Smartphones have become an extension of our arms. Look around you – half the people might be dug into their phones checking their social media accounts, reading articles or shopping on some mobile app.
Going by the penetration of smartphones in our lives, having a mobile app is no longer an option for brands and if you thought a mobile website was enough, you are mistaken. As per a study was done by Compuware, 85% of consumers favor mobile apps over websites. This goes to prove that in this mobile-first world, it’s imperative for your business to have its own mobile app in order to thrive.
So, how do you ensure your eCommerce mobile app compels visitors to engage with it, make purchases and derive value from it? Here are 7 key features that you must consider to deliver a user-friendly experience on apps:
1. Simple Design
When it comes to designing mobile apps, simple is great. Remember that you are designing for a smartphone screen which is much smaller than a laptop or a desktop screen. Given the size restrictions, the user interface needs to be clean and functional. Avoid cluttering the screen with too many icons and text because that just confuses the user.
Stick to minimal content, high-resolution imagery and break down complex tasks into multiple steps for better understanding. The idea is to have people navigate your app with ease without getting stuck.
Responsiveness is another important design element to consider. Your mobile app should be compatible with different devices and operating systems. You can ensure this by keeping your app up to date, in line with the timely software updates.
2. Fast Loading Time
Nothing is more frustrating for users than waiting for a mobile app to load. People expect lightning fast responses and rightly so. In fact, an Apteligent report revealed that 48% of consumers uninstall or stop using an app due to slow speeds. Thus, it’s critical to optimize the performance of your mobile app.
How do you enhance performance? The images you incorporate need to be resized and compressed such that they don’t degrade in quality and at the same time don’t take ages to load. De-clutter the content on your mobile app and keep details that are absolutely necessary. Keep a check on the ad code as they can interfere with the loading time.
Apart from these aspects, you should also give the perception of fast loading time. For example, instead of displaying a blank screen while your app loads, show a spinner or a progress bar so people can anticipate the waiting period and are not left in the dark.
It is also a good idea to add an offline mode to your mobile app to not let sudden network or connectivity issues obstruct user experience.
On a mobile phone, there is no cursor involved. People use their fingers and being sensitive to the power of touch is crucial when it comes to designing your mobile app.
Whether it’s ensuring call-to-action buttons are large enough and well-spaced to be clicked with a finger or designing for thumbs as most people use their phones single-handedly while navigating with their thumbs – designing for a tactile experience is essential. As part of making apps thumb-friendly, it’s always recommended to keep the primary buttons in the zone that is easily accessible to thumbs.
4. Easy Onboarding
Your mobile app’s first impression is obtained through its onboarding process so make sure you offer a fast and easy experience right from the start because users won’t hesitate to abandon it if it appears to be too tedious and time-consuming.
Start with informative and appealing animations that impart the benefits of using your app. Make it quick, easily readable and give users the option to skip this step just in case they don’t wish to go through the entire drill.
Secondly don’t be the app that demands a heap of information from users. Keep the sign-up or registration process extremely simple by allowing people to sign in via their social media accounts or as guests. Asking for too many details or permissions right at the start can be a cause of irritation.
5. Minimize Input Fields
Input fields refer to all those places where the user needs to type in information via text fields, drop-down lists, date-finders and more.
Considering the small screen of smartphones, lesser the input fields, the more convenient it is for users. Instead of treating your mobile app as a lengthy questionnaire, ask them to input details that are absolutely necessary. Use smart features like Auto-Complete to anticipate what they are going to type and give them the option to save their details for future use.
Always display a keyboard in accordance with the input field. For example, if they are expected to input numbers, ensure a numeric keypad is displayed for added convenience.
6. Seamless Checkout
There are instances when users enjoy a user-friendly experience until they reach the very last step – the checkout page which turns out to be rather messy. What happens next? They abandon their cart and the app. Now, that’s an opportunity lost.
Just like the onboarding process, you need to ensure a seamless checkout experience too. Make it easy for them to remove items from their shopping cart, offer multiple payment options including mobile-friendly ones such as PayPal or Apple Pay. While asking them to fill forms, keep it minimal and auto-complete forms basis their previous inputs.
7. Offer Help
There will be instances when users will be met with unexpected roadblocks while shopping on your mobile app. Just the way customers can easily reach out to someone in a retail store, it’s important to make yourself easily accessible on the mobile app too and offer superior customer service.
Integrate live chats or have a prominent ‘help’ or ‘contact us’ tab that they can click to instantly reach you to resolve their queries. You can also have an FAQ page that customers can turn to for concerns. The idea is to offer quick assistance to customers when they need it such that it contributes to the user-friendly experience and does not drive them to abandon the app.
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