This post was written by Matthew Cordasco. Your mobile app’s user experience can scare people away from your product, amuse them, or convert them into valuable long-term users.
And the reality is that plenty of products do have “scary” UX’s. But, just because the trend of having a lackluster UX has gone mainstream doesn’t mean that your app has to settle for less too.
Here are 7 UX mistakes you need to dodge:
1. Questionable In-App Permissions
Having questionable in-app permissions is one of the most common and detrimental UX mistakes that app owners make.
In-app permissions are an invaluable tool, but they also immediately raise the suspicions of today’s mobile app users (especially among tech-savvy younger crowds like Generation Z).
Today’s users simply aren’t as willing to grant you access to their personal information, social media profiles and geolocation in comparison to users of the past.
To access these kinds of permissions in the ‘privacy’ era, you’ll need to explain to your users why you’re asking for their privileged information. Explaining your requests will not only encourage users to trust your brand, but it will also eliminate questionable in-app permissions from your product.
Just make sure that your app actually needs the in-app permissions that it’s requesting, and explain your reasoning to users in simple terms.
And, once your in-app permissions demonstrate transparency and are congruent with your brand’s premise, you will most likely enjoy a bolstered rate of user retention.
Runkeeper’s in-app permission to access a user’s location, effectively explains the reasoning behind its request. Source: support.runkeeper.com
2. Too Many Features
It’s common for teams to believe that users enjoy having access to lots of features in a mobile app because this makes sense from a logical perspective. Having more choices leads to greater freedom and happiness, right?
Well, the truth is that users don’t actually respond very well to having too many features in a UX (going against all logic).
Too many features in a UX can lead users into a state of analysis paralysis, and cause them to associate your UX with negative emotions. Users generally want quick and easy access to the greatest benefits that your product offers.
For example, according to the Pareto Principle, only 20% of the actions that you take each day account for 80% of your overall results. And when you apply this principle to your mobile app’s UX, you realize that only a relatively small part of your app is responsible for almost all of its success.
So, focus on improving the existing features that your users enjoy most about your product, and forget about adding unnecessary features that bloat your app’s UX. 20% of your UX is where you’ll receive the greatest ROI.
3. Weak Microinteractions
Your app’s microinteractions are crucial to your UX, but they are often put on the backburner by most mobile app brands in existence. Microinteractions are any single action that a user can take inside of your product. This could be tapping a button, tweaking a setting, interacting with an advertisement, or thousands of other “micro” possibilities.
What makes many of these microinteractions weak is the fact that most teams don’t fully consider creative design, copywriting and A/B testing when they’re working out the fine details of their product.
It’s important to use every microinteraction that your app offers as an opportunity to humanize your product. Stay aware of the emotions that your users feel as they experience your app’s microinteractions. Try to connect with your users in ways that other products can’t.
If you can ensure that your users enjoy fun, upbeat and even playful microinteractions with your UX, you will easily separate your brand from the cookie cutter apps in your category. For example, some examples of microinteractions are…
- Greeting users by name upon opening the app
- Adding an animation to “simple” functions like a “send” button or progress bar
- Disabling notifications after a certain period of unsuccessful interaction
4. Ineffective Sign-Up Screen
Since your mobile app’s sign-up screen is one of the earliest experiences that users may have with your brand, you can’t afford to take it for granted. If you make prospective users feel like they’re going to have to “work” to sign-up for your product, then you should expect that their first instinct will be to abandon your app altogether.
One way to make users feel uncomfortable early in the UX is having optional sign-up fields listed on your sign-up screen. Every “optional” field that you include in your app’s sign-up form will turn away a certain number of prospects from signing up for your app because they can often make the sign-up form seem longer than necessary.
Businesses have learned that this generally happens because of the principle of least effort. So, how much is an optional sign-up field really worth to you? Hopefully, not more than a potential long-term user of your app.
Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that app users have to navigate your product using relatively small devices, so they need to be able to breeze through sign-up without any delays. It’s for this reason that your app’s sign-up form should have a simple password confirmation process, easy authentication (Captcha alternative) if necessary, and in the case of e-mail confirmations, quick app-to-email-and-back user flow.
<h25. Mismatched Onboarding
Onboarding is one of the most impactful experiences that a user will have with your app. And, it’s relatively easy for most mobile app teams to put together some screens that explain the basics of their product.
But, it’s rare for mobile app industry professionals to ask, “Is our current onboarding process truly what our users want to see?”
Mismatched onboarding is a huge problem because if users don’t respond very well to your app’s current onboarding process, then you could be making bad first impressions on potential long-term users of your app.
You must be aware of the different styles of user onboarding, and understand which onboarding tactics work best for your unique audience. For example, you should know that value-oriented onboarding is an onboarding process that introduces users to the fun, useful or beneficial aspects of your app. Meanwhile, function-oriented onboarding tends to works best for describing unique or technical features within your app. And, progressive onboarding is kind of like presenting your app’s value and functionality while users interact with your app as they normally would.
With three different core onboarding tactics to choose from, you have to test and tweak these options until you can work with an onboarding process that maximizes user retention and lowers abandonment. You can even test not having an onboarding process if you’re daring, but this typically only works out well if your app has a UX that’s universally understood.
6. Copying Your Competitors' UX
Copying exactly what your competitors are doing is a fast path to mediocrity at best, and failure at worst.
This is because each app has a unique audience, value proposition and marketing message. What works for your competitors probably isn’t going to work in the same way for your app, since they’re two completely separate products (even if you’re competing in the same category).
Instead, you should borrow inspiration from your competitors, understand that they don’t have all the right answers, and start A/B testing with data to find out what works and what doesn’t. Only your users will have the “answers” that you’re looking for, as they are the people who will be using your product on a regular basis. Remember to give the people what they want, and adapt to their desires, not your competitors’.
7. Overlooking Key Qualitative Data
Having access to quantitative data is important but, all the numbers in the world aren’t going to give you the most actionable insights on your app’s user experience. Basically, quantitative data can help you pinpoint numerical-based concerns such as quit rate on a certain screen, but cannot really go beyond that in terms of analysis. Qualitative data can.
The mistake that many mobile app teams make here involves completely missing the strategy of using a qualitative analytics. Qualitative analytics is quite new to the analytics scene and focuses on providing you with the “whys” behind all those numbers. This way, you are no longer receiving just numerical data and depthless metrics.
With qualitative data, you’re actually able to see for yourself how users are behaving and experiencing your app. Qualitative analytics will also help you pinpoint and thoroughly assess the six mistakes listed above. Why wouldn’t you want these invaluable insights for your app?
Making mistakes can be great for building one’s grit and character.
But contrastingly it's also nice to avoid wasting time, money and energy whenever possible. Opportunities happen so fast in the mobile app industry, that there often isn’t enough time for error. And, these 7 major UX mistakes are made so regularly in the mobile app industry that it’s imperative you learn from them.
So, take these mistakes into consideration as you build your app’s UX, and grow your product knowing you’ll dodge the most drastic pitfalls that mobile app teams make.