Our first impression of any application is wrapped up in aesthetics — the color, the font, the layout. But when crafting an app for any purpose or industry, you also have to make sure that it's usable. Hence the growing field of user experience design.
User experience design (UX) is a methodology that emphasizes the importance of easy, intuitive usability for any interface, including apps, websites, and software. From its foundations, UX design incorporates components such as information architecture, AI tools, and accessibility to smooth your users’ path around an app. After all, if your user can’t use it, is there really a point?
Unfortunately, effective UX design is not always so easy to put together. Often we encounter apps that skew too far in one direction or another — either sacrificing ease of use for a fancy finish, or focusing too much on the practicalities and ending up with an interface that’s boring, plain, and uninspiring.
The best option is to follow the middle path, equally emphasizing both. Embracing the marriage between form and function, the ideal UX design will simplify tools and processes while maintaining a sleek, brand-appropriate look.
Why Brand Your App
Of course, the best apps deliver real value to users. But at their heart, almost all apps are also marketing tools. So if you aren’t using this opportunity to appeal to users with a few on-brand flourishes, you’re missing half of the advantage for your business.
It’s only logical. If they don’t know who you are, what you do, and what to expect from your services or products, why should they choose you over the many other choices in the hyper-competitive, over-crowded marketplace today?
Branding makes a difference.
“Branding,” like user experience design itself, is a concept that gets ping-ponged across the digital realm so much that it can begin to lose meaning. For the consumer, a brand is a thing of trust, dependability, and reputation. Branding helps them understand — and hopefully, remember — what a business does and why it does it well.
Think about branding in the fast food industry. When you’re tired, hungry, and in need of a quick-fix meal, you’ll probably end up seeking out a familiar brand that you already know. Why? Because you understand what you’re going to get and have faith that it’ll be what you want or need.
You’re less likely to pop over to a you’re less familiar with, even if it’s virtually identical. It may be a waste of your money, a waste of your time. You may not get what you want. An unfamiliar brand is a mystery, and when you’re feeling the pinch of need, “mystery” isn’t a risk you necessarily want to take.
That’s the power of branding. But this concept isn’t limited to your local McDonald’s. A robust brand elicits loyalty and repeat business from consumer bases across industries, including in tech and web design. So if you can establish that recognizable touch of branding in your user experience design, your returning customers will begin developing implicit trust and faith in your app, making it an easy default choice over the apps of your competitors.
Don’t Forget Functionality
So, what about that usability and accessibility we were discussing earlier?
You don’t want to lose smooth functionality in the quest for brand recognition. What is the point of investing so much time, energy, and capital into pumping up your brand if your UX doesn’t welcome (and retain) new users?
Getting it right the first time is vital to the UX of any thriving digital medium. Remember what we were just saying about trust in branding? Treat them right, and your user will continue to come back for more.
The caveat being, it does work the other way, too. If users have a horrible experience because of eye-boggling aesthetics, unclear menu paths, or accessibility issues, you could potentially lose them forever. According to Amazon Web Services, 88% of polled customers have, at some point, chosen to not give a company their business again after only one bad user experience.
Seems the old adage is true as ever: you don’t have a second chance at a first impression.
Deliver Great UX, and Look Good Doing It
Ultimately, both technical UX and solid branding are essential to a complete, well-executed experience design. Users want intuitive navigation, but they also want to check into eye-catching apps, platforms, and sites.
Right or wrong, statistically, most users do “judge a book by its cover,” so to speak. In fact, as per recent studies, 75% of a user’s experience is based on aesthetics alone. If you look good, users will likely think you are also good at what you do.
Just as with our fast-food example, the app market is made fiercely competitive by the variety of options available to users. You want to make sure your app is synonymous with the need it fulfills, so the next time users are hungry for your genre of product or service, your app is the one that comes to mind first.
But make sure your branding works with your apps function and structure, rather than against it. Overcomplicating an app with unnecessary bells and whistles can intimidate your users—especially first-timers who may still be finding their way.
What to Do (and What Not to Do)
- COLORS: Maybe your brand colors are in a dramatic neon palette. Use them as powerful accents, but don’t overwhelm users’ eyes with a riot of aggressive, unwelcoming aesthetics. Sometimes, less is more.
- FONTS: Perhaps your signature font is stylistic but clumsily integrated. Don’t use a hard-to-read font — no matter how cool-looking — for an important disclaimer or fine print. No one is going to “keep reading to learn more,” and then you’ve lost them. (Thinking back to our earlier statistics about bad experience design and first impressions, it’s more than likely they’ll not be returning, either.) Long story short, use eccentric fonts only in a few strategic places around your app.
- IMAGES: Infographics, charts, and well-composed pictures of your products or services can be great to incorporate into your UX. But if there’s too much of them, your app will come off cluttered, over-stimulating, and chaotic in appearance. Users will first be confused, secondly intimidated, and thirdly left wondering: “This app doesn’t even look good. How will it be able to satisfy my needs?”
- VERBIAGE: Wording the text for your app can be a fine line to walk, as you don’t want to talk down to users or fly over their heads. Of course, you can and should infuse your brand’s personality into the copy, but try to keep your communication clear and direct, so users can easily find their way around your app to the services they need. This can include the titles you choose to use for different sections or menu items. For example, while it may feel elegant to group your announcements under the word “Nouvelles,” users who don’t speak French will find your news items hard to find.
Remember, you don’t have to sacrifice the users’ experience just to look cooler or more cutting-edge. Focus and emphasize the balance of “coolness” with “ease of use.” By putting comfort and control in the users’ hands, you’re warmly inviting them to use your app again and again.
Ticking Every Box with the Help of User Experience Experts
In the delicate tug-of-war between visuals and a functional interface, you may be wondering how to keep your app on the right track. After all, we’ve barely touched the surface of critical UX considerations like menu structure, customer journey, and AI tools. So, what’s the best solution to reliably produce an eye-popping, user-friendly app that ticks all the boxes for high-quality UX?
The answer: partnering with experienced developers who can interpret and reimagine your brand standards into an effective, one-of-a-kind app.
Welcome to CodigoDelSur. We’re not your average creative agency. We stand out, we transcend the crowd, we kick it up to 11. And we can show you how far above average your app’s UX can be, too. Our 100+ team of coders and developers pair best practices with unique aesthetics to capture your brand’s je ne sais quois, so you can stand out in any industry.
With years of experience and growth, CodigoDelSur knows what it takes to perfect your experience design. We know branding; we know aesthetics; we know usability, accessibility, and user habits. We know how to capture your audience’s attention and keep them coming back for more. And, most importantly, we know how to collaborate with and support our partners to ensure you get the look, feel, and results you’re seeking.
Ready to contact us and take that next step forward into better UX, better KPIs, better ROI, and better performance acronyms across the board?
Right now, your brand’s perfect app is waiting just out of reach. Luckily, we have the tools, experience, and enthusiasm to get you there. With CodigoDelSur, you’re only a click away from a user experience design that will rock your world — and your customers, too.