Nothing will sink your app faster than terrible user experience. But in the rush to develop and launch (and build plenty of ‘cool’ features), many teams overlook the most important person in the entire process: the user.
Curious about some quick and easy techniques for refining user experience, I asked several tech founders in YEC the following question:
What is the no. 1 tip you’d give an entrepreneur who wants to refine the user experience on his or her app? Why is it important?
“The most awesome stage”
Last year, Facebook's VP of Design thought the TNW Conference main stage was the best she'd ever been on.
Their best answers are below.
1. Ask Your Sibling to Test the App
Then ask 10, 20, or 50 more random people to play with the app. Stand over their shoulder, and ask them to talk through their experiencewith the app out loud. Listen and watch how they use it. See where they get stuck.
You and your team can make assumptions, but these testers will give you deeper insights into the usability and experience than most analytical software.
2. Force Yourself to Become a User
We’ve recently had to do this for our users who are in cars when they’re going to collect a food order at a restaurant. We’ve had to step out of our urban/pedestrian mindset and think like drivers. That’s a challenge and an adventure on the road to developing great apps.
3. (Really) Think Like Your User
It may sound obvious, but thinking like a user is the best way to improve the user experience. To do this effectively, it’s not enough to just think about how to arrange items, features and buttons on a screen in the most “user-friendly” way. You need to think about how a user wants to use and engage the app and the product/service tied to it.
Think about the real-life usage and not just how they tap the screen. Also, consider how other apps they use have impacted their behaviors. These two tips can help you create a more intuitive and delightful userexperience.
4. Interview Your Users Before Making Changes
Getting feedback from your users before you make changes to your app is the best thing to do before you try to refine the experience.
Analytics within an app may not tell the full story about what aspects of your app are most critical for your users or about the case studies for how your users benefit from your app. Different points of view can help you see the problems you want to fix in a new way, and you may even discover that your app does not need refining in the way you thought it did.
5. Use the 81-Year-Old Test
A short time ago, the litmus test for most things was, “Could an 8-year-old use and understand this?” For apps it’s, “Could an 81-year-old use and understand this?”
Refine and design your user experience with this question in your mind. If your app flows and is so intuitive the 81-year-old loves it, then everybody else will also.
6. Focus on Fixing Current Features
It is far too easy to fall in the feature-creep trap of app development. There’s always going to be more ideas for new features to pack into the experience, but getting in the habit of saying “no” and instead focusing on the details of your current features is vital.
Having a few great features that accomplish their tasks simply and effectively is far better than having a bunch of sub-par features that nobody ever uses.
7. Integrate Form and Function
You need both a coder and a UX designer working together on your product to create a great user experience. A coder brings structural logic while a designer brings a knowledge of human behavior and aesthetics.
Of course, you still need to test your products, but starting with an integrated form/function approach means you’ll be starting from an informed place.
Read next: Go Tim! (Sorry we're late)