22 july 2018

7 Best Practices to Overcome Mobile App Usability Issues

Fazil  |  Backend Developer

To make your mobile app user experience (UX) genuinely seamless, everything from onboarding to checkout needs to work correctly. Usability is a big part of mobile app development and plays a major role in creating user experiences that are efficient, pleasant to use, and enjoyable. Overlooking something as simple as navigation on a mobile app can impact the UX negatively, which will be the difference between a returning user and a deleted app. Put simply, if your app is useful and valuable to the user but requires a lot of time and effort, people won’t bother learning how to use it.

What is Mobile App Usability?

Many people confuse UX design with usability and vice versa. However, mobile app usability is an aspect of UX that plays into the overall relationship between user and product. UX defines all aspects of a user’s perception of a mobile app, including usability. Mobile app usability is concerned with the effectiveness, efficiency, and simplicity of achieving goals within the app.

Mobile app usability promotes learnability. A successful mobile app should be intuitive. It should take very little time for a user to achieve a certain degree of familiarity with the interface. If a user encounters an issue, a solution should be easily retrievable. Use onboarding to guide users through the mobile app to enhance usability, as well as recover from errors.

Mobile App Usability Requirements

Many factors contribute to a mobile app’s usability that will impact the overall efficiency and effectiveness in which a user completes their goal. A usable user interface should have three primary outcomes:

  • Mobile app usability makes it easy for the user to become familiar with the UI
  • It should be easy for users to achieve their goal when using the app
  • Usable apps need to be error-free. If your app doesn’t work to begin with, the rest of your UX elements will not matter

In a world dominated by smartphones, finding a way to interact and engage with customers is becoming increasingly important. While the user interface is a crucial part of the UX, usability should always take precedence. If an app is aesthetically pleasing but difficult to use, the overall user perception of your app will be negative. Here are 7 mobile app usability issues that are often overlooked in mobile app development:

1. Platform Usability

A common frustration for mobile users is not having an app that works for their specific model of smartphone. Android and iOS, for example, are two drastically different platforms.


You can’t simply clone an iOS app for Android and vice versa. Each operating system adheres to entirely different programming, design, and interface considerations. For example, navigation for each platform differs dramatically. iOS, for one, doesn’t have a device “back” button like Android. For optimal mobile app usability, your app needs to incorporate a clear and consistent way to go back on every screen.


With that in mind, you should create your app to have a native feel so your users can interact intuitively. It’s a good idea to budget for this so you can optimize your app for the most common Android and iOS smartphones.

2. Provide Value Right Away

If you want new users to return to your app, you need to make sure that they discover the value early on, preferably during the onboarding process. If you don’t convince users to stay within the first week, you’re likely going to lose them forever. Millions of apps saturate the market, all of them competing for user attention, so it’s critical to make sure you offer immediate value.

3. Simple Navigation

One of the main issues that users have when using mobile apps, particularity m-commerce ones, is poor navigation.

When a user first downloads your app, they need to clearly understand how to navigate to complete their goal, whether that’s booking an appointment, purchasing a product, or finding information. This means that your navigation should have as few barriers as possible. Many apps include unique features but struggle to fit them together in a way that makes sense for the user. The navigation should be comprehensible for the user so they won’t end up lost on a random page.