UX Guidelines

1. Defining your app's navigation

This is a guide on how to define the items in your menu or on the home page of your app. Start by thinking about all the types of users who will interact with your app and how they will be using it. How does it fit into their daily lives? What do they need to try and achieve? What are the parts of your app they will interact with most frequently? The aim of this exercise is to help you structure your app's navigation in a way that allows your users to move around as quickly and easily as possible.

These steps are based on Google Material Design guidelines for navigation.

1. List all your app roles & users

Start with your appโ€™s built-in roles. If one of the roles has more than one type of user, list all of these too.

2. List all their tasks

Start with the most important user first, and list all the tasks they have to do.

3. Group similar tasks

Note which tasks can be grouped on the same view under one header or as a part of the same flow.

4. Prioritize tasks

Once the tasks have been grouped, determine which of them need to be accessible from the home screen. Bring links to the most important tasks forward to high-level screens. If there are tasks that need to be performed in a hurry or regularly, make sure the user doesnโ€™t have to go through too many clicks to get there.

Use this to plan your home menu for the specific role, making sure every task is accounted for according to its level of priority.

If your app has more than one role, repeat this process for every role so that they can see their most important tasks first. If your app has only one role, but multiple users with multiple tasks, prioritize your home menu according to the most important tasks performed by the most important users.

2. Designing your views

Once your navigation and flow have been designed, you need to determine how each view should be laid out.

Optimize for simplicity and speed

Each view should have as little clutter on it as possible. To minimize cognitive load, try and reduce the number of decisions a user should make on one screen. Consider how many buttons you really need - if you have many buttons, ask yourself whether you are trying to do too much in one view. A good way to optimize for speed is to make it obvious what the next step should be, so one primary call-to-action on your view makes it obvious what should be done next.

One UX practice that comes in handy here is the One Thing Per Page pattern. Essentially, it says that when users need to move through a process it's better to break up different parts of the flow into its smallest elements and just have one action per page. Using this pattern will limit the number of buttons on a view and be less confusing for your user.

Optimize for consistency

If you want your users to get used to your app as quickly as possible, make sure all the components behave in similar ways across your app. If you use the list UI component to display your user's logged audits on one screen, have a similarly styled list wherever audits are displayed across your app. If an object-table is clickable on one screen, make sure it is clickable on other screens too. Your user will learn how to interact with the components you choose to use in the app, and if the way the components behave changes in different places it will cause prolonged confusion and frustration for your user.

Optimize for affordance

It is important to remember that your users interact with other apps too, which shapes the way they expect your app to work. Before selecting components for your screens, look at how other apps solve similar problems and consider which component would be best for the task your user needs to perform. Make sure your component does what it looks like it should do. The best way to check this is to find someone who has never seen your app before, show them the component and ask them what they expect would happen when clicking on it.

When choosing an icon, remember that certain icons already have certain meanings attached to them. It might be tempting to use a gear icon for a list of gears and machinery, but a gear is already associated with "Settings". Arrows should be used carefully - left and right arrows mean "Back" and "Proceed"; up and down arrows often mean "Upload" and "Download". Some icons can be ambiguous: a pencil sometimes means "Create New", but it often also means "Edit", so a plus icon may be less confusing when you want to add something new. Unfortunately, not even the most popular apps agree on what icons mean, and the same icon can mean something different to an iOS and an Android user. As with choosing the right component, the best way to make sure you've picked the best icon is just to ask someone with a fresh eye and do a bit of research online.

For more best practices in UI/UX design, you can read this UX Pin article here.

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