When it comes to human-machine interaction, the objective is to produce a user-friendly interface that allows users to navigate the app easily, enjoyably and efficiently. The ideal aim of a user-friendly app is to allow users to have the desired outcome while being able to navigate the app comfortably and smoothly. Other additional benefits that are no less important include it being easier to roll out and utilise because user-friendly apps are usually intuitive and seamless.
On top of the company’s ability to design a useful application that matters, it should have a supportive infrastructure that focuses on the user experience and making it as pleasant and effortless as possible. When it comes to user-friendly app, it would be next to impossible to not take UI-UX into consideration.
What exactly is UI-UX?
UI Design stands for User Interface Design, while UX Design refers to the term User Experience Design. While both are complementary, their roles differ significantly. To put it simply, an app that has a great and stunning design but is a little hard to use has good UI but bad UX. On the other hand, an app that is easy to use but has a poor look has poor UI and good UX.
When it comes to user experience, it takes into account the user’s behaviour and emotions while using the particular product. User experience is largely considered subjective and is dependant on a user’s perception of how intuitive and effortless the product is. Additionally, user experience is pretty dynamic and has to be constantly reconfigured and modified over time due to ongoing feedback and constantly changing circumstances and norms.
Here are some factors to consider when choosing a user-friendly app:
1. Recognise the Context of Your Users
Are your users tech-savvy? Are they technophobic? While more tech-savvy users might need a marvellous design and a huge variety of features to keep them interested in the product, a technophobic user might want to just stick to a simple, no-nonsense type of interface. Recognising the context of your users and choosing a particular app that tailors to their specific needs is crucial in deciding whether they will continue to use it. After all, user experience is mostly subjective and recognising the context of your users is the first step in choosing a user-friendly app.
To put this into context for the logistics scene, the operator, the drivers, the shippers and the consignees all have differing needs from a Transportation Management Software (TMS) and the user interface needs to cater to that. For example, the operator facing user interface has to include things like a dashboard to track their deliveries, delivery lists and a planning page (just to name a few) and thus, tends to be a bit more complex. However, a driver-facing user interface should be simpler – an easy to navigate app with a personalised runsheet and intuitive flow. Having a tailored user facing software that keeps in mind the needs of the drivers who are constantly rushing would make them more inclined to use it.
2. Design should be easy to understand
A good design should be easy to understand and navigate. It may not necessarily stand out. This is because the communication between the user and the app is efficient and effective enough that the experience is smooth and seamless.
If the user is able to navigate the app easily by looking at it without much outside help, then it is an example of a good UI design. UI normally ensures that the visual look and ‘feel’ of the digital space; eg a button, looks and feels like a button and gives proper indication of actions (like un-click, mouseover, clicked).”Good” design also depends on the users who are using it, for example drivers may not be very tech-savvy users or are generally older on average. Most designs currently do not cater well to this group yet. The app has to be easy enough that they can navigate easily in an intuitive manner and be able to convey its efficiencies effectively.
Instead of focusing on the app itself and how beautifully it is designed, focus on the user’s needs, behaviours and experience. The user experience should be able to accommodate and combine graphics, text, layout and interactive elements to ensure users have an ideal experience. Additionally, a consistent design like reusing certain icons, theme colours and aesthetics can help to prompt and familiarise users to be able to use it quickly and instinctively.
In most cases, the app only has a short amount of time to try to engage and hook the users into continually using it. During this duration, the app needs to be clear and obvious with what they want the users to do. Users should not have to contemplate about their next step. Should the app fail in engaging them, the bad experience that the users have may not only result in losing them as potential users but their possible network too.
Although clarity in a user interface is a good thing, over-clarifying isn’t. Having too many explanations and definitions in the app itself might backfire and have the opposite effect. The users might end up spending too much time going through every single explanation. This also coincides with the previous point of the design having to be intuitive thus, having no need for explanations. Additionally, adding extra unnecessary information adds bulk to your interface and it ceases to be simple anymore.
Thus, it is imperative to have clarity but be concise about it. Not only would it be easier for the users to scan for information, the app also seems more lightweight and less clustered.
So, how do we choose a user-friendly app?
When it comes to choosing an app, it requires a holistic view of the users and their experience more so than whether the app is beautifully designed. It requires multiple factors and finding the right balance. Most importantly, always have the users’ needs and their comfort level in mind when choosing an app.