So, after hours of hard work programming, you have finally released your app to Google Play and the Apple App Store, and you start receiving plenty of strangely negative reviews from people who don’t seem to be using your app as you intended it.

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Or, in another scenario, you’re working hard on your app, but before releasing it, you’re stuck on that final stage; that moment where all your ideas come together into an app that should be incredibly easy to use, but it just doesn’t quite live up to what you had in your head.

Nine times out of ten, what’s gone wrong or what’s going wrong with your app is that you haven’t paid the correct attention to the simple design basics that make using your app a pleasurable experience for your users.

And it’s not just small, independent programmers and developers who make these mistakes; some of the very worst basic usability flaws are made by the biggest tech companies.

Here are a few simple steps to make sure that your app provides the best user experience perfectly.

Programming
Photo by Emile Perron on Unsplash

What you see is what you get

This is the big one. “What you see is what you get,” or WYSIWYG, is the golden rule of software design. Simply put, a user should be able to open your app and understand exactly what they’re looking at.

Much like its sister concept, “Keep It Simple Stupid,” it’s always about making it as obvious as possible what each and every app function does, with zero ambiguity and unneeded complexity.

When it comes to design, don’t try and reinvent the wheel but allow your inventiveness to lie in what your app does rather than what it looks like. 

Word-processing apps should look like word-processing apps. Email apps should look like email apps. Dating apps, even, should look like dating apps. The layout of your app should be familiar to users, and commands should be what they used to be. 

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Get tons of user input

This one may seem obvious, but the best way to ensure your app is user-friendly is to test it on users. On a more technical level, use a beta program throughout development, especially in the later stages.

Crucially, make sure your betas are easily accessible, and channels should be as open as possible for beta users to submit feedback. And then, obviously, make sure you take the feedback on board.

On a much simpler level, once you have a working version of your app, even well before you start working out the kinks, give your app to friends and family to play with. Most importantly, remember to give it to people whose opinions you trust and who will be honest in their criticisms.

With these two simple steps in place, your app is guaranteed to be hundreds of times better than it would be without it.

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