It’s never fun to look at declining stats, and less so when it could be prevented by following simple, logical steps. Anyone having had an app published at one point or another will have looked at the detailed app analytics and seen a decline in app retention rates, ie. existing users coming back less and less. It may be due to poor UI/UX Design.

Apart from providing regular updates to the core functionality of any given app, what are some other practical things one can do to improve the user interaction with the app in question? Today I offer you a checklist of UI/UX design dos and don’ts. Feel free to just use a few of the points listed here, as of course all these tips are highly subjective and depends on the particulars of each individual app.

UI UX Design
Isometric UI & UX Design Concept photo from Shutterstock

Checklist of UI/UX Design Dos & Don’ts

Keep every screen simple and focused on one point

This is probably one of the most important things I share with you today, but one that is almost universally ignored and misunderstood by most people wanting an app developed. As an app developer, I’ve had to explain this so many times to customers and clients, that I feel this one topic could warrant it’s own book by now. I will however, keep things relatively simple, and ask that you do your own research if you find this point applicable to your own apps.

By cramming in multiple key points of data in a single screen, you are overloading the user inputs, and potentially creating a confusing experience, but of course, there are certain common screens where this is not an issue, given that the UI is designed for a clear and streamlined overview.

Keeping screen-views simple and uncluttered, the users can easily find the information that they need, and with less data, text and images to confuse the user, and another added benefit is that of speed and performance.

Performance and Speed

It should go without saying that today’s mobile app users are accustomed to a certain level of speed when interacting with their phones, particularly so on apps where most, if not all, data are stored locally. By optimizing an app for speed, it often ties in with removing clutter, and goes hand in hand with the previous point, having dedicated screen-views for each key data entry.

One of the largest factors of user retention has to do with the performance of the app, and by adding a preloader to the initial startup phase, we have seen the apps we’ve developed with a preloader have 20-25% better retention rates on the start screens, than those without.

Another aspect of speed comes in how the user interacts with the app, if your app allows for image sharing, but the user has to share one image at a time, people will naturally drop off since it is time consuming for them to repeat the same actions over and over. So consider spending the extra time on developing sleek interactions that allow for speedy interactions.

Find the right balance between primary and supplementary content

Just like on websites, it is important to have a decent amount of relevant copy pertaining to the topic in question. Some app’s only have a few key data points, but tons of supplementary filler content that takes up valuable space and provides no real value to the user on that particular page. Consider moving irrelevant content into its own screens and providing a way for users to access that from the more important screens. This ties in with the proper use of white-space.

Whitespace creates areas of focus

By designing your screen-views with loads of whitespace might seem counterintuitive for app retention purposes, but in fact this is quite an effective way of creating a better user experience. With plenty of empty space around the important pieces of information, users can more easily find the data and

Keep navigation and search visible

These days most apps have a fixed navigation menu, that follows the user as they scroll down the pages, and for good reason. This has become the standard these days on websites as well as mobile applications because it allows the user to navigate much faster, find the content they search for with more ease and the drawback of the extra space used is minimal compared to the benefits provided.

Conclusion

Most of these points are now considered fairly standard, in part because they work and are tested over and over. In part because both Google and Apple recommends this in their app development guidelines. So you can check UI/UX Design concept into them. There can of course be particular applications where disregarding popular sentiment can yield better results than following them, but if you are unsure, or have no real reason for breaking these rules of thumb, consider why you want those fringe features – and whether your users would not be better served by adhering to them.