peshkova - Fotolia

News Stay informed about the latest enterprise technology news and product updates.

Nurture your mobile UX design -- your app's life depends on it

Attention to mobile UX design is key to an app's success, but maintaining a healthy user experience requires intensive care. In this #CIOChat recap, participants share their UX and UI best practices in mobile app development.

User experience (UX) is at the heart of mobile app development -- and just as a body can't function without a healthy heart, inattention to UX is likely to send an enterprise mobile app strategy to the emergency room. In order to stay out of the sick ward, it's time to start taking intensive care of your apps' mobile UX design.

A good place for CIOs and their app dev teams to start is by studying their customers to ascertain their mobile behaviors and goals. Only then can enterprises design apps that tailor user experience and user interface (UI) models directly to them. In a recent SearchCIO #CIOChat, guest expert Bryan Barringer and fellow participants shared UX and UI best practices for enterprise mobile app development to ensure a healthy, lasting and user-centered mobile app.

What are the most important aspects of UX and UI to consider with mobile app dev?

There are a lot of aspects to consider in developing a successful application, both on the front and back end. Developers can spend too much time perfecting the back-end and neglect vital front-end development pieces -- but, as chat participants discussed, solid back-end development is worthless without proper user consideration.

First, Barringer provided his definitions for UX and UI:

UX not only is the process of improving usability and user-friendliness, but also encompasses all aspects of interaction between the customers and the company. That is why mobile UX design is a driving force in the creation of five-star apps:

One participant pointed to a mobile app's responsiveness as a key factor in determining the best UX and UI strategies:

While Barringer emphasizes the importance of mobile UX design in app development, he also touts the significant role UI plays in the success of an app. UI is essentially the look and feel of an app -- the initial impression it will make on an end user. In home-improvement terms, a poor user interface is like a newly constructed home filled with ugly wallpaper and mismatched furniture.

Barringer broke down some statistics on app downloads to emphasize UI as a key success factor (KSF) -- and did so with a Star Wars spin.

One of the more effective ways of perfecting your app's UX and UI is through communicating with your customers both before and after deployment, #CIOChat-ters said. User feedback can help developers pinpoint what's working and what isn't, and adapt accordingly.

This is in accordance with the advice of Forrester analyst Jeffrey Hammond, who recently told SearchCIO, "Learn from your customers and act on what you've learned. A high-velocity development loop is a way to move forward… By being able to act very quickly, and being able to listen to and act on customer feedback, you can engage your customers." This sentiment is echoed in our chat:

Another participant broached the subject of mobile device management (MDM) versus mobile application management (MAM) and their link to an app's reach to end users. While MDM deals with the distribution of applications, data and configuration settings and patches for mobile devices, MAM is the delivery and administration of enterprise software to end users' smartphones and tablets:

What are the most important aspects of your user interface and experience? Sound off in the comments section below.

Next Steps

For more on mobile app development, check out our other recaps of this #CIOChat on native vs. HTML5 apps and attaining a user-centered mobile design. Then head over to SearchSoftwareQuality for more tips on building a better mobile user experience.

Drunk user testing changed HubSpot's UX research

Expert advice of UX and software development

Dig Deeper on Enterprise application development, DevOps and software agility

Join the conversation


Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

How do you perfect a mobile app's user experience? Do you think UX and UI are equally important to the success of a mobile app?
The biggest challenge with mobile app users, unless we are talking enterprise customers and "have to use" scenarios, is that they (we) are notoriously fickle. If the app is useful and if it feels intuitive and easy to accomplish tasks, we will use them. If we do not, we are just as likely to look for an alternative or figure out another method that meets our needs. Those with a captive market may hear more rumblings, but they will likely just find out that their users have done an end run around their app.
Getting user feedback before and during app development is vital to creating a successful mobile app. You have to understand what your users would want to do with the app, what information they need, etc - this will ideally inform the UX. I'd argue that the #1 thing an app needs to do is work - it should look good, too, but convenience/functionality is most important. 
Perfection is a moving target. Companies that obtain users' feedback frequently and respond quickly have better chances than those aiming to hit the bullseye with one release.
I agree with the points mentioned in this post. However, I believe that in order to improve the mobile UX it is also necessary to incorporate a user-friendly support mechanism within the app. The nature of app user support to be provided depends on the type of users as well as the nature of the app itself. If your app users prefer self-help before reaching out to the support team/agent, then offering a FAQs section is necessary. However, if there are chances of more technical issues arising, it is important that a support agent is available to answer any queries or complaints the user might have. In order to get feedback and app reviews, push notifications can also be integrated. devContact ( is a support desk that is built for this very purpose. It is a support desk made for mobile applications and offers all the features I just mentioned. Moreover, it also incorporates performance analytics (of the support team) and will soon also offer social support for Twitter. All these features are offered for free and can be easily integrated with 3 lines of code. I would recommend all mobile app developers to sign up and give it a try!
- And don't forget the accessibility for people with disabilities. Apps relying only on a fancy visual might be completely unusable for a large group of customers.