Are you considering venturing into app development? One thing is for sure- the sector is quite profitable.
Apps have become an important part of the lives of many. Whether it be staying connected with friends and family, ensuring your health, or learning a new language or skill, there is an app out there for it all. Smart insights claim that approximately 90 percent of mobile time is spent using apps.
According to Statista, 204 billion apps were downloaded around the world in 2019. Additionally, by 2023, it is being predicted that the revenue generated from the sector would amount to 935 billion USD.
While the industry is reaping great profits, the competition in the sector is also fierce. In Google Play Store alone, there are 2.8 million apps available for download!
To compete in such an environment and to emerge as a market leader, it is imperative that your app is excellent. One aspect you must perfect is the user experience.
To truly create the perfect user experience, understanding customers by using the principle of psychology will come in handy. Here is how it can help.
Prioritize Key Elements and Keep it Simple
Despite the fact that people claim to love having choices, having too many options will increase the time to make a decision.
In the world of psychology, this is called Hick’s Law. According to the Law, the more options an individual has, the longer it takes them to decide. This generally leads to frustration and indecisiveness.
This is why menus that feature a plethora of options often confuse people more than helping them.
When it comes to the user experience of your mobile app, Hick’s Law plays an integral role. It decides whether or not your user will abandon your app. For instance, let’s say you add too many categories and options on your homepage. This will merely make the user experience more complicated and futile.
According to the insights of the Hick’s Law, the key is to prioritize the major elements and categories that need to be depicted on your app. Keep them limited. Any element that is not commonly used or needed in the app should be grouped in one sub-category.
Moreover, any process that seems complicated should be broken down into steps.
For instance, rather than having one long page for checkout, divide it into basic information, delivery address, payment method, and order confirmation. Keep in mind the dimensions of the mobile device and how people use it.
By keeping the design and operation simple and limiting the choices given, you are bound to improve user satisfaction.
Another interesting principle of psychology that comes in handy is Mental Models.
Generally, people don’t like thinking or trying too hard if they can avoid it. Instead, it is human nature to select a task or course of action that requires the least brainpower. This is where humans use mental models.
Mental models refer to the expectations of a user pertaining to a given product. These expectations are based on past experiences with similar products.
Any design that deviates too much from these expectations is not preferred by users.
This is why it is better not to over-experiment and develop a mobile app that is too different from the mental model of users. This is because by doing so, you are asking them to forget and re-learn how to use something that they already know, hence making the task more complex.
For instance, let’s say you have launched an app for your online clothing store. Generally, users expect clothing stores to be divided into categories on the basis of articles of clothing, namely, formals, casuals, accessories, and within them, trousers, shirts, overalls, etc.
To spice things up, you have divided items on the basis of collections and themes instead. This is likely to confuse customers as well as increase the time required to find the perfect clothing item.
So, keeping in mind the mental models of users, it is best to stay within the boundaries of what is known to users. You can still make your app unique even if you follow the same user experience design trends as others in the sector.
According to Econsultancy, over 88 percent of online visitors are likely to abandon a site after a poor experience. And generally, it takes less than 5 seconds to form an impression regarding the brand.
This holds true for apps as well.
Whether it be mobile apps or websites, everything is first judged by how it looks rather than how it functions. Therefore, aesthetics forms the first step of creating a positive user experience.
Psychology backs this too. According to it, the reason well-designed and visually appealing apps feature a lower abandonment rate than visually unattractive apps is because of a phenomenon called Visceral Reaction.
Visceral Reaction is an instinctive human response that we don’t consciously process. Anytime a user comes across a visually appealing UX design, a positive emotional response is elicited. This is almost instantaneous.
It is essential for your app to elicit a positive emotional response. If it fails to do, there is a chance that you will end up sending traffic to your competitors’ app.
What allows the user experience to be dubbed visually appealing? Well, here, you must use the right combination of font, colors, imagery, and design. Balance negative space with content. Choose colors on the basis of color psychology.
Here, the idea is to select colors that evoke the right feelings in customers. For instance, purple is said to showcase royalty, while red illustrates urgency. The right color scheme for your app would be the one that is best aligned with your brand image.
Use the Scarcity Principle
User experience begins from the moment a given individual considers downloading your app. If you play your cards right, you can end up ensuring that they press the download button!
A principle that can help in this regard is the Scarcity Theory. This was the subject of various studies done in the Basic and Applied Social Psychology Journal.
In the research, respondents were shown two help-wanted adverts. In one of them, the content revolved around the fact that there were a lot of job vacancies available. And the other talked about limited vacancies. The respondents were asked which company they would like to work in, and they chose the latter believing that the company is likely to pay more.
This showcased an interesting thing about consumer behavior- people are attracted to things that are limited. Anything that is rare or available for a given time is considered to be valuable.
How can you benefit from this principle?
If you are releasing a paid app, offer limited-time pricing. You can also have a freemium model by including exclusive offers for your paid members and offer a free app as well.
Understanding how consumers think and why they act a certain way can allow app developers to align their offerings to the likings of customers. The world of psychology isn’t just interesting. It is also very helpful when trying to improve the user experience.
Mehul Rajput is a CEO and co-founder of Mindinventory, a software development company that provide web and mobile app development solutions from startup to enterprise level company. His role involves heading the operations related to business and delivery with strategic planning and defining road-map for the future.