No one is downloading your app and you don’t know why. In addition to overlooking mobile app testing, there are a lot of other common mistakes developers make, causing their apps to sink to the bottom of the app store. This guest post is written by Jimmy Wentz, a budding freelance tech writer. Jimmy writes regularly about O2 and the latest developments in the tech, mobile and gaming world. In this guest post, Jimmy highlights the 9 reasons why noone likes your app, and provides best practices for fixing it.
A recent Gartner Inc. report estimates that, as of this year (2012) global app downloads will surpass 45.6 billion. Around 90% of this will be from downloads of free apps while premium (paid for) apps will round up the rest of the pie chart with 5 billion.
And with the Galaxy S3, Iphone 5, and “new-kid-on-the-block” Nokia Lumia 920 recently hitting the market (not counting the plethora of tablets already available), we can only expect these numbers to grow even further. This is a truly golden age for the mobile app industry.
So how’s your app doing?
If your app is kicking “Angry Birds” in the butt in terms of popularity or is being touted as the next “Instagram” then congratulations! You obviously know what you are doing. But what if you don’t know what you are doing? And the only thing you have to show for yourself is an app that’s been sitting around in the app store / market for quite some time now. Wallowing in sad virtual dust. If you feel that your app is not getting the attention it deserves, then it may help to look at these top 9 reasons why people don’t want to download or use your mobile app, and tips on what you can do better.
9. Your App Is NOT User Friendly
The Problem: Your mobile app is not designed for human beings. It takes 10 agonizing steps to accomplish anything on your app where less insane apps only make you take one or two to do the same thing.
How to Fix It: Familiarize yourself with the best practices in mobile user experience. Websites like SmashingMagazine and uxbooth are great places to start learning the principles of good User Experience to help you create more usable apps. If you still can’t get it right, hire a professional User Experience (UX) designer to do the job.
8. Your App is Ridiculously Over-Price
The Problem: Your app costs an arm and a leg (and my liver
How to Fix It: Yes, you spent a lot of time and energy creating your mobile app. You can even say you “invested” in it, hiring programmers and designers and all. But ponder upon the fact that most paid apps nowadays range anywhere from 0.99 USD to 4.99 USD. If your users cannot see the value of spending that much money on your app then it will all be for naught.
Consider a “Freemium” strategy, where you have a “free” or “lite” version to get new users hooked, and then offer a more advanced version for those willing to pay more for the added functionalities/ features.
7. Your App Store Description Sucks
The Problem: Whoever wrote-up the product description and other marketing content did a terrible job describing the app. Worse, there is no description at all!
How to Fix It: You’ve only got precious few seconds to convince people to download your app. A distinctive and eye-catching app icon will grab people’s attention immediately and make you stand out from the rest.
Use app screenshots to further drive home the point that your app is what they are looking for (or, at least, how cool it looks). Text descriptions should be concise and should list all the features your app is offering.
6. You Don’t Have A Website for Your App
The Problem: Your app looks great but I want to find out more about the developer. How do I know this is legit?
How to Fix It: As a developer, you would want to have an official website to showcase your apps. Your app is your product and your website is your showroom floor. Your users will appreciate a place where they can find FAQs and get support if they have trouble with your app.
A blog section is a great idea as well to keep loyal users engaged and spread the latest news and developments. A website will help you establish a brand for yourself (or your company or studio) and your app and will build trus
5. Your App Is Full of Bugs
The Problem: As soon as your app is launched, it lags. It makes my phone/tablet unusable. There are certain parts of your app that don’t work at all. Your app likes to crash often as well.
How to Fix It: If you are not confident with your coding skills or is not sure what you are doing wrong, it may be a good idea to consult a professional programmer. They will have a keener eye on the code and would probably understand how to better program your app for your choice of mobile platform. Do user testing on multiple devices to make sure your mobile app works smoothly.
4. Your App Shares My Info Without My Permission
The Problem: Your app published embarrassing photos/info on Facebook / Twitter without telling me first! Your App gathers my personal data and sends it somewhere (developer servers) without my knowledge or consent. Notable offender: Path (uploaded users’ address books to its servers without permission)
Always make sure your app displays permission prompts whenever sensitive info. Is required from your users (and make this an option, not a requirement to use your app!) If a user can’t trust your mobile app how can you expect them to use it?
3. You Don’t Know Who Your App is For
The Problem: Your app description is cryptic at best (see No. 6). Also, it is not immediately clear what this app is for, what it does, or who should be using it. Worse, your app is just a clone.
How to Fix It: Know your target demographic and design your app according to their taste. If the app is for kids, make it simple and colorful. If it is for the elderly, make sure they won’t have to strain their eyes to read the font.
Do some market research; preferably before you develop your mobile app. Is the market oversaturated with similar apps? Also, who is your competition? Knowing this will help you design (or redesign) your app to be more unique. It will also give you insights on what you can offer with your app that other’s aren’t or what you can offer or do better.
2. Your App Hurts My Eyes
The Problem: Your app looks like it was made with MS Paint. The colors choices are bad and the typography poorly chosen. Users can hardly read the font because it is so tiny. Around 50% of your App’s screen is taken over by ads.
How to Fix It: Admittedly, you either have talent doing graphic design or you don’t. If it is the latter, consider hiring a decent graphic designer or experienced front-end user interface (UI) developer.
1. Your App Does Not Improve My Day
The Problem: Your app wants me to do something but it feels like a chore. It did not bring a smile to my face. It did not allow me to share with my friends. Your app is no fun.
How to Fix It: The user isn’t expecting your app to profoundly change their lives but at least make it of value to them. Foursquare and Fitocracy does this really well with their gamification approach where you get points, leaderboards, mayors, and badges for using their app.
If your users did something right, give a social sharing option so they can brag about it on Twitter or Facebook. Gamification is a popular trend nowadays and can, if applied well to your mobile app, can keep things fun and interesting for your users. Coursea offers free online courses on gamification that you can take advantage of right now.
Everyone seems to want to have an app nowadays. Whether for business, to earn additional income, or just to practice programming, an app can be a good way to make a name for yourself. But the top thing to always keep in mind is the value that your app is giving to the public.
Find out how your mobile app can help brighten up someone’s day. Your users will love you for it!
Mobile App Global Download Data from Gartner Inc.: http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=2153215
Gamification – Coursera.org: https://class.coursera.org/gamification-2012-001/class/index
The Data Dialogue: Give consumers more control to tackle anxiety over personal data – Demos: http://news.o2.co.uk/2012/09/14/data-dialogue/
Path CEO: We screwed up by uploading your personal data, and we’ve erased it: http://venturebeat.com/2012/02/08/path-sorry-about-that-whole-data-stealing-thing/
The Elements Of The Mobile User Experience: http://mobile.smashingmagazine.com/2012/07/12/elements-mobile-user-experience/