InspiringApps Creative Director on Creating Simplified User Journeys

1 year ago
InspiringApps Creative Director on Creating Simplified User Journeys Image

Boulder, CO—In the latest article from Built In Colorado, InspiringApps’ Creative Director, Aaron Lea, shares his advice on creating simplified user journeys within digital products.

How To Simplify User Journeys

When do you know it’s time to simplify your product’s user journey?

When we design digital apps, we’re always looking for ways to simplify the user journey. Limiting the number of interactions users have to make is a best practice for most apps. The more users have to drill down into extra screens, the more likely they are to leave.

I like to think of it this way: design the app like you’re in the Target parking lot and about to go inside the store to buy Tide Pods. As a user, I want to be in and out as quickly as possible. A quick exchange that’s easy for me to use means I’m more prone to open the app the next time I’m in that Target parking lot.

It’s often the case that apps are downloaded, opened once, and then deleted. These apps are too cluttered, and people won’t reuse them. On the other hand, when users know it doesn’t take too long to accomplish a task—no guided tours they’re more likely to use the app. A simple experience is a successful experience.

Unless we’re creating something like TikTok, we aren’t designing the app to keep users in it. We’re here to help users achieve something or access a specific feature. The fewer interactions it takes to accomplish that, the better the journey.

Product User Journey Aaron Lea

What process do you use to identify opportunities for simplification?

App design is an art that involves trusting your instincts. I like to think of this process as similar to editing a script. Editors are great at identifying what’s essential and getting rid of clutter. But their real goal is staying true to what makes the script great—and amplifying that by revealing only what needs to be there.

For example, an app may have a component that mirrors the functionality of Slack or Youtube. These are established popular apps. And even the best digital products aren’t going to lure people away from them.

Any project, whether it’s designing an app or a home improvement project, can be subject to scope creep. Is that feature really needed? Was it added at the last minute?

We all get distracted in the creative journey, and the risk is that we keep getting further away from—or even lose sight of—the reason we started, the problem we wanted to solve. We need to stay true to what inspired us in the beginning to create the app.

ART DIRECTOR, AARON LEA | INSPIRINGAPPS, BOULDER CO

What are some common traps designers can fall into that result in an overly complicated user journey?

One trap is elevating ego over empathy.

If the designer doesn’t remove themself and try to see the user’s perspective, they can overly complicate the journey. Designers must constantly evolve, challenge themselves, and put themselves in others’ shoes.

ART DIRECTOR, AARON LEA | INSPIRINGAPPS, BOULDER CO

Another trap could be the designer finding a new design tool or method they want to use and deciding to use it in a particular product. Novelty is not a substitute for suitability. A good rule of thumb is, don’t force it if it doesn’t deserve to be there.

Sometimes, designers get set in their ways. Just because it worked last time doesn’t mean it will work this time too. Or conversely, designers may reinvent the wheel. If the design worked the first time, there’s no need to rethink it.

Time management is critical. With mobile apps, people remember the launch, the middle, and the endpoint. A trap could be spending too much time on incidental interstitial areas. Don’t focus all your time there. Take that time and instead pick the three most vital sections—the app’s beginning, the middle, and its exit—and make those experiences ones that keep users coming back.

Meet InspiringApps’ Creative Director Aaron Lea

We believe that Inspired Employees Make InspiringApps and that our diverse backgrounds, skills, hobbies, and perspectives are what make us a stronger team. Aaron Lea finds his inspiration steeped in pop culture, a tradition of art in his family, and a creative digital design process that enables him to put novel creations back into the world and inspire others as a result.

 



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