Can you define great UX? Is it quantifiable? Does every app that gets it right fit the same structure? These are the questions that surface when trying to share a representation of apps that are UX winners. App UX has lots of factors, chief amongst them are two words — simple and intuitive. The best app UX works in a way that may hopefully delight users and, ideally, anticipate a their every need.
When you look at the apps on your smartphone and think about why you keep them around, you probably wouldn’t define it in terms of app UX. Instead, you might talk about convenience and how the app solves some problem you have. You could even say that great UX is so behind the scenes that you don’t even notice it. However, if it truly wasn’t involved, you’d probably notice that — and not in a good way.
Apps that understand and nail UX
UX is something you do not want to ignore or deprioritize. It should be a constant part of your strategic approach to app development and design. Your app can’t just work. The experience of the user is the true measurement of success — not just that it moves to the next screen when you tap “next.”
To better quantify what great UX is, we’re sharing some apps that not only understand UX, but also nail it.
The workplace communication tool Slack has a very slick app. First, the onboarding is quick and easy. You’ll also see some personality in the Slack app with smile-inducing loading messages. These tiny details are about the overall UX, making it more pleasant all around. One cool feature it offers is a mobile sign-on link inside the phone app — because no user wants to type out a password they may have already forgotten. Good design has been one of the catalysts for the platform’s growth.
You’d expect a technology company to have a great app, but few do things as well as Airbnb’s does. One of the biggest hurdles the company could easily face with UX is the fact that the app is active in over 190 countries. Different cultures have different UX expectations, so that’s something to consider if your app will be used internationally.
The foundation of their global UX is that it’s uncomplicated. You can venture through it smoothly with minimal to no friction. The user only needs to add a few pieces of information to get results — be it lodging, localized activities and tours, and so on. They’ve also made the navigation easy. Compared to other hotel or accommodation apps, Airbnb has one of the easiest apps on which to find a place to stay almost anywhere in the world.
Dropbox went through a rebrand in the past year and debuted new typography. The new fonts look great on the small screen, and they added unique hand-drawn illustrations as well. It’s pleasant and easy to use, whether you need to view or upload files, or something else.
Medium is all about content and making it easy to find and read, so their mobile app needs to makes this happen easily — and it does. The search function is easy to use and once you land on an article, you get a clean, seamless reading experience. The visuals pop, and the font choice is legible, making long- and short-form content a pleasure to read.
You can’t discuss app UX without mentioning Uber. First and foremost, it’s very easy to order a ride. It prompts you to enter your location and provides a list of places you’ve been to recently (for a quick reorder). Then you can see exactly where your ride is as they approach, and conveniently message your driver en-route so they know where you are. And once the ride is over, you get a quick reminder to leave feedback for your driver.
Uber was one of the first ridesharing services to anticipate these needs and deliver on them — including letting you know where their designated pickup area is at large venues like convention centers and airports.
Making a reservation at your favorite restaurant just got easier. For those that use OpenTable, you know you can immediately find available times and make a reservation in just a few clicks. You can also filter results by cuisine, price, or location. It also offers suggestions based on restaurants that have been highly rated by other users.
Can you really design cool graphics on your smartphone? With Canva, you can. Canva is a design platform for non-designers. All within the app, you can pick a template, change out images, increase font size, and revise colors — and all in seconds.
As you navigate Canva, you use the same motions you normally use on your phone, such as pinching, swiping, and tapping. Then you can download your designs from the app or quickly share them on social media or via email, text, etc.
UX: easier said than done
When you want to get app UX right, it takes work. UX is about how an app looks and how it functions. While there is no exact recipe to achieving awesome app UX, there are fundamentals that keep coming through in each of the examples above; specifically, they are easy to use and anticipate user needs. Together, those two things should be a guiding force in your mobile app design.
If your app needs a refresh or you’re ready to build a new one, try Topcoder’s crowdsourcing expertise. You’ll get multiple options to choose from and pay only for results. Learn more about how we work, and how we can elevate your app UX.