Every company will have a unique goal and ROI for their software development project. However, two goals that should be common among development projects is to provide a seamless user experience (UX) and an intuitive user interface (UI). Users should enjoy their software experience, so that it is consistently providing value and meeting their needs.
In order to meet these goals during the development process, clients must start off by defining their target user base and determining any unique requirements they might have. A simple way to improve the UI and UX of a mobile app or software platform is to focus on two good development practices: usability and accessibility.
App Usability and Navigation
Usability can be broken down and applied to specific features of an application that can be tested. For instance, when focusing on usability and app navigation, here are a few key considerations:
- Are buttons and interactive features in a logical, expected location?
- Is it easy to navigate through the various regions of the application?
- If you clicked through all the pages of the application, would the flow make sense?
- Are all the text and features visible and readable?
Further questions may revolve around a specific scenario, such as programming the functionality of a back button. If an action in one area of the app takes you to a feature in a different part of the app, should the back button take the user back to what they were looking at previously? Or should it take the user back to the main page of the application? These types of questions represent important considerations to ensure your app interface operates in an intuitive, logical manner.
Your development team will work through these points, while also considering your input and feedback. Development teams typically maintain an emphasis on the end user’s expectations as they refine the UI.
Improving App Accessibility Through Sizing and Scaling
After general usability and navigation concerns are addressed, you can drill down into improvements for app accessibility. For a web app, it is important to test how the UI will appear on different screen sizes and devices. Different phone models will respond differently to different layouts, so you should test in both iOS and Android if your users will be using those operating systems.
Additionally, you will want to know how your interface will look and function if a user increases the zoom level to make the text and icons appear larger. How easy is it to view app features at various zoom levels? Do they start overlapping or running off the page?
This is particularly relevant for users with visual impairments or poor eyesight. Especially if you are working with a web app, zoom settings can alter the layout of an app’s UI, which will in turn affect navigation. Developing your web app layout with the potential for scaling will allow the UI to adapt to a variety of users and experiences.
Adding alt text to images and other visual features will also help to describe the content and purpose of the visuals to users who can’t see the images — whether the reason is biological or technological. Alt text can be read aloud to users that are using accessibility tools like a screen reader.
Choosing a Color Scheme with App Accessibility in Mind
It might be surprising to know that the specific colors you choose aren’t always as important as other color-related considerations for usability and accessibility. Color contrast is one element that can make or break an app experience. There must be enough of a difference between your chosen background color and the foreground colors for text, images and other app icons.
If there isn’t enough contrast between the foreground and background colors, users won’t be able to read or understand the content in your app clearly. This can lead to a frustrating or negative user experience. However, by choosing colors that are visually appealing and easy to distinguish, you will be on your way to improving the app interface and providing a positive user experience.
Button sizing is another simple way to improve app accessibility and UX. There are a number of factors and conditions that impact someone’s ability to hit buttons accurately in an app. Older users may lack steadiness or have poor circulation which can hinder navigation. Making touch targets larger than the button or element allows users to navigate without getting frustrated that the application isn’t responding to their commands. Increasing the size of tech targets is a quick way to improve the UX of your mobile app.
Buttons and links should also be spaced out to limit the chance that users may accidentally click on the wrong one when attempting to perform a different action. Also, the order and speed with which elements load can also make a difference. Have you ever tried to click on a button while the page was loading, only to accidentally click on something else as the page shifts? This can be very annoying for a software user, so it is important to consider the order that elements appear on a page.
Accessibility Apps and Software
In addition to considering usability and accessibility during the software development process, there are also certain accessibility apps that are specifically designed for users with disabilities. These apps may focus on a particular need of a user with an impairment and work to eliminate the often isolating experience of interacting with software and tools that were made for the general public. Sometimes, the real disability or impairment lies with the software itself.
These apps can serve as inspiration for your development project and help you consider how you can improve usability and accessibility in your mobile app or software development project.
Work with 7T for Your Next Development Project
If you want to optimize your application for a wide user base, the team at 7T is ready to help. We want to provide your users with a usable, navigable and accessible software solution with the best user experience possible.
If you’re ready to start a software development project, our team has put together an ebook “How to Create a Software Requirements Document,” to help you define your project scope and set your development project up for success. To discuss your software solution, reach out to our team today!