The term ‘usability hygiene’ was firstly introduced by Google in the context of the basics that need to be addressed in order to prevent user frustration.
In this article we will look at six key areas of mobile design you should pay special attention to, in order to create a positive user experience.
According to recent research by Google, 34% of users prefer an app over a mobile website when they have a poor internet connection. When they open an app, they expect to see lots of content there, regardless of whether they are connected to the internet or not. It’s vital to make key content accessible even when there is little or no data connection. If the content isn’t there, users will get frustrated and switch to a different app which does a better job of caching the information they want to see.
Below is an example of how Apple Maps (left) and Google Maps (right) use their cache. Google Maps remembers the last location and holds an impressive amount of map detail in the cache, while Apple Maps shows you absolutely nothing. Not much good to be said about Apple Map’s offline experience.
A huge factor in making your app’s mobile UX shine is its UI. Today, most developers want to distribute their apps on multiple platforms. As you plan your app for multiple platforms, keep in mind that each platform has its own visual language—a distinct set of conventions and styles which should be followed.
For example, there are global elements, such as a status bar and header, which appear on all the pages of your design. The difference between the two platforms seems quite insignificant—slightly different size, different title text alignment (on Android, the text is left-aligned, whereas for iOS it’s centered) and fonts (Roboto on Android, San Francisco on iOS), but you shouldn’t change any of these settings if you want the app to feel native.
The same goes for buttons and other controls—radio buttons, checkboxes, fields, switches—all functional components should give a native feel. If you replicate elements from one platform to another, you risk compromising the user experience and conversion. The differences are small enough for you to progress with one design, but these subtle differences are essential for a native look.
If you want to customize user interface elements in your app, you should customize carefully according to your branding—and not according to the conventions of a different platform.
Designing a UX is designing for flow and flow is, in most cases, about moving forward to accomplish a goal. You should avoid creating dead-end pages in your apps because dead-ends create confusion, block users on their way to the goal and lead to additional and unnecessary actions. Take an error-state screen from Spotify as an example. It simply doesn’t help users understand the context and doesn’t help them find the answer to the question: “What can I do about it?”