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Avoid These UI/UX Mistakes to Improve Mobile App Retention

Posted on 8.17.2016

:: By Ashesh Shah, Fusion Informatics ::


It is hard for marketers to see their app's user retention rate falling with time. The reasons, however, may lay within their app user interface (UI) or user experience (UX) design.

Addressing flaws related to UI, can help enterprises avoid mistakes impacting their overall UX, and sabotaging retention.

1. Permissions scare users away

When you ask for permissions upfront, it could be quite overwhelming for first-time users. Users have just started using your app for the first time, and asking for permissions, allows them to question your credibility. Throwing too many questions, for accessing personal and other account details, allows them to think twice before actually using the app. These app permissions include - getting access to contacts, asking for push notifications, accessing smartphone camera, scanning user location, and more.

Handling the situation

Ask permissions at right time, backed by a proper justified explanation. The best time to do this is asking for permissions at the time of using a feature (like accessing the phone's camera roll to edit a photo or accessing contact list to refer friends). At this point, users clearly understand the need, and hence do not hesitate to grant the permission. App permissions are not a hurdle, as it seems. In fact, app permissions are a great source of providing optimal experience to the users, based on the information they provide. 

2. Providing no hints leave users puzzled

Users are confused at many points within an app. Especially, when no help is available in the form of informative text, captions, or a help manual. It is important to have hints placed at relevant places, on every single app screen.

Handling the situation

Insert a text box, containing text resembling a caption, and providing hints on what to do. This not just educates users regarding functionality, but also act as a source of user-friendliness, when users can do things with ease.

As an example, Lyft asks for permissions, in the form of simplified text, informing users about the consequences (like payment or ordering), if they click on individual call-to-action (CTAs) buttons. This is great because users have a clear idea, whether to click CTAs or not.

3. Missing the repeat value

If your app provides features for an occasional use, then there is a high probability that users will either forget about your app, or not bother to check after days together. Going by statistical facts, most apps lose 90 percent of users within first month, and 95 percent within three months of download.

Handling the situation

Offer features requiring daily signing in from users. Your app should be full of functionalities, forcing users to make it a daily habit. If your app proves to be highly useful personally or professionally, users are lured to open your app on a daily basis.

As an example, Skype has grown professionally rapidly. The first thing people do when they arrive at office, is logging into their Skype account for an internal communication within their peers. On a personal level, people staying far off, prefer to use Skype regularly, for connecting with family and friends.

4. Too many features can be overwhelming

Having over-the-top features slows down your app, and even makes it difficult for users to locate the best suitable features for reaching their goals. It is unnecessary to club all the features in one single app, just because you want to compete with others.

Handling the situation

Just have relevant offerings in place, while omitting the irrelevant functionalities. Try to analyze the needs of your target audience, and accordingly incorporate generic features dealing with all types of user needs. 

5. Long tutorials are tiresome to read

Tutorials guide users to move around within the app. However, when there is too much text to read, information appears overwhelming to digest. Moreover, a long tutorial with in-depth information, gives a wrong impression regarding the complexity of the app, resulting in app UI/UX failure. 

Handling the situation

Self-explanatory user interfaces are always good to go. With such UIs in place, there is no need for separate tutorials. This can be done in the form of captions, tool tips, small blocks of text, and embedded text boxes, leading to an amazing user experience backed by navigational ease.

6. Absence of whitespace makes things clumsy

Every app screen needs breathing space in between elements and components. Having a good amount of whitespace, helps in differentiating things. An absence of whitespace, lets everything appear cluttered, destroying the tidiness of the app. 

Handling the situation

Maintain a proper balance between design and elements. It is the space keeping components aligned with images, text, multimedia, and other things arranged in sections. Do not insert elements just for the sake of keeping them. Let the app breathe with screens appearing clear.

7. Not informing users about their actions

Inform users about the consequences, after execution of a task. If users remain uninformed, even after executing an action, they will not know whether the action has completed or not. This will in turn also confuse them, regarding what to do next.

Handling the situation

Small textual boxes of messages do the trick, informing users in an interactive manner. Say for example, if they fill a form and click submit, you should inform them about the form submission.

8. Social Media is a neglected factor

People love social media. Users do visit social networking websites daily, and they always want shortcuts for logging in to accounts via social credentials. Apps with plain and simple login forms, let users fill long forms without too many details, for registering an account. Long registration forms test users' patience.

Handling the situation

Have social media login options embedded within the sign up/login pages, so that users can sign in the app directly through their social accounts. When people are allowed to enter the app through social media gateway, they are more than happy to register. 


About the Author

Ashesh Shah is the CEO of Fusion Informatics Ltd., and co-founder of Digital Infoware Pvt. Ltd., which are progressive enterprises in the field of Web, software and mobile application development services. 

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