Design is an important piece to the software development puzzle. DoubleDutch doesn’t just approach the design of our event app as “how something looks” but “how something works.” When building software, designers are building many moving pieces and making them all live and cooperate in the same space. Navigating the content or interacting with the user interface (or UI) to accomplish tasks should be easy for the user. Making all the elements of an app play nicely together—while being accessible and quickly understandable to the user—is difficult on a base level.
Similar to static noise you may hear on the radio while driving in rural areas, a cluttered UI creates a visual noise that makes the user’s experience less than optimal. The user’s experience with your software can be difficult—and, at times, downright frustrating—if the UI has a considerable amount of visual noise. The main culprits of visual noise are too much text, no visual balance, no hierarchy of information, and trying to fit too much into a small space.
Unfortunately we have all used a cluttered piece of software like the ones pictured to the side. The issue with the design of these event apps is that you are dropped into a visually busy screen and you have to do a lot of work and thinking to see what’s going on. If your eye is drawn to all things equally, then your eye isn’t being drawn to anything at all.
A very important thing for me to remember while we are designing our tools, interfaces and menus, is that this software is meant to be used by people attending a live event. Every live event I’ve been to, there are always a million things going on. Socializing, checking in, networking, learning, trying to find coffee. Trying to find the location of the next session while drinking coffee and toting a laptop and multiple devices and business cards and seeing someone you want to catch up with but then oh wait I REALLY need to get to that session. Now, ask your distracted users to use a mobile event app to accomplish important and/or fun tasks while being engaged at the event. All the more reason to have a dead-simple interface with minimal text and a strong hierarchy of information.
At DoubleDutch, we’ve been able to implement some elegant solutions for these pain points into the design of our event app. A user can scan the app and quickly understand what they are looking at and how they can join the conversation. We use a combination of visual cues, consistent color use, and have kept the UI clean, to quickly communicate the menu and navigation. The most crucial tasks are always one interaction away without any distraction from getting at what the user wants: social interconnectivity and fun, while engaging with the event’s offerings and attendees.
It isn’t enough to simply have a mobile event app. The real questions are: Do attendees want to use your app? When they use your app, are they enjoying the experience? And does this experience with the software solve real problems while providing a deeper and richer overall experience at your live event? The work we are doing here at DoubleDutch is answering these questions with a resounding “yes.”
So, we ask you to use our mobile event apps and put this to the test. If there’s something we could have done better, tell us. We’re constantly trying new things to make the user experience better, and it starts with feedback from people like you.