It’s not commonplace though to be able to pick up the more granular details within a user interface (UI), to then identify what components of a screen’s design are detrimental to the overall user experience (UX).
Mobile app support and maintenance can easily take priority over regular reviewing of the user experience and interface. This blog outlines why you need to conduct UI/UX reviews of your digital products, and the significance and benefits of conducting these reviews. We explain what this means for your users and the key actions you’ll need to take, following the insights gained from these reviews.
To put it simply, a user interface refers to all the visual components of a digital product such as the typography, colours, icons and/or illustrations that you see on an app or website. Whereas, the user experience is simply that — the overall experience between a user and a product or service (i.e. how we navigate through a product/service).
User Interface (UI) involves:
Graphic/visual design, iconography, layout, typography, colour.
User Experience (UX) involves:
Information architecture, research, functionality, task flow, wireframes & prototypes.
Understanding these differences helps us to get clarity on any issues we need to address within an app and how we can best resolve them. A UI issue may simply be resolved through a redesign of a visual element, whereas a user experience issue may need to consider multiple facets of a product’s design such as the information architecture (IA), logical user flow i.e. the series of steps a user would take to complete a task, as well as other aspects such as the psychology of how users process information. Taking all of these aspects into consideration when conducting a review can easily become overwhelming. This is where following a set of predefined UX principles helps to guide our thinking around how we assess a product’s overall experience.
UX Review Framework — NN/g General Principles for Interaction Design
At PaperKite, we follow the usability industry standards devised by the Nielsen Norman Group (NN/g) as a guide to conducting our UI/UX reviews. We use these principles, or heuristics, as evaluators to identify and record usability issues that need to be addressed.
These standards ensure digital design is consistent, predictable, efficient and logical — essentially, your mobile app should not only be easy to navigate, but a pleasure to use.
We’ve previously shared our approach to UI/UX design with these further five key interaction design principles.
Reason #1: Regular reviews help you to understand user behaviours
If you don’t understand why customers aren’t completing particular tasks in your mobile app, or if they’re using it less frequently than they used to, a UI/UX review could help to identify underlying issues with the design that are influencing these user behaviours. A review can then help you to understand where and how the user experience can be improved.
Reason #2: They help you to identify significant issues that need immediate attention
Insights gained from a UI/UX audit help you to identify the severity of poor user experiences which allow the team to prioritise issues that need immediate attention. Issues that are picked up in UI/UX reviews could have low or high development action needed to fix them. Some will be simple design fixes, some may require the addition of supporting text or simplified user instructions, whereas other issues may be more complex and require technical effort. At PaperKite, we take a holistic review approach ensuring that we consider both technical and design components.
Reason #3: A chance to identify small fixes that can have a significant impact
Users shouldn’t struggle with understanding the flow of your app and where they should go next. Renaming pages to better reflect the content contained in them plays an important role in structuring information for users in a logical order that is easy for them to understand. This simple design fix doesn’t require too much technical effort, yet has a profound impact on usability.
Reason #4: They provide financial benefits both whilst conducting the review and as a result of the review
Conducting a review can save you time and money in that it is a chance to record and address significant UX issues before involving test participants or investing in additional software development. This therefore allows you to save budget on more targeted research at a later stage of usability studies, in order to further investigate the most critical usability problems. Businesses can also reap the financial benefits of improving a user experience by developing an easier and more pleasurable user or shopping experience that can result in increased sales.
As customer behaviour matures and changes (within your company or industry, but also in terms of your customer’s increasing digital usage), it makes sense to check in on the customer experience of your app. You may find that the mobile app flow needs change to continue to delight your users, or it may need improvements to align with current platform and industry conventions.
Another key driver for assessing your app could be to better understand the diversity or accessibility of your business channels. Competitor pressures to provide a similar app experience to others in the industry, or a changing business strategy that has a stronger focus on customer experience and engagement, can play a significant part in the need to keep your app up to date and continuously improving. A UI/UX review can provide plenty of useful insights for businesses to improve their app’s performance in order to then translate these learnings to other parts of their business as well.
Read more about improving your mobile app functionality.
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