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Academy Xi Blog

How to design a seamless user experience on mobile

By Academy Xi

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UX Design tips for mobile experiences

The mobile-first era is here to stay – on average, users will spend over 90% of their mobile data on mobile apps. The options are endless and often it’s a customer’s experience that will determine the difference between a mediocre or top performing app. At each step of your customer’s mobile journey, these design tips will create a memorable experience and help increase conversions on your mobile interface.

At first glance

Like any first impression, looks play an important role. UX Designers should aim to leave a striking impression on your customer and ensure your customer has a positive and effortless first experience, similar to a first date, with these pointers:

  • Less is more: On mobile, you only have a few seconds to grab a customer’s attention. Ensure your app’s splash screen loads quickly and avoid overwhelming users with an overload of information. One way of doing this is to use icons to remove unnecessary text.
  • Flaunt your best: Prioritise the most essential features on your home screen. This helps a first-time customer find what they want instantly without complicated steps.
  • Keep your navigation visible: Your app’s primary navigation menu should be visible, intuitive, and coherent across the app. Make sure the menu is consistently placed in the same location.

Score a second date

According to Statistica, 20% of apps are abandoned after one use. For most customers, convenience can encourage repeat usage and conversions. Improve your customer loyalty and retention by guiding your customer through to conversion with user-centered designs. Here are some pointers:

  • Make text entry easy: It’s taxing to type on a smartphone. Where possible, leverage mobile functionality such as the camera and location services to decrease the need for typing. Nick Babich, UX Planet Editor-in-Chief, also suggests text on mobile should be at least 11px to be readable without zooming.
  • Include search options: An easy-to-use search function is helpful on mobile. Provide multiple ways to search such as keyword searches, image searches, and product scanning where relevant.
  • Cater to multiple payment options: Enable efficient payment options such as card scanning and express payment processes like Apple Pay, Android Pay, and PayPal. This will reduce the effort to complete a payment. In case of ongoing subscription fees, include an option for automatic recurring payments.
  • Allow customers to personalise their accounts: Give customers control over their data by granting access to your settings and transaction history. Spice things up by adding options for content. According to Altexsoft, “by offering an experience tailored to each customer’s lifestyle, you foster an emotional connection to an app that will result in increased retention rate.”
  • Make use of widgets and notifications: Notifications should be personal, timely, and highly relevant to the customer. Widgets should have narrow functionality that can be digested as required.

The mobile-first era is here to stay. As mobile sites and apps become an integral part of our everyday life, providing customers with an experience that helps them seamlessly complete a task is a must. Ensure your UX design is mobile-friendly to account for the unique requirements and specificity of an app. Applying UX Design principles to mobile will allow designers to optimise every facet of an app, ensuring maximum and return use from customers.

Academy Xi Blog

5 Top User Experience (UX) Design Principles

By Academy Xi

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User Experience (UX) Design is the process of understanding and designing human-centred solutions that create satisfaction. Simply put, a UX Designer exists to solve problems for real people in their real contexts — by delivering exceptional, intuitive, and seamless products and experiences.

In addition to problem-solving, UX Design takes into context the user and the circumstances in which the product or service will be used. Being a user-centric process that goes beyond executing customer feedback, UX Design aims to provide the best solution to the most number of users within a target audience.

The backbone of UX Design encompasses a person’s interaction with any digital product or service. It concerns itself with ensuring a user’s needs are met through meaningful designs and solutions. A UX Designer determines how it is that you shop on your favourite e-commerce website,  book a flight online, or navigate an internet banking transaction. Do these experiences frustrate or delight you?

So what are some of the fundamental UX Design principles that help ensure you’re designing a solution that’s on the right track?

Design Principle 1: Know Your Audience

It can be easy to mistakenly design a solution based on your individual assumptions and experience, but all design solutions should be user-centric by default. User-centric design isn’t a new phenomenon but at some point, the misconception that design equals aesthetics emerged.

Rather than focusing on just the look of a feature or solution, the core of any user-centric design is empathy; taking the time to understand the user, and design for their needs produces designs that are thoughtful, relevant, and accessible. In the context of design, empathy supersedes what you assume the user is thinking and feeling. It is an understanding based on thorough, pointed, user-research.

Typical research activities Academy Xi teaches:

  • One-on-one interviews
  • Observation and contextual inquiries
  • Personas and proto-personas
  • Customer journeys

P.S. Read our Introduction to Usability Testing or download this Ultimate guide to UX Design.

Design Principle 2: Know Yourself

Relaying the vision for a product or service can be a lengthy and often, an abstract process. When approaching the UX Design of your product, there is no room for an existential crisis. The motivation is simple: the aim of any UX Design is to improve moments with your customer’s day through meaningful digital and analogue experiences.

By providing memorable moments of interaction, UX Design plays an integral part in invoking a long-lasting relationship with your brand.

Typical visioning activities and UX Design exercises include:

  • Context and objective exercises
  • Service promises
  • Design challenge activities
  • Service ideation and creation workshops
  • Accelerated Design Thinking workshops

Design Principle 3: Know Your Customer’s World

Step into the shoes of your customer and ask:

  • Who are the people in their lives that influence their decision-making?
  • What does success mean for your customer?
  • Why do they need you? Why don’t they need you? How do they really feel about you…and your competition?
  • Where is the customer when they’re interacting with you? Where are you when your customer needs you?
  • When do we show up and provide service to our customers? When do we add value and meaningful interactions?
  • How might we provide services that make their lives better?

This is often known to the UX world as the 5 Ws and H.

Asking the right questions and knowing where to look is a key component of UX Design. Research enables the finding of hidden gems that appear outside of the assumption space.

Here are commonly used research techniques to learn more about your customer:

  • Observation techniques
  • Interviews
  • Desktop research
  • Comparative studies
  • Competitor reviews
  • Participatory design workshops


Design Principle 4: Keep Your Friends Close But Your Enemies Closer

Besides having a thorough understanding of what you offer, be clear on what your competitors are doing well (that’s your baseline), what they are doing poorly (that’s your opportunity), and what they haven’t thought of yet (that’s your point of difference).

Competition makes us all better; however, it becomes immaterial when we know ourselves and why we’re in business. By knowing ourselves and our competitors, we carve out our own turf.

  • Competitor analysis
  • Trend assessments
  • Rapid feature exploration
  • Minimum Viable Product
  • Vision setting
  • Personas
  • Customer journeys
  • Opportunity identification

Design Principle 5: Build, Measure, Learn, and Repeat

With inspiration derived from the ‘Lean Startup’ methodology, take out your pencils and sketch your ideas onto paper. Test them. Refine them. Explore more ideas. Expand concepts. Build them. Test again. Sacrifice them. Start again. Then pick something. Ideas are limitless and the barriers to prototyping are so low that you have no excuse not to play.

Things you can use through this iterative process are:

  • Paper
  • Whiteboards
  • Design Thinking
  • Participatory design
  • Rapid mobile prototyping
  • Guerilla testing

When it comes to UX, there are some basic principles that you can employ to ensure that your website or application is intuitive, user-friendly, and a delightful experience. If you’d like to know more about creating an exceptional product or experience, learn more about our UX Design courses here.