How to design a user-friendly and intuitive app? Google releases new report on mobile app UX


The success or failure of a mobile apps rests on one thing: conversion rate. Google has published a new mobile app UX report, defining the key principles and considerations when assessing mobile apps in order to identify how to improve the UX, optimize conversion and better measure app performance.

The 4 key app design principles are: Adopt, Use, Transact, Return.




Adopt – Remove Roadblocks to Usage

Splash, Tips & Onboarding

The focus at this stage is to remove all the roadblocks to usage and adoption of your mobile app. Get users to your app content as quickly as possible so that they can experience and assess its value themselves.

Set expectations immediately by ensuring the launch screen loads immediately and makes the app feel fast and responsive. Don’t waste users time at the adoption stage, before they have even tried to use your app.

A splash screen should engage users and communicate the essence of the brand, but remember to put the user in control of the app as soon as possible.

Tips / help or an onboarding sequence should only be employed if necessary – so as not to interrupt users, but guide them in their initial experience and adoption when necessary.Tips and help that are relevant to what the user is trying to do, when they are doing it, will be more beneficial to the user than a generic – and interruptive – onboarding.

Keep in mind, onboarding should be used only if it is essential and contextual help is insufficient. If your app needs to use onboarding, keep it short (maximum 3-4 screens) and try to engage the users just like in case of contextual tips. If you are using onboarding, the user should have the option to skip it.

Homescreen & Navigation

An app homescreen should provide the user with journey(s) and functionality to complete their priority tasks, and provide content that meets their needs and expectations. Navigation should

be clear, task-oriented, logical (e.g. screen controls suggest how to use it), and the navigation location (e.g. menu bar) should be consistent throughout. Only primary navigation and content should be visible by default. App display screen is limited, it is not a website and thus the company logo should not be available on every screen. Instead, reinforce your brand by using an icon or a color.

Sign-up, Sign-in & Permissions

Registration is a road-block to adoption. To provide a user experience with the least barriers to conversion, mobile apps should:

  • Provide non-signed-in journey – Users should be able to choose to ignore registration and continue as a guest, where they can sample and assess its value to them, before committing to register
  • Request sign-up “only” when it is dependent on providing value, and request minimal data, display clear benefit statements

When registering, user should be presented with multiple sign up options, namely social signup and registration with email and password. User should be able to select to reveal or hide password as they type, during sign-up or sign-in.

Use – make conversion decisions simple


The focus at this stage is to enable people to use your app in the way that they intend to. An excellent search facility will help users find what they want quickly and easily, in order to satisfy their needs and drive conversion.

If search is a primary function of your app display it prominently, as it can be the fastest route to

discovery for users with high intent to convert (e.g. in case of e-commerce apps). Provide a prompt to search, which can be a call-to-action to the user and can clarify what to input, e.g. product, brand, category, etc. Also, make use of auto-suggestions, so that values are suggested after the 3rd character.

Provide alternatives when there are no matching search results, in order not to give a dead end to the users.

Product & Service

Product screens are where users make key conversion decisions, e.g. add to basket, add to wish list, book now, call now, complete form, etc. Strong mobile app product screens enable users to quickly transact, save for later, and share the items they have to make decisions on.There should be a persistent basket or bookings symbol in the main navigation bar is easily accessible (usually top of screen, but not always) and reminds users of its contents and cost (could be itemised and / or total). It provides reassurance and simple editing of its contents.

Transact – Provide the Ultimate in Convenience

The focus at this stage is to help users progress through each checkout stage with minimal effort, with sufficient reassurance, and to convert without hesitation. Provide visible and clear messaging specific to this stage of their transaction journey, which reassures and encourages them to progress to the next without hesitation.

Maximise conversion at the final checkout stage with: the removal of all distractions (everything that doesn’t lead to a conversion decision); customer service reassurance; giving return users a single screen checkout experience; confirming the key transaction details; and contextual content that provides value beyond the immediate transaction (and contributes towards retention).

Return – Self Service, Engagement & Delight

The focus at this stage is to be useful, to engage and delight, in order to retain customers or

encourage member loyalty. Because, mobile apps are the most appropriate touchpoint for: repeat interactions and frequent transactions; customers and members already loyal to a brand; mobile first use cases (that couldn’t exist without unique Smartphone capabilities); services leveraging rich and contextual data; etc. Crucially, it costs less to retain a customer than acquire a new one.

44% customers download apps to keep track of order status. 38% customers download apps to review and manage a loyalty account. Users should be able to manage their booking in-app, and change any dimension of it. They should also be able to cancel the booking with the app.

To summarize, the text and content in the app should be easy to read, content should be accessible offline, the call to action buttons should be pertinent, the navigation should be easy and the menu easy to reach.

For more details, read the full report here.

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