The App Market Continues Remarkable Growth
However, that does not mean that phones will look the same. The smart devices are evolving faster than ever, expanding existing markets across the globe. Demand for the newest devices is the only constant. According to the 2015 Pew Research Center study, cell phone users jumped from 35% in 2011 to 68% in 2015. This huge growth in smart device users means an increase in demand for apps, a definite plus for app makers.
What’s the downside? Yes, with exponential growth and innovation, problems are inevitable, and like all of the big time entrepreneurs, app developers will always be hard at work discovering disruptive solutions.
Huge increases in demand also mean an influx of new apps constantly entering the market as well, which makes it extremely difficult attract new users, let alone retaining them.
For most startup app developers, the reality of the marketplace is harsh. Few new apps will take off immediately. Even when installs start trending, they mean nothing until you see the number of uninstalls.
In 2013 Compuware studied the actions of users who downloaded apps, and the results were staggering for developers. Researchers found that nearly 90% of apps downloaded are opened once and eventually uninstalled. Your newest app might belong to this discarded group. But, developers have a difficult task in trying to anticipate how a globe of users will like their app.
Connecting with potential users who you do not even know is a challenging process and requires creativity. You can do it, however, if you tap into your uniquely human ability to empathize with other people. This connection requires both the imagination and critical thinking skills.
Empathy means that you are able to sense what other people feel and think, just by using your imagination and your ability to make logical conclusions about what you have observed. According to Julia Sipovich, UX designer at Intellectsoft, “Empathy is the key to understanding how users are reacting to your app.” Julia, who has worked with the likes of L’Oreal, Harley Davidson, Eurostar, states that most often app makers focus too much on the big picture, rather than the simple things that irritate their users. Taking on the point of view of other people alters your perspective and allows you to anticipate why users might become irritated and uninstall your app.
Reasons Why Users Uninstall Apps
Using empathy in this way is challenging, but many experts offer free help and advice on how to accomplish it. The first step, is to analyze your audience, using your imagination combined with advice from professionals. According to Inc.com, it’s critical to avoid overwhelming the user with too many features all at once. Other problems he includes are:
- Lacking content in the app. This is simplification and minimization in the extreme, both positive features, but you also need enough material for the user to work with something.
- Glitching and technical problems drive away the most users.
- Failing to show the value of your app upfront and quick.
- Requesting too much information at startup. Name, email, and password should be sufficient to get started. Save the detailed information for check out or sign up.
- Annoying ads that just won’t go away. Don’t make your reader mad by flashing, rotating, and repetitive ads. No one is going to click on them.
Advanced Strategies to Keep Users Engaged and Onboard
As the developer, you have to resolve these issues before they meet the user. This requires you to get to know your users intimately, design for them, and test, test, test on real users. This section is specifically designed to give you actionable tasks that you can implement in all phases of the design process.
When you plan your app, think closely about the end user. At every stage of your design process prior to launch, to anticipate and prevent problems users might have with your app.
In particular, focus on these 8 areas that will keep your users coming back to your app daily. Your goal is to develop a content and happy base of users, so these tools will help you accomplish your objective:
- As the users enter your app for the first time, you have to be careful not to overwhelm them with too many features and too little guidance. Because you developed the app, you know all of the intricate details of what the app can do and how to make it happen. New users, however, have a sharp learning curve when they first begin to try out your app. They may give you only 1 to 5 minutes to persuade them that they can make your app a valuable part of their daily experiences. Nurture the new user as you would a young student learning a new type of math problem. Baby-step them through the set up and initial use.
- Guide your users through the best and most productive features of the app, emphasizing with text or audio the vision that you had in designing it for individuals. You must help the user to see the value proposition fulfilled – that they have received what they were promised. Avoid covering every feature, but emphasize the ones that will really benefit users the most. Create a smooth and simple login so that users are not frustrated by registration problems (including the use of 3rd party apps that make a clumsy or dysfunctional login).
- To assist you in discovering the needs and potential problems of users, write down a user persona, a detailed list of important characteristics of your buyer. Think about the broad user demographics that you should design for such as languages, countries, and cultures. On your list include details of the needs and wants of the end user before they meet your app. How does your app meet those requirements? After using your app, how will they think and feel? If the answer is that the user has not been made better off, your app has failed.
- Follow an established Graphic User Interface (GUI) throughout the structure of the app. In other words, the way that a single user interacts with the app through controls and features should be easy and consistent throughout the user’s experience. Be concerned both about the aesthetics and functions throughout the experience. Establish consistency of common design features, names, and concepts.
- Minimize intrusive and annoying ads, especially those that are too forceful in drawing the users eyes to them. Sure, you’ll get them to see the banners and maybe even click, but most will just be pissed off be excessive ads. For me, ads are the biggest distraction
- Include default values in blanks to fill in in order to clarify what is wanted. This may seem nitpicky, but I had wasting my time trying to figure out what information is wanted and why. For example, a username and email is enough for me to loose my mind trying to tap out the keys on my tiny little iPhone. Frustrating the user will send them running from the app.
- Design for responsive features that work with all screen types. This point seems obvious, but I notice it a lot with websites that have not up upgraded to become responsive to all screen types. You know as well as I that a good number of sites don’t have mobile versions. It is annoying as an end user.
- Make click targets large, easily seen and clickable. I find it tough to trigger any feature with the click of my fat fingertips, so make important click areas large and noticeable.
You put your heart, mind, and hands into your awesome apps, so don’t letter minor features cause all your labor to go to waste. Enhance your empathic skills, and improve your apps.
How about you? Do you have any features or flaws that you hate in apps? Add to my list in the comment section, and I will respond to comments.