Consumer facing mobile apps can be cutting edge, even edgy, bright, new, interesting and break new boundaries in user experience. Enterprise mobile apps on the other hand have fewer options in terms of what they can experiment with. Just by virtue of their function, which is not usually glamorous, these apps need to look ‘professional’ and adhere to a corporate image. But that does not mean that UX has to be sacrificed for these apps. In fact, it shouldn’t because no matter the user – consumer or enterprise user – the expectations on user experience are the same.
- The mobile app should have one primary function and it should be prominently displayed in the app home screen. The display could be highlighted using one bright color against a more subtle color palette. All ancillary functions should be hidden but easily available via navigation. Cluttering up the app makes for a bad user experience and low usage. Adding a little bit of ‘color’ to highlight important functions makes for better usability.
- The mobile app should use newer navigation trends to perform an action. Flipping pages in a sales catalog is a good example. It is catchy and pleasing and adds that bit of zing that users love. Or swiping left, swiping right to perform an action is also something that users recognize and adapt to quickly versus tapping a button to do the same thing.
- Another new trend is layering. Adding layers to present more information serves several purposes. It provides an illusion of depth, creates a relationship between objects – think of an icon that shows the notes on a page as a layer on top of the original screen containing the note. And last but not the least, it looks good.
Let us take a timesheet app as an example. Employees fill timesheets – an onerous but necessary task that no one loves. So here is how we can apply principles here to make the experience easier.
The most important function of the timesheet app is to have user enter hours. The app should have only one prominent icon that the user taps and the entry sheet shows up. Other functions like modifying the timesheet, approving it etc. should be hidden but navigable.
Moving across timesheet periods should happen via swipes to go back and forward in time. No selectors to select time periods.
To view a timesheet project, tapping on the project name, would display the project information on a visual layer. Compare it with the alternative where a new screen comes up with the project information and the user has to go ‘Back’ to the original screen by tapping a button or icon.
Small things go a long way in building a successful app and improvements to user experience is one of them.
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