Mobile app design: user flows from baseball to Twitter
The Integrity team's advanced experience in mobile app design has provided us with valuable insights into the key elements of a successful application. One crucial consideration for mobile app design is the "user flow".
Every interaction you have ever had with an application or online product has left some form of data on it. Whether you're scrolling through social media or searching for a new couch online, you are a part of a user flow - one of the most important aspects of the user experience. User flows are essentially timelines for every user interacting with a product, and begin as early as when a user first hears about a product and looks it up online.
A successful user flow is composed of the user, their intentions and their goals. It is a simple formula that is often overlooked in favor of eye-catching graphics and flashy animations. As our experts in mobile app design will tell you, the user should be prioritized above all else. If you can determine why a user is using your application and what they want to accomplish while using it, then you already have the basis of your user flow laid out. To gain a better understanding of the user flow process, let's compare the course of a typical baseball career to the course of a user's journey on Twitter.
The Baseball Flow
Think of a baseball career as a user flow. When a player (or user) first enters the league (or app) they are given a path to follow in order to maximize their potential. The player is told that if he or she hits a certain number of home runs or steals a certain number of bases, they will be rewarded with more playing time. As the player gets more playing time, he becomes more comfortable with his surroundings and no longer needs guidance. He has a routine and knows what it takes to improve.
However, after a while, he gets bored with the norm and craves a fresh reward for his actions. The player can regain motivation by being rewarded with a playoff appearance or a batting title. These increased rewards make the goals that much sweeter to achieve and keep the player engaged in the sport.
Translating Baseball Flow into Mobile App Design
You can put those same ideas into any application to gain a better understanding of a user flow. Take Twitter as an example. Users first sign up for the app and customize their profile. They then can begin tweeting and reaping the rewards of favorites and retweets. As the user gets more familiar with posting new content, they begin to understand the algorithm and learn how to maximize their engagement.
The user then begins to grow their following by using their knowledge of the platform. After a while, the repetition gets boring and they look for a bigger reward for their commitment to the platform. The reward is the potential to become a verified user, expand their reach or in some cases receive compensation for their content. Considering the user's intentions and the opportunities for rewards throughout the mobile app design process is the key to retaining users.
In summation, a successful application involves maximizing user engagement by giving them set goals, a task-driven guide and rewarding their efforts. The next time that you use an app, think about how you would fit into a user flow and how your actions are being rewarded as you try and reach your goal.
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