In the current digital era, it is almost impossible to ignore user tastes and preferences by developers when designing mobile applications. Considering the number of mobile devices that exist today, websites and applications should do more than being functionally OK, they need to be also friendly and easy to use. This is precisely where the recent study carried out by E — a fashion marketplace that offers unique products from small-sized local brands — can come in handy.
Known for the company’s innovative spirit, reﬂected in the app’s technological advancements such as its user-centered responsive design and AI product recommendation algorithms, E has provided public access to their study of contemporary mobile user experience (UX) preferences which provides a strong insight into the users’ preferences for mobile web design.
Introduction to the Research
E embarked on a comprehensive survey aimed at dissecting mobile navigation preferences and UX. This initiative sought to uncover the nuances of mobile usage, including preferences for one-handed versus two-handed use, thumb navigation, reachability of screen controls, and the general convenience and comfort levels of users when interacting with mobile applications. The ﬁndings of this survey are instrumental in guiding the development of more user-centric mobile applications.
Methodology and Key Findings
The methodology of the survey was designed to capture a wide array of user preferences, and although it’s an open online questionnaire one can take, most results provided are a product of guided participation. Participants were asked about their age, occupation, frequency of mobile app usage, and speciﬁc preferences regarding mobile navigation. The survey revealed several key insights, as presented in the infographic below:
- Frequency of Mobile App Usage: It was found that mobile apps have become an integral part of daily life, with all participants reporting daily usage.
- Convenience of One-Handed Use: A signiﬁcant preference for one-handed phone use was noted, highlighting the need for mobile interfaces that accommodate this preference.
- Thumb Browsing and Navigation: The convenience of using the thumb for navigation when holding the phone in one hand was universally preferred, suggesting that mobile interfaces should be designed with thumb navigation in mind.
- Diﬃculty in Reaching Navigation Controls: Many users reported diﬃculty or discomfort in reaching navigation controls at the top of the screen, indicating a need for a design shift towards more accessible control placements.
- Tapping Icons at Different Screen Locations: A preference for tapping icons located at the bottom of the screen was observed, which should inﬂuence the placement of interactive elements in mobile design.
- Familiarity with the T-Layout Concept: Only a quarter of the participants were familiar with the T-Layout concept in web design, suggesting a gap in awareness due to its recent release.
Mobile Navigation & User Preferences Survey Results at The Time of Publishing
Implications for Mobile Application Design
The survey’s ﬁndings have profound implications for the design of mobile applications. The clear preference for one-handed use and thumb navigation underscores the necessity of designing interfaces that are easily navigable with one hand. This could involve strategic placement of key navigation controls within the thumb’s natural range or implementing features that facilitate easy one-handed operation.
Reports of that kind of diﬃculty therefore call for the important navigation controls to be placed within easy reach, preferably at the bottom of the screen. This adjustment could enhance user comfort and convenience, potentially improving the overall user experience.
Further, the alienation of the participants from the T Layout concept equally points to a need for more awareness of such design concepts. T-Layout is designed to promote user experience through its placement of the important components within an easy reach and it can eliminate the main problems that emerged from the questionnaire.
Conclusion and Future Directions
By integrating user preferences in the designing process, the developers can offer applications functional and at the same time convenient as well as comfortable. E’s research provides insight into mobile user browsing preferences which indicates that the typical mobile layout offered by the majority of websites in 2024, takes improvement. A user-friendly design is one of the ways to enhance a mobile user
experience. Instagram as an example, the billion-user-tested app offers navigation controls located at the bottom of the screen, while swipe gestures provide its users with a complementary, more convenient way to access certain features such as the Content Creation and the Conversations screens.
Results from this survey set the stage for further research and experimentation such as the T Layout experiment, which is intended to help better understand and improve mobile user experience with the T Layout. As we continue to unveil what feels more natural and effortless, and what users prefer, we are able to reﬁne established approaches, tailoring services to better meet user needs and expectations, ultimately enhancing the overall user experience.
This study is a testament to E’s commitment to research and innovation. By focusing on user-centric design principles, E is not only enhancing the mobile shopping experience on its app but also contributes to the evolution of these ﬁelds by sharing insights with the community.
E began its journey in 2019 as a local denim brand based in Athens. Transitioning into a fashion marketplace in 2022, E is dedicated to showcasing handmade and exclusive items from small-scale local brands, designers, and artisans. E is recognized for supporting early-stage designers and offering a diverse range of unique fashion items.