Is Your Mobile App User Friendly?

By: Casey Kleekamp, UMSL MBA Student
I recently attended an UMSL Digital Marketing Seminar: “Mobile Marketing Strategy” hosted by Chris Carril. Chris works at Scottrade as a Mobile Platform Manager and after sitting through his seminar it was clear to me that he is extremely knowledgeable about his field. So I’m excited to share, with you, some information I found insightful.
casey1Chris shared tons of material on Mobile Marketing – an overview of mobile, stages of mobile app development, emotional design, mobile payment, innovation and the death of mobile strategy, or rather, why marketers need a total marketing strategy that includes mobile, not just a mobile strategy. So much great content, but for the purpose of this blog I’m going to focus on one topic in particular that stood out for me: iOS User Interface Design (UI).
UI is the design of user interfaces for computers, iPads, mobile etc. that is meant to maximize the user’s experience. (And iOS is Apple’s mobile platform, but I think most of you knew that already!) This topic stood out for me because without good design a mobile app is useless. Good design seems like common sense and I take it for granted so to see the rigor Apple puts behind it was educational.
I chose iOS vs. Andriod’s UI because I’m an Apple user and fan. They demand clear and simple design, which is very relatable to me and my personality – I’m a little Type A.
Below I have listed Apple’s “best practices” for iOS UI in a Do’s and Don’ts format, which Apple calls “Human Interface Guidelines.” Again, seems like common sense, but as we’ve all experienced not all mobile apps have a great user experience. So read on for 10 ways to ensure good mobile app design!
casey21. Formatting Content: As you can see in the left image, formatting for mobile is very important. It can make or break your user’s experience. DON’T make your users scroll left or right to view or read content. Instead, make your mobile app layout fit the screen.
2. Touch Controls: DO make sure your UI elements are built for touch that is easy and natural. The example Apple uses on their site is a calendar. When asking users to select a date it’s better to build out a calendar for iOS specifically vs. using the typical calendar format from a computer screen.
3.Hit Targets: DON’T make buttons too small. Make sure controls can easily and accurately be tapped with your user’s finger. The first time!
4. Text Size: DO make your font readable. Apple requires that all text be 11font. Why would you make it any smaller – no one can read that!
5. Contrast: Speaking of be able to read the text. DO make sure there is ample contrast between your text and background colors.
6. Spacing: DO ensure the text has appropriate line height and letter spacing.
7. High Resolution: DO make images clear, not blurry. Apple lists out specific size requirements.
8. Distortion: DO ensure images are at the correct aspect ratio.
9. Organization: DO make your mobile app layout easy to read. Have the controls next to the right text.
10. Alignment: DO ensure alignment of text, images and buttons so that users know how your content is related.
For more details and Apple’s specific requirements on iOS UI Do’s and Don’ts feel free to check out their site:
All in all, pretty straightforward right? So, now that you know how to build an iOS UI app that is user friendly you need to ask a few questions of your development partners to ensure the best total experience for today and for the future…
-Is your app maintainable?
-Is it scalable?
-Is it testable?
-Is it truly useable?
Finally, UMSL Digital Guru’s, I have one last question – how can we improve our UMSL Mobile Apps for the best possible user experience?