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Opinion

The UX secrets behind the success of 5 top apps

By June 15, 2018No Comments

Transport tools, kids’ catchup TV, instant messaging, fintech, music streaming. What ties these five disparate categories together? The leading apps in each have relied in part upon market leading user experience to help them grow their userbases.

To demonstrate how and why user experience is so critical to a successful app, we’ve identified five market leading apps that each demonstrate particular excellence in a different aspect of UX design. If you’re considering building mobile software, consider this a handy five point guide to what you should ensure is considered from the very beginning of your planning and design process.

1) Citymapper

UX Secret: Usability

Citymapper received the Grand Prix Award by TechCrunch and was nominated Best App of 2017 by Google Play Awards. Two notable achievements, so what makes this app so successful?

For Citymapper it all comes down to usability. Initially created to simply provide train times for tube commuters, the app quickly became popular and a myriad of extra features were added, from live updates to multiple transportation modes. Despite the additional features, it still remains one of the most user-friendly apps on the marketplace.

Citymapper allows a user to complete their desired goal without any unnecessary steps, irrespective of their technical proficiency. The features are abundant, but when trying to organise your travel they don’t get in the way. The less hoops to jump through, the quicker the user can access the information they desire, and ultimately the quicker they can get on with their journey. Usability is key, and Citymapper keeps it simple.

2) BBC iPlayer Kids 

UX Secret: Tailoring

The BBC iPlayer Kids app is tailored specifically for its target audience – kids. It provides content which is safe for a younger audience, matched with an interface designed to engage them.

A special mention goes out to Snapchat, successfully tailored to engage a teenage audience. It does this through a complex interface, perfect for those with a higher technical proficiency.

Tailoring ensures an app fits its audience, and both the above apps were built to size.

3) WhatsApp

UX Secret: Nativity

An app needs to be tailored not only to the user but also to the platform it runs on. WhatsApp is a prime example of how an app can be designed and developed natively for different platforms. Each variant of the app has a slightly different interface and options allowing it work seamlessly with the hardware buttons and OS of the respective device. For example, the iOS version offers great usability with iPhone’s single Home button setup.

4) TransferWise

UX Secret: Speed and Performance

10+ years ago, sending money would require most people to visit a bank. Fast-forward a few years and Internet Banking became more the norm – but this required a web browser, and therefore access to a computer. Now in 2018, with smartphones in abundance, money can be sent to anyone, in almost any location. As technology develops users have higher expectations and a reluctance to compromise on speed and performance. With TransferWise, they don’t have to. This app requires just a few seconds to send money to someone. Handy.

5) Spotify

UX Secret: User Interface

Spotify features a UI design that is well organised and consistent across all platforms. The controls are placed in the correct position and the hardware buttons work well in the hand. Music suggestions, discovery and other options are present in the right position at the right time. This allows the user to quickly and easily complete their desired actions. This is one of the main reasons Spotify is tough competition for competitors, staying ahead of the likes of Apple Music.

Building a successful and highly adoptable app requires the co-ordination of a number of key influencing factors and at ExperienceLab we spend a lot of time researching what works best for different types of app. If you are looking at building an app or looking to improve an existing offer why not contact us for a free consultation on how we can help you ensure the positive experience critical to growing your userbase.

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