How to Completely Destroy Your App’s User Experience

This article was originally written by Matthew Kaminsky. Matthew is in charge of Customer Service and Chief Blogger at StartApp, Android’s first out-of-app monetization solution.  Follow him on Twitter at @startappdotcom

Every developer in the Android ecosystem is trying to build the next big app, earning the big fortune that comes along with a successful app.  With the Google Play store nearing the million app area, we can see that many app developers have tried, but somehow don’t end up with the multimillion downloads that they hope for.  After looking through the Google Play store at thousands and thousands of apps, I can attest that many of these apps are not focusing on their user experience to increase downloads.  In fact, it seems like many have completely forgotten about their users when designing their apps.  Here is a list of a few ways these developers have completely destroyed their user experience. 

Just start building

Just because an app can be built in a day, doesn’t mean it should.  Successful apps with good UX require good planning and design.  A good UX take precedence when creating an app and should be thought of way before the first piece of code is written.  The worst apps look like they were thrown together yesterday. 

Only think of your app 

A smartphone is a multifunctional device.  It is very likely that your user could get a phone call, text message, or even play music while using your app.  If your app crashes every time the user receives a text, your users will not be happy.  Make it easy to exit and reenter your app.

Scroll away

Most smartphone screens aren’t huge.  Your app needs to be designed to have multiple views and screens.  Forcing your user to scroll their way through a one screen app is the easiest way to get them to uninstall your app.  Use multiple screens to group relevant information together.  When using multiple screens, don’t let users get lost from screen to screen.  Make sure they are able to navigate backwards where they came from.

Make them read….a lot

Going along with the above item, writing a novel on one screen of your app is boring for the user.  While certain text is necessary, you should try to replace as much text with pictures as possible.  Using icons and symbols will not only make your app more appealing to the eye, it will expand the reach of your app to multiple countries.

Don’t test your app on a phone

It is really easy to tell which apps were only tested using app emulators, instead of on actual devices.  Don’t be one of those apps.  There are some things about the user experience that can’t be emulated on a computer screen.  Always test on multiple devices with different screen sizes, resolutions, and manufacturers.

Forget Updating

As your users use your app more and more, you can see which parts of the flow can be changed to make it easier for them.  Users will appreciate these app improvements.