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Jun 24, 2014 10:30:00 AM

7 Steps to Building a Dynamic UX for Your Mobile App

Posted by Skyhook

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Every app developer is looking for a way to increase downloads, engagement, utility and repeat visitors. In order to achieve these goals developers need to truly understand what their users want and need so that they can build a dynamic user experience. Users care most about apps that are fluid and part of their lives: they are looking for value and intuition. They desire apps that make their lives more frictionless, discoverable and less annoying so that they can focus on what they really want to do. The app should be an extension of what the user needs to accomplish. But the truth is, users don’t really know what they want until you give it to them.  

So how can you build a dynamic UX for your app?

First let’s talk about what a dynamic UX looks like. Dynamic user experiences tune to the user’s skill level, adapt to the user’s location, change based on time of day, and can be different based on the user’s emotions.

1. Find out what your users really want

95% of apps are abandoned within a month: how can your app avoid this? Become incorporated into your users’ daily lives. Design to address users’ basic desires of providing an immediate outcome to their problem or need.

...where to start?

Your intuition is awesome - if you’re building an app for you. But you can’t just build an app based on what you would want - you need to build the app for your users. And in order to build it for them you need to get to know who they are. Take an empirical approach and study user behavior -- test, learn and analyze who they are with user interviews, segmentation of location and app behavior.

2. Don’t deliver everything all at once

After doing the empirical research and finding out more about what your users want, how do you deliver it to them?

Simplicity wins, not promises. Giving a user access to all the features of an app at once is too confusing and users might not know where to go first and become frustrated. This will lead to them giving up on your app. Success is built on increasing use cases.

3. Spend time building the First User Experience (FUX)

The FUX should show users what they can do with your app. It should show them immediately how the app can improve their lives. Take some time to analyze how users are interacting with your first user experience. Look at who is unlocking the modes and features of your app and how long it takes them to do it.


4. Test things in sequence

Test things in sequence and continue to unlock what users want and need. Learning about your users is a continuous process, test them with experiences and learn from their interactions. 

Don’t just build the wheels, then the body, then the car. Instead, build a scooter and let them try it, then build a bike and then build the car with everything you have learned about your users along the way.

5. Implement experience-driven UX

Move away from taking the user along the fastest path from point A to point B. Move towards experiences based on location, context, and intent. This involves that deep understanding of user behavior and a blend of data and design. And, taking a step further, delivering personalized experiences based on historical user behavior. That is, a “smart” app will recognize patterns in it’s users’ lives and deliver the experiences they need when they need them.


6. Building “Appticipation” is key

It's not enough to present the information and functionality your users want when they want it -- app now need to better anticipate their users needs and satisfy them before they take action with proactive experiences. Proactive experiences change the way users relate to and engage with an app by closing the gap between problem and solution. Personalizing experiences based on context removes the friction from your user’s journey.  Appticipation means helping users achieve higher goals and better performance that they hadn’t anticipated or didn’t know they needed.  

7. Enable In-app modes

Location-based context can enhance app UX and create dynamic experiences with in-app modes to anticipate what users will need at a time and location.  For example, a shopping app can enable “Shopping Mode” to recognize when a user enters a store and deliver content or coupons specific to the user’s environment and automatically preload that user’s shopping list from the app.  

Another example, a health and fitness app can enable “Gym Mode” to recognize when a user enters a gym and automatically preload the user’s workout routine, designated playlist, or trigger the beginning of a workout.


Users don’t know what they want until we give it to them, immediately and conveniently. And it’s hard for users to find what they want when it’s all thrust at them at once. Level up and segment experiences.

Contextual user data based on location gives your app the ability to anticipate users’ needs and helps your app differentiate in the market with dynamic mobile experiences. The next step will be a dynamic mobile home screen, where the home screen of your mobile device changes and populates apps based on location context.