Many innovative trends came into their own this year where experience design and application development converge, specifically the simplicity of flat design and the user-friendly functionality of cross-platform design.
Each of these was a welcome improvement for all app users, and with the new year approaching, this is a great time for app designers to make some UX resolutions for even better digital experiences in 2014.
1. I will not use lengthy setup wizards
Users should be able to get inside an app and/or through a setup process without being forced to enter all their profile/account information at the very beginning. Regardless of how important this data is, apps that are built with UX in mind must be designed to offer users the option to enter this information whenever they want to.
2. I will limit feature tours
Multi-page explanations of an app are confusing and the opposite of user-friendly. Well-designed apps and web services should be easy to use and understand, so not only should there be no need for more than three pages of information on usage, if there does need to be a lengthy explanation, it should be provided as users move naturally though the platform.
3. I will leverage retina-level graphics
Anything less just looks unprofessional.
4. I will not blindly follow user requests
Many companies will ask users or internal stakeholders about what design elements they'd like to see incorporated into a web app or service, without doing any research to see if these requests will actually provide the best experience for those users. Ultimately, this approach is destined to end in failure: not only will it fail to solve foundational problems, it may even create new issues.
5. I will not overuse notifications
I've heard many people express frustration with the way certain apps abuse their notification systems. Companies think it's no big deal to send out a plethora of notifications to users, but it's actually a huge turnoff, the result being that users end up turning off notifications altogether. That's never a good thing.
6. I will stop using hub and spoke design
The hub and spoke design model refers to design that's architected around a central hub, with all traffic start there and moving out along spokes that ultimately have to be reversed to get back to that central point. The hub turns into a dashboard that's purely navigational, forcing users to click something before they can get anywhere else within the app. Let’s see more dynamic hubs in 2014, ones that provide information as well as navigation rather than simply directing traffic to other areas of a site or application.
7. I will not build siloed apps
Applications or web services that don't allow single sign-on (SSO) options should definitely look to remedy this in 2014. Giving users the option to sign in or sign up through an email or social media account not only helps battle password fatigue, it also allows the app to capture necessary account information. Companies should also take advantage of deep-linking between apps, which supports more efficient interactions with less app-switching frustration. Now that iOS and Android support it, apps need to take advantage.
What are some of your app design resolutions for 2014? Share them on Twitter (#AppResolution) or in the comments below.
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