To make your customer’s mobile experience truly seamless, everything from onboarding to checkout must work flawlessly. Overlooking something as simple as navigation on a mobile device can mean the difference between a paying customer and a dead end.
I asked eight entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) to share what, in their experience, are the most overlooked — and often easily fixed — usability issues. Their best answers are below.
1. Not customizing for Android
Android and iOS are two extremely different platforms. It’s not enough to simply clone your iOS app for Android. Android comes with an entirely unique set of programming, design and user interface (UI) considerations. For example, iOS doesn’t have a “back” button like Android.
With that in mind, tailor your app to work within the native Android experience so your users can interact intuitively. Also, understand that Android presents challenges inherent to its fragmented market. Unless you optimize the app to work on each phone model, your Android app may work on a Samsung S6 but not on an HTC One. While frustrating at times, you’ll want to spend the extra funds to ensure your app is optimized for the most popular Android smartphone models.
2. Not taking your onboarding process seriously
If you want new customers to stick around, you need to make sure that they discover what’s interesting, relevant and unique about your app during their first few visits, or the onboarding phase. If you don’t convince them to return within the first week, you’re likely going to lose them forever. There are just too many other things competing for their attention. In fact, studies have shown that you may lose 80-90 percent of your users if you are not listed as a top app in the App store. One way to engage people could be a single onboarding-focused push notification sent to new customers during their first week on the app; we found that this type of alert increased retention by 71 percent over two months.
3. Not focusing on information architecture and navigation
The information architecture and path visitors take to navigate through an app, make up the most important user experience (UX) decision teams can make. When a user enters an app, they need to understand how to get around so they can easily and repeatedly do what’s intended: make a purchase, play a game, etc. App development teams create great features, but can often overlook how they all fit together in an organized way. Instead of spending time figuring out the best structure, they add a bunch of links and buttons that don’t necessarily make sense from the user’s perspective. This leaves users trying to remember how they got to specific places within the app. And unfortunately, when they can’t figure it out, they leave and don’t come back.
4. Not simplifying the checkout process
Checking out on mobile is a pain. You have to type in your address, email address, confirm that you selected the right product — all on a tiny screen. Simplify this as much as possible, either by eliminating choices or installing Facebook logins. One valuable approach is to make it seamless to create an account, so that people can easily access their cart and complete the purchase from a computer later.
5. Lack of user testing and feedback
The biggest usability issue most businesses overlook when it comes to mobile apps is the lack of actual user testing outside of their corporation. You need to get feedback from outside users and determine the intent, needs and usability obstacles through qualitative measures such as surveys. In addition, eye tracking and click tracking studies can provide insight into how users browse and click within the app to identify areas of attraction or distraction. Combine that with quantitative data from analytics and start testing variations of the interface utilizing A/B and multivariate testing software to determine the optimal design and experience.
6. Not supporting both landscape and portrait orientation
In the last six years, most of our clients did not think of landscape orientation support. A good mobile app should be designed for both portrait and landscape mode to accommodate for best usability and UX. Every mobile app should have proper UI/UX for these two modes to be successful. Think about if certain screens in the app will look better if designed in landscape. Or how portrait mode makes it easier to handle a phone with just one hand. It’s a very simple and big issue that has often been overlooked.
7. Requiring too many steps
I don’t want to type anything on my phone. So don’t ask me for my address unless you need it. Don’t make me type my email if I can register with my Facebook, Google or another account. Don’t make me pull out my credit card if you can offer a one-click payment solution. The fewer steps, pages, buttons and fields I have to go through, the better. Each time your user needs to do something, check to see if there’s an alternative that would make their lives easier. Consider each action you require of your user as one more hurdle they have to jump. The lower you make it, the closer they get to the finish line.
8. Not strengthening the engagement loop
Most businesses assume the customer will understand their app anduse it correctly, which they then think creates a positive user experience and high engagement. Unfortunately, this is not the case whatsoever. You need to carefully plan how your users will engage with the app (perform some action) in a way that is a “success” to them. This can be done, for instance, through onboarding or UX design. Strengthening this loop will keep the user coming back over and over, until ideally, that action becomes a habit.