How to Create Hi-Fi Prototypes for Mobile Commerce Apps
When talking about prototypes we think about a simulation of the final product that is an essential part of every designer’s work. In a nutshell, prototypes can express ideas that words struggle to. Prototyping is an important part of all stages throughout the design process and your designer should do it as early and often as possible.
There are three main types of prototyping, but in this article, we will focus on two of them- low and high fidelity and their benefits. Being a critical step in every design process, prototyping phase brings not only speed, but also further design evaluation and feedback in early stages of the project.
Whether you’re designing a website for desktop or a mobile app, you have plenty of innovative tools on the market that can help you test your work, from InVision, Framer and Marvel to Proto.io. In fact, we’ve witnessed the rise of in-app shopping with conversion rates three times higher than mobile sites.
In this article I will examine how to make an app prototype, if you are still unsure how you can increase commerce conversion rate through a mobile app. I will also go through benefits of different types of prototyping and review some of the mobile app UI design tools.
Low and High-Fidelity Prototyping
Prototyping results in better understanding of the design and helps people involved in the project overcome issues at early stages. There are ongoing uncertainties on how much of your final design the prototypes should reveal. You can get your ideas across with different kinds of prototyping- low and high fidelity.
Good old pen and paper, because that’s what low fidelity prototyping really is. The process is quick, won’t require the fanciest tools and can minimalise the costs of work. With new software available to photograph the sketches, designer can turn paper into interactive prototypes in no time. Accessibility and real-time interactions offered by low fidelity prototyping belong to the list of benefits that this process has to offer.
To receive more control over the designs and demonstrate the functionality at its fullest, high fidelity prototypes come in to show off those animations. High fidelity prototypes are more presentable, interactive, give a more accurate idea of how the final product is going to look before it goes live and can test many different components of the project from navigation to engagement and animations.
Ecommerce App Prototyping
There are two main ways for consumers to make purchases using their mobile devices- from websites or directly from apps. You probably have a mobile-friendly website in place and if you’re reading this you must be considering building an app that increases conversion exponentially.
Generally speaking, mobile is the future of eCommerce. The majority of the time we spend on our phones we spent using different apps. In fact, some of the mobile shopping statistics say that 53% smartphone users buy from company-specific apps and their conversion rates are three time higher than mobile websites. Saying that, is still not too late to optimise your site for mobile, invest in building an eCommerce app and grow your revenue.
Mobile-app usage keeps growing year-on-year and has noted the highest conversion rates. Some of the reasons why consumers prefer using mobile apps rather than scrolling through mobile sites are speed and convenience, followed by:
- Easy way to find better deals
- Saved setting and preferences
- Rewards and Loyalty Programs
As more and more shoppers buy on the go using their mobile devices, they also tend to complain that it takes slightly longer to complete the purchase on mobile than it does on desktop. This is why busy people reach out to mobile apps, which is a better, faster and innovative way of shopping.
Now that you have an idea of effectiveness and return on investment that mobile apps can bring for your business, we can cover some basics if it goes to eCommerce app prototyping, so your designers can plan ahead and deliver some outstanding user journeys.
The entrance to your store, your homepage is where your potential customer usually lands on. You know what they say- “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, but this unfortunately does not work in a digital world. Your homepage can determine how users feel about your brand, products and the whole shopping experience.
There are 3 main things you should consider when prototyping an eCommerce app and a homepage: Speed, Functionality and Design. On-the-go users doing their last-minute shopping expect simplicity and clear call to actions that help them find the right information faster.
Avoid adding unnecessary buttons and details, just keep it simple to make sure information on your homepage is visible yet engaging users. Using different prototyping tools will help you structure your eCommerce app and align all UI element in the right way.
Seamless navigation is a key element of increasing conversion rate through your eCommerce mobile app. Unlike desktop websites where user can browse mega menus, apps don’t have that much space to play around with.
To reach that consistency you need to define the user flow and take into consideration different scenarios. Creating screens that will link together is the best representation of a user flow and you can easily reproduce those while working on the eCommerce prototype. Your navigation should be pretty straight forward and accessible rather than memorable, which can unnecessarily overcomplicate the whole experience.
3. Log and Sign In Process
No one likes going through too many questions and filling up the form when signing up to a new platform. Your customers expect to complete the purchase pretty fast, considering they are using their mobile device. On smaller screens, simplifying the whole process is more important than you think.
Try asking for essentials only and make sure all items fit on the page. If the form contains too much information, divide it into a few simple steps. Be specific and help users understand what has to be done, rather than playing a guessing game. Try displaying an error message if incorrect details have been entered, which can set them in the right direction and won’t leave them frustrated.
4. Shopping Cart
Here we are, the place where your customer makes a final decision whether to complete a purchase. To avoid cart abandonment, you need to carefully plan for a pleasant experience. Give the user a chance to easily return to the shopping cart at any stage, as well as go back to browsing products.
Navigation is key, that is why call to actions should be visible and always accessible to your customers, especially when decision making process takes its place. Make sure the shopping cart is responsive, because there is nothing more frustrating that seeing a disturbed layout, which may also result in less conversions.
5. User-friendly approach
Remember, the customer comes first. Apart from a beautiful design that helps users find information with ease, keeping them engaged throughout the whole experience is a real conversion booster. Imagine that you’re having a constant dialogue with your customer, just like a sales advisor has with the in-store customer.
If you want a user to experience a consistent flow through your eCommerce app, you need to ensure that app doesn’t crash in the decision-making process and that customer’s information is stored, so they can easily access it in the future.
Nowadays eCommerce highly depends on mobile and it is a place where conversion happens, with no doubt. With endless benefits brought by eCommerce mobile apps, your main focus should be building an app that drives conversion through seamless user experience, and that is why prototyping is an essential and very important stage of any design process. Following this simple guide will help you plan ahead and create prototypes that will engage you users and drive more revenue. Go ahead and try out multiple tools and find the one that works best for you and your teams.