mobile? Simply because mobile engagement is now higher than desktop. That means we spend more time on our smartphones than on our computers. The main reason for this transition is the information that is offered on the go, in a convenient manner. Both the UI and the UX play a big role in this mobile hype.
If you’ve been an iOS user, you might remember the days when most people were using the web version of Facebook on their phones, rather than the official app. Why ? Because it was just awful. At that time the app wasn’t native as it is now and the overall experience was just unsatisfying. It was incredibly slow, unresponsive and unreliable. Facebook switched to a native app in the end, which had a very similar interface as the non-native one, but the user feedback and engagement increased significantly, mainly because the overall user experience has been completely revamped. Now we can see that the app is fast, responsive and extremely enjoyable to use.
A bad UI makes a bad UX
When I am saying that i am especially talking about the scenarios below:
In those examples you can see how a sloppy user interface affects the entire user experience.
It’s true that among those two factors, i suggest focusing on the UX, but don’t ignore your UI, as it might reflect its flaws on your user’s impression, which of course may lead to less engagement. Start with the interface and then go over it, over and over again, till you’re sure that any changes you’ve done are not affecting the experience. Try to make it as intuitive as possible. Put yourself in the shoes of the user and never say that ‘they will figure this out’. That’s not their job, it’s yours. They just know that ‘it must work’. And they’re right. Don’t be afraid to make changes and ask for others feedback if you’re not sure.
It’s extremely important to be original and surprise your users with that little unique something that they’ve haven’t experienced before. Eye-catching animations, a great color scheme, interesting sounds, etc. All of those, combined with an enjoyable user experience, make up a great user impression and that’s what you should really focus on. It’s perfectly normal to follow predefined patterns, but never copy an idea as it is. Try to improve it any possible way.
Don’t be afraid to fail
It happens. To all of us. At some point we’ve all failed, but we surely learned something from that. Learn from your and others failures. Use them to rise up as long as you don’t make the same mistake twice. Inspire yourself from different sources and spend time crafting your products. Challenge yourself at all times, and learn from every experience — good and bad.
In the end, you’ll realise that failure is the only path to success.
The importance of UX and UI could always be an inexhaustible debate topic. It’s essential to understand that they both play a major role in the overall impression. You should really rock both of them if you want to succeed or to stand out with your products. Keep practicing, never be afraid to ask for suggestions or feedback and keep in mind that no matter how many times you might fail, it only counts how many times you get up.
There would really be much, much more to discuss on this topic, but i just wanted to give you a short overview of the most important things to have in mind when dealing with the user interface and the user experience.