Important user phenomena that play a crucial role in UX design

No app is created to exist in isolation. Developers and designers always seek to build a mobile app to serve target users. They do so by visualizing an average user session.

However, the gap between such visualizations and actual user sessions tend to create design problems. It is naturally not easy to accurately predict user behaviour. There are actions users perform consciously.

However, there are various actions and expectations that are subliminal.  To understand these actions and expectations, developers and designers have to delve into user psychology in order to understand them.

App creation is not a big challenge anymore thanks to the widespread use of mobile app builders. Tools like AppMySite help users to create a WordPress mobile app without writing any code. The next challenge in the field is offering top-notch user experience. Meeting this challenge means understanding the deep-lying reasons which control user behaviour on mobile apps.

You don’t need a degree in psychology to understand these deep user phenomena. It is however necessary for you to study notable user phenomena and implement changes in UX design based on the same.

This piece provides an overview on some popular user phenomena that play a crucial role in UX design.

Table of contents

● #1 - Choice paradox - Limit number of options

● #2 - Peak-end rule - Optimize abandonment points

● #3 - Speak-easy effect - Write easy UX content

● #4 - Goal-gradient effect - Display user progress

#1 - Choice paradox - Limit number of options

One of the many taglines we hear during product development is ‘providing users more choices’. Many of us believe end users like to have a lot of options. This assumption is partly driven by the mega-size of major platforms like Facebook.

The size and various features of these platforms make us assume superflousess of choice is everything. Let’s take a moment to look at the home screen of the most popular platform of the digital age.

Source: Google

Google doesn’t provide a large number of choices It’s main action area is a simple search bar. This underlines the value of simplicity.

Users don’t like options. This is because options require thinking and analysis. Most people prefer to use mobile apps based on pure instinct. The choice paradox simply gives literature to a common user phenomenon. Users prefer to use mobile apps as water travels in a pipe. Adding too many choices at every step dilutes their attention and motivation.

Let’s take an example. Why do mobile apps mostly offer social log-in options for Google and Facebook alone? There are many other prominent platforms such as Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, Instagram, and so on.

The reason is simple. Offering all these options will confuse the user and disrupt user onboarding. It thus makes more sense to only offer Google and Facebook log-in options as they alone will cover a majority of incoming users.

#2 - Peak-end rule - Optimize abandonment points

App churn is a common reality. If many people download an app, some of them will uninstall it at some point as well. Some percentage of app churn happens due to highly subjective reasons such as storage savings or slowing device performance. There is no way to control such app churn.

The peak-end rule simply means asking users for feedback when they initiate uninstallation. This rule is slightly difficult to implement in a mobile environment because users can uninstall apps without opening them.

App companies should then simply contact their app users through email or any other medium for feedback. This experience generally makes users question their experience using the app. Companies can gain useful insights from abandoned users while also making them feel wanted.

#3 - Speak-easy effect - Write easy UX content

Unfamiliar names and options are never a good idea. Let’s take an example and assume you turn WooCommerce website to app for Android and iOS. You want to do something new with your app CTAs.

Instead of adding ‘Buy Now’ and ‘Add to Cart’ buttons, you instead create new buttons titled ‘Make Purchase’ and ‘Send to Basket’. You only do this as a way to stand out amongst other ecommerce apps.

It doesn’t take a genius to realize these CTAs won’t work. There are some instances where doing something new can really help your app. There are other instances where it makes sense to work with tried and tested norms. CTA texts are an example of the latter.

It is wise to stick to simplicity and clarity. The speak-easy effect implies the same. Developers and designers should make app usage easy by simplifying UX text. Users like to feel confident and in-control when using an app. Unfamiliar buttons are only likely to make them nervous and unsure. This will inadvertently lead to lower user retention and session duration times.

Study the general UX texts used in any given niche and set up your CTAs around the same. Do not chase innovation and uniqueness in areas where it’s not needed.

#4 - Goal-gradient effect - Display user progress

There are various instances when apps need to make users go through a long process. This generally happens during the user onboarding process when apps need certain information from users to personalize app experience.

Avoiding such processes is unavoidable at times. One way of making this process more bearable for users is providing a progress bar. This bar basically shows the progress users make while going through a process. Take Quora as an example.

Source: Quora

Quora needs certain topical preferences from incoming users to customize its final content feed. The process takes time and naturally puts off users. Adding a progress bar at the top gives users the context they need to perform the necessary actions.

In conclusion

Understanding user phenomena is the only real way to truly enhance app experience on a deep level. The effects and habits discussed here provide an interesting insight into user psychology. Professionals designers have to gradually learn the essentials of such phenomena in order to create truly resonant app designs.

This piece covers common user phenomena that have an impact on UX. The subjects covered are not exhaustive by any means. Nonetheless, this is a good place for UX designers to start optimizing app design.