Many of us have had experiences with learning apps in some form or another. And oftentimes these experiences can be frustrating. It can be something as simple as making it through the first page of a free app and then slamming right into a ridiculously expensive paywall. Or after reading a great product description you download and open an app only to find that it looks like a kindergartener designed it. But the best learning apps, whether they’re for learning math, language , coding, music, or meditation, all share the following characteristics. And these traits all tie into one another.
1. Awesome applications are always visually appealing.
It’s easy to take for granted how much appearance affects the way we view objects in the world around us. There is no sure-fire way to please every user, but if the Pythagorean Theorem has taught us anything, it’s that there are certain shapes, proportions, and symmetry that most people find pleasing.
Our brains are also experts at association. A mobile application or a website for that matter, could have exactly the information you need and want, but if it looks hastily put together or cheap there is a good chance that we will perceive the content within as less valuable and move on to the next app or website without ever investigating any deeper. When we see an attractive user interface, we are much more likely to dig a little deeper and find out what the app actually has to offer.
2. A great app will have an intuitive user experience.
All great online learning apps make use of an excellent user interface and provide a good user experience (UX). In this day and age, there is almost nothing more frustrating than a bad user experience. A not-so-great UX is often starts with the visual design. Poorly thought out colors that don’t contrast well making reading difficult and too many clickable options that make navigation confusing are just a couple of common factors seen in poorly designed apps.
Great apps effectively communicate exactly what you need from each page or section and nothing more. This means that they are streamlined to avoid any unnecessary confusion. The copywriting is clear and concise so the user knows exactly what they are getting and the icons or buttons are easy to click and set up in a manner that makes navigation intuitive and easy.
3. Top learning apps simplify complex information so that anyone can excel.
It’s hard to learn if you are confused. I remember a Spanish learning app I tried years ago that basically required you to have a Master’s degree in English to understand the Spanish equivalents. The way learning was approached with this app was very technical in nature. It used language like, ‘this Spanish word and the conjunctions of are used to introduce non-restrictive or parenthetical clauses’. I was like ok … I have to brush up on my English grammar to put anything this app is trying to teach me into context. I also quickly noted that this particular app would only make sense to a very select group of individuals.
The best learning apps don’t require you to learn other skills to be able to utilize the application successfully. They start from the beginning and teach you step-by-step in a practical manner either linearly or in phases
4. The best learning apps are fun and engaging!
If it’s boring, you are less likely to continue. This is bad for both parties. You become less likely to meet your goals, and the app makers don’t retain their users … So, it’s gotta be fun!
There are many different ways learning apps can be engaging. But it always starts with and an awesome user experience and an ability to simplify complex information. The very best apps find unique ways to make the content interactive and for online language learning tools specifically, the utilization of teachers who are not only qualified but have engaging personalities is paramount to create a fun learning environment that keeps motivated and coming back for more.
5. Great apps don’t have any hidden costs.
We’ve all been there … you are starting to get into an app and you are liking it. Maybe it cost a few bucks and you are thinking this is great! Then you finish a section and you have to ‘upgrade’ to unlock the next course. It’s so frustrating!
It usually isn’t even that it’s too expensive or that you can’t afford it … it’s the fact that you got ambushed that makes it so irksome. I don’t know how many times I have backed out and immediately deleted an app after this has happened.
The best apps online learning and mobile apps don’t hide their cost. They trust in the quality of their product instead of trying to trick you into feeling like you would have wasted a bunch of your time if you don’t pay for the upgrade they ambush you with.
6. The best apps provide measurable results quickly.
Up to this point, I have intentionally left this article free of examples. I didn’t want to pick on any of the not-so-great apps out there. I also didn’t to make this about touting the better apps available. But I have to mention a couple of awesome apps now to prove my point for this section.
Great apps drive results fast. Simply Piano had me personally reading music and playing with two-handed in just a couple of days. Rypeapp has their community of students speaking new languages in just a matter of weeks! And Calm.com gets people well on their way to mindfulness and relaxation in the very first session.
Furthermore, each one of these utilizes the six points I have outlined above. They are all visually appealing. They each have fantastic interfaces that provide an excellent user experience. They make learning simple and fun. They are upfront about their pricing, and they work well, getting you the swift results you want and need!
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