Indie developers usually have a hard time building and retaining their active user base, but the good news is that most users drop off due to issues that are fairly easy to pinpoint and affordable to resolve.
In this article, I will let you in on the 5 major mistakes that indie app developers make. If you manage to avoid these mistakes, you’ll be able to keep your users closer and happier overtime.
Poor onboarding processes
First impressions are made quickly (sometimes too quickly) and can be difficult to correct after the initial point of contact. Think about your users’ first touch point with your app and how that forms their impression of it.
Are you making your app’s unique value clear?
Are you effectively introducing your most desirable features?
Keep in mind that your new users didn’t download your app to explore the endless possibilities you may or may not offer. They are looking for a clear introduction of the capabilities you have and the value you deliver.
When designing your onboarding process, don’t settle for merely introducing features. Show your users how to navigate your app and you will reduce frustration and improve usability – which accounts for almost 40% of early drop offs.
A stellar onboarding process can make or break your app. Invest some time in it and your users will be eating out of the palm of your hand.
Slow uploading times
are the bane of my existence. Research shows that one of the leading causes for app-uninstalls and high churn rates is slow uploading times.
Although it may be difficult to fix, you should not sacrifice your uploading times – unless you know how to compensate for them.
A great way to tackle this problem is to simply keep your users intrigued with original “loading” designs or creative screensavers with relevant content.
Check out some cool ideas here.
A second approach that may also work is to let your users know exactly what to expect and hope it’ll reduce their frustration.
For instance, if you know that under specific network conditions, your app’s loading time may slow-down, give your users a heads up with a short notification.
No push notifications
Before we go into why they are so important, you have to understand that push notifications are like a double-edged sword. If your user doesn’t like your app or your notifications are not relevant or interesting, they can actually push users away, rather than inviting them in.
Having said that – if your user does not like your app, the fact that they don’t like your push notifications doesn’t matter much anyway, right?
So why DO you need to integrate push notifications? Mostly because users’ attention span is very limited nowadays and the competition is fierce.
An app that doesn’t communicate with its users proactively will have a very hard time maintaining a large and active user-base. Think about it for a second – how many times do you open your Facebook, Whatsapp or Instagram apps directly from push notifications? Now consider how many times a day you have done so without any external encouragement.
The more proactive the big players get, the more users expect all apps to communicate in this way. Don’t fall behind, but be smart about it.
Weak call-to-action design (CTA)
There’s no way around it. CTAs are essential when building and designing your UI. They provide users with an intuitive, easy to-use interface and can be the difference between sink or swim.
On each and every screen you create, you should be able to answer the following question:
“What is the single purpose of this screen?”
If you can’t answer this question, there is a problem. Your users should be able to instantly figure out what their next step should be. A screen that doesn’t have a clear call to action will most likely hurt your app’s engagement and retention metrics over time.
However, there is no need to worry. Follow these simple rules and you shouldn’t run into CTA problems:
- Use minimalistic designs that emphasize the important elements, with no background noise
- Integrate transition screens that effectively explain to the user what his next steps should be
- Write clear and concise copy on buttons that help your users navigate through your app seamlessly
Slow optimization process
Many apps don’t make the cut due to minor flaws in their user experience or UI.
Sometimes the messaging is a bit off, or maybe an image doesn’t upload as fast as it should on only one operating system.
It is imperative to constantly check the full experience from top to bottom, identify any major tipping points and tweak accordingly in real time.
If you wait an entire month before you fix any potential problems, it could cost you your whole audience.
To sum it all up, most drop offs are caused by resolvable issues.
Locating and fixing those issues require a deep understanding of your user experience and constant monitoring.