Why some apps are more useful? Task-oriented design
Every day new applications are created, old ones lose their market sense. But at the end of the day, we are seeing a steady increase in mobile apps.
No wonder, the world revolves around mobiles and apps. With such a choice, it is impossible to see the differences between them. And here the questions arise.
Why some applications are more useful than others? What is application usability? What is Task Oriented Design all about?
Cell phones, smartphones and all the rest
What a horse is, everyone can see. It’s the same with cell phones. At least until we get into mobile app design. It turns out that mobile apps are not a truncated version of web apps, but a completely different set of design, development problems, etc.
In the most general sense, mobile devices differ from computers in their physical parameters, ways of use, functionalities, and the experiences they provide.
Cells on designers, developers force a completely different approach to usability, User Experience, design, research, development, technology. We use them in very different contexts, in much more personal ways. We perform micro-tasks on them, and interactions with the device and apps are discontinuous, short-term in nature.
We treat cell phones in a much more emotional way than we do computers. Moreover, the tasks we perform on them are much simpler. They require shorter, less intensive attention. But using them, we have to be more skillful.
Functional differences come from tactile handling, limited screen space, geolocation, biometric and telecom features. They give rise to completely different expectations, feelings, sensations, emotions and experiences.
The usability of an app largely depends on understanding that we are constantly distracted by external stimuli while using it. Our attention is absorbed by many tasks. Unpredictability, variability of external stimuli make tasks performed on mobiles hurried, chaotic, more stressful.
Moreover, we expect the result of tasks to be immediate, error-free, satisfying. Not surprisingly, mobile application design should take these considerations into account in the first place.
Task Oriented Design primarily pays attention to the needs, expectations and impressions of mobile app users. From the user’s point of view, the usefulness of an app is the ability to have simple and quick interactions. But not only.
Usability of mobile applications is also about their availability on a variety of devices, operating systems. We want the app to run flawlessly, quickly and securely on any platform. To use the power of mobile devices, to guarantee the security of our data.
Task-oriented design and the resulting usability of the app, also means creating apps in accordance with trends, conventions, design standards. App design is focused on the user and their goals. And these must be achieved in a simple, fast, error-free manner.
Task-oriented design is about offering the user mobile apps to perform short-term tasks. We are actually talking about seconds here, not minutes.
Tasks requiring concentration, using large working memory resources are perceived as tiring, difficult, annoying. UI Design mobile applications must therefore be adapted to them. They are minimalistic, economical for this very reason. It is also worth remembering that useful mobile applications are those which allow you to perform a single task.
Multifunctional mobile application is not a useful application at all. User expectations are also minimalistic. Usability of an application manifests itself in a minimum number of gestures, actions, data we have to perform, enter during its use.
Specifics of mobile application design
Remember that mobile applications are usually operated with one hand. Being even more specific – mostly using the thumb. The so-called “thumb zone” must be taken into account in designing the interface, keys (e.g. their size, spacing between them).
Small screen sizes of mobile devices, the way and context of their use make mobile applications prone to errors during use. Usability of an application largely depends on the arrangement of buttons. And their layout, location, hierarchy should result from their importance and frequency of use.
Task-oriented design is a set of recommendations, design patterns. One of the general recommendations is locating the most popular, most used functions in the center of the screen. Equally important, only one function should be assigned for each screen.
On a cell phone, flawless, satisfying task completion depends on quick, easy, and intuitive access to the interface and individual function keys. The access path to these keys should be optimized so that the goal can be achieved in a maximum of four taps.
Mobile User Experience
User Experience, The user experience of a mobile device largely depends also on the sense of speed of a mobile application. Its stability, error-free. Very helpful to achieve this effect is to offer users the possibility to resume from the last activity.
Positive user experience, usability of mobile applications it is also their “logical” action. The sequence of tasks necessary to achieve the goal should be in line with the expectations, ideas, experiences of users. As users of mobile applications we are simply already used to certain solutions and do not want to learn new ones. The standard ones we want to have in every other application we install on the phone.
Communication with users is also extremely important. Task-oriented design is the skillful use of icons, symbols, characters that are readable, understandable for the user. It offers hints, feedback, messages, warnings, explanations.
Why some apps are more useful?
To answer directly and briefly – apps are created in very different ways. Often, their creation is not the result of research and accurately diagnosed expectations of their future users. They are the result of ideas and visions. And this is the shortest way leading to failure.
Usable applications are those that offer users the best experience, experience. Today, the key to user satisfaction is not only the use of task-oriented design guidelines. It is also a constant optimization of applications and use of UX Research.
Mobile application developers do not so much compete with each other by offering new functionalities, but try to offer the highest usability of applications, great User Experience.