It’s a tough world.

The app market is extremely competitive. It’s difficult to get people to download your app. But it’s even harder to make them stick around.

What can you do to prevent users from slipping away?

 

1. You can always analyze more

Who are the targeted users? Who uses your app the most? Where do they live? How old are they? What features do they use the most? How much time do they spend using your app? Where did they exit? How long did they stop at a certain page?

Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your own product will help to determine which parts you should focus on and which parts need improvements. Understanding your users is crucial. There’s a reason why users choose a particular app among all the others that do similar things.

In 2010, Twitter added one more screen to their on boarding process. Why? They figured out that celebrities won’t keep users there. Friends and topics that users are passionate about will do the job. Before, users will only see random popular tweets. After the change, users are asked to follow topics that they like. People who completed the whole process were more engaged on Twitter. Twitter’s conversion rate increased by 29% and their retention rate increased as well.

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2. Be Convenient

“If users do this, what will they want to do next?”

Think as your customer. Research. Don’t design based on assumptions.

After you get the results, look for connections on your design. Try to make it as easy as possible for people to search for what they need.

For example, Hooked places the nearest offers on the main page. Customers can easily click on the “Hooked” icon and get a deal in seconds. It’s incredibly convenient.

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Uber does not require users to check out every time a ride is requested. Users enter their billing information once. After that, they only have to choose a pickup location and it’s done! They won’t have to fill in new information every single time they want to use another credit card, it’ll be saved to their account automatically.

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3. Reduce The Learning Curve

People use apps for convenience. The less users have to think, the more they’ll use the app. Computers only became popular after people are able to use them through visual indicators.

Don’t make our lives harder. While more features may sound like a good thing, it can make users drop off.

Make it flat and minimal. Your app’s elements should be descriptive enough that first-time users immediately know what to do. For a button, an icon or a short text that tells what that button does will help a lot. You should also organize things into categories so your app can be cleaner.

Goldman Sachs’ “Make an Impact” app shows all the main functions and categories on the first page. Users immediately know where they should go depending on what they want to do. The names are short and descriptive.

Reducing learning curve also reduces support costs. If your app is not too complicated to use, you won’t have repeating calls or messages asking how to do a certain task. You wouldn’t need more people in your support team or spend more on in-app FAQs.

4. Don’t be a Jack-of-All-Trades

Determine the most important dimensions your app should satisfy. Whether it is efficiency, effectiveness, engagement, or convenience, etc.

If it is a game app, I would expect it to be efficient and engaging. It should make users want to play for hours and it shouldn’t be lagging.

Hence why I love BattleCats.

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The app’s concept is simple: generate an army of cats that attacks your enemies. It’s mindlessly tactical. It’s addictive. Winning a round will get you gold coins, and you can purchase new cats with those. New cats are also updated almost every 3 months. This keeps users engaged to the game. Who wouldn’t want Sexy Leg Cat, Samba Cat, or Dom Cat? Daily login Cat Ticket bonuses are offered, which psychologically makes users feel that they should at least open the app every day. I also rarely experience any lagging while playing the game even though there’s always a lot of actions involved.

If it is a shopping app, I would expect it to be effective and convenient. I should be able to actually buy products and the process should not be too hard to figure out. Amazon is a classic example. You choose a product, access your cart, check out. Your credit card information was saved, so there’s no worries.

Understand the characteristics of your app. Set your priorities straight. After you get the first customers, you can always strive to be better.


5. Be Robust

Don’t expect users to do everything correctly.

A user may enter an address with misspellings. However, your app should at least return a useful location.

Here’s why I love Favor:

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I completely messed up the spelling and the address was vague. However, the app still returns accurate results (I checked the restaurants’ addresses to make sure). When users are in a rush, they probably don’t want to spend time on checking miniscule spelling errors.

A user may have a regional accent and is using your voice app while experiencing background noises. Your app should still be able to recognize what the user is saying. This is exactly what Siri, Cortana and Google Talk do.

Leave lots of space for errors. Let users make mistakes. It is your responsibility to have your app operate consistently.

6. One Step at a Time

Start small.

Being too ambitious is a problem many companies run into. Users only need one reason to use your app.

Work on the smallest use case with the biggest effect. It’s always easier to expand once a strong base is established. Follow this model:

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Research users. Design the app. Build the app. Research if your users are satisfied. If they are, you can expand and design more features or uses. If they are not, you should redesign the app and build it again.

Repeat the process every time you want to add something new or perfect your product.

Skype successes made sure that wifi calling and messaging was in need. Viber was built based on the same idea but as a mobile app. The app reached 100,000 users in the first 24 hours.

They decided to add voice functions to Blackberry and Windows Phone as well. However, after doing some research, this yielded less than favorable results. They had to go back, redesign, and rebuild the app until it was perfected.

Conclusion

Understanding users and being careful in the building process can do wonders. While it’s not easy to make your app become an integral part of your users’ lives, following these tips will help you get there:

  1. Analyze user details
  2. Be convenient
  3. Reduce the learning curve
  4. Don’t be a Jack-of-all-trades
  5. Be robust
  6. One step at a time

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What are some best approaches that you used to make your users stay? What are your opinions on the suggestions above? We’d love to hear them below, because we also want you to stick with us! 🙂 . You can also send a tweet/ send a message to me at @anhthu_le179