Best Mobile App - From a UX perspective

What makes a great user experience in the world of mobile apps? The consensus amongst the general public would likely include - "It's beautiful", "it's really cool", "it pushes the boundaries of technology" (the last one if you're living in the Bay Area and surrounded by the dreaded start up scene). We have come across plenty of apps with these characteristics and completely disregard them after a few times of playing with them if we can't figure out how to use it. My point is, people lie about what they want...but I'll get into that in a later post about User Research. If we sat down with people and really dug into the apps that they like, we'd probably come up with a few key insights from the users' preferences - "Easy to use", "serves its purpose", and something related to "consistent quality".

But what does a UX designer think when asked, "what makes a great app?". Well luckily some really smart people at the beginning of human computer interaction and the development of user interfaces laid out what good user experience entails. Two of the most used guidelines for UX  design are Shneiderman and Plaisant (2009) and Nielsen and Molich (1990). Below is a summary of Shneidernamm and Plaisant - Think about these guidelines whenever you create anything that users will have to interact with, from a light switch to a mobile app.

1. Strive for Consistency

2. Cater to Universal Usability

3. Offer Informative Feedback

4. Design Tasks to Yield Closure

5. Prevent Errors

6. Permit Easy Reversal of Actions

7. Make Users Feel They Are in Control

8. Minimize Short Term Memory Load

Remember, these are guidelines that help build a foundation, there are still plenty of other principles out there that help users find or perceive information. One of the most famous sets of principles is the "Gestalt Principles" which explains how humans perceive visual information.

With all of these principles and guidelines, what would a UX designer say is the best app? If you read this entire article expecting the single greatest app ever, agreed upon by consensus of UX designers would be provided, then I'm sorry for leading you on. You should have known that a guy with the professional title "UI BSA" at Nike wasn't going to provide any earth shattering information to you on this topic. 

As someone diving in headfirst into UX, I will give you my honest opinion on the greatest mobile app which I believe to be SquareCash. It instantly sends cash to others with a phone number or email address, requires no routing numbers, and is the simplest app I have ever used. The picture attached to this article gives examples of the principles used in making such a great app from a UX perspective.