Apps are an integral part of the digital landscape, evolving from simple utilities to sophisticated platforms that help all of us – from school children to residents of assisted living facilities – breathe a little easier.
There are literally millions of apps available for download at any given time and there are a myriad of criteria for downloading one app over another. Still, one criterion you always want to keep in mind is user-friendliness because it’s often the difference between full utilization and a waste of storage space.
How can you tell? Here are 4 features of a user-friendly app.
A responsive layout is the reason why an app looks and functions well across various devices and screen sizes, including smartphones, tablets, and desktops; using techniques like fluid grids, flexible images, and CSS media queries to adapt an app’s design and content to different screen resolutions and orientations.
Such design prioritizes content, rearranging or resizing elements as needed to maintain usability and readability on smaller screens. It means you don’t have to suffer things like horizontal scrolling, overlapping elements, or tiny unreadable text on mobile devices.
Consistent User Experience/User Interface (UX/UI)
You want the visual and interactive elements of an app to remain uniform and predictable throughout. Otherwise, imagine navigating inconsistencies and mental models of how an app works to the point of confusion.
Visual consistency means the use of the same color schemes, typography, and design patterns across all screens and interactions. It also means being able to rely on consistent navigation menus, button placements, and interaction patterns.
Accessibility features are not only a best practice but also often legally required. Plus, they can be incredibly useful.
For example, keyboard navigation allows users to interact with an app using only a keyboard, alternative text includes descriptive alt text for images and icons for users who cannot see them, and focus indicators make sure interactive elements are highlighted clearly when navigated using a keyboard or screen reader.
Things go wrong in apps often enough to look out for error handling. Error handling is how an app deals with mistakes or issues that users might encounter. User-friendly apps go beyond simply displaying an error message and calling it a day.
- Clear error messages, including concise error messages that explain the problem and suggest a solution if possible
- Error prevention, where validation checks are implemented to catch errors before they occur, such as validating user inputs in forms
- Logging and monitoring, where errors are logged and monitored on the backend to identify and fix recurring issues proactively
Downloading user-friendly apps is not merely a matter of convenience; it’s a decision that now significantly affects your digital experience. If nothing else, it’s the difference between frustration and ease so keep these features in mind next time you’re looking to download a new app.
You might also like our TUTEZONE section which contains exclusive tutorials on making your life simpler by using technology.