The Guide To Delivering a Top-Tier Mobile App User Experience

5 min read
Frank L.
Frank L.
Published July 10, 2023

If you were to download 10 apps a day, it would take you over 1,000 years to install all of the existing Google Play Store apps and nearly 500 years to download all the iOS App Store apps.

As more apps continue to flood the market, users ruthlessly purge their devices of apps that don't deliver delightful user experiences.

A remarkable mobile app user experience is no longer a nice-to-have. It's mandatory. Use this guide to deliver a top-tier mobile app user experience and minimize user churn.

The Importance of Mobile App User Experience

Delivering an exceptional mobile app user experience can help you better serve, engage, and retain users.

Better User Retention

The average daily user retention rate has steadily declined over the last few years. Mobile apps that offer intuitive, engaging, and attractive user experiences have a better chance of retaining users for longer periods of time.

Increased Social Proof 

Increasingly, more users rely on ratings and reviews before installing apps. Half of them won't consider downloading an app with a 3-star rating. While 77% and 80% of users read a review before installing free and paid apps, respectively, 89% of users are likely to recommend a brand after a positive brand experience on mobile.

A Loyal Fan Base 

Apps born from a deep understanding of users' needs are more likely to exceed user expectations and cultivate a loyal fan base that goes on to recruit more users.

8 Best Practices To Enhance Your Users' Experience

Use a combination of the following best practices to craft an outstanding mobile app user experience.

1. Explain What Your App Does

Like an elevator pitch, your app must explain its core value proposition in one sentence. Otherwise, potential users won't be able to understand how your app can help them personally.

Distilling your primary value into a single sentence helps you attract the right users and minimizes bounce rates.

For instance, Pluang, a personal finance app, conveys complex information in a handful of words. Pluang then engages its users with an in-app investment community.

2. Deliver an Aha Moment Early

Help your users derive value from your app as early as possible --- an "aha moment" where they truly discover the utility of your app.

Chamath Palihapitiya, former VP of user growth at Facebook, shared the company's aha moment, where new users who invited seven friends within 10 days became more engaged users of the platform. For Slack, the aha moment is 2,000 messages. "Regardless of any other factor, after 2,000 messages, 93% of those customers are still using Slack today," said Stewart Butterfield, CEO of Slack.

For example, Undivided, a support app for families raising children with disabilities, delivers an aha moment by connecting each parent with a navigator who has gone through what these parents are feeling, guides them through bureaucratic care systems, and educates them on available resources.

Your app may not need such a resource-intensive aha moment. Actions such as inviting co-workers, making a purchase, reading daily notifications, or personalizing profiles can be equally effective.

3. Solve User Problems

People repeatedly use apps that solve a pressing problem with the least distraction.

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For example, WhatsApp delivers secure and free chat, while Subway Surfers solves boredom by letting users dodge oncoming trains in an endless manner.

Similarly, Tabby, a flexible payment app, reduces upfront purchase costs by dividing it into four installments. Tabby also offers its users a real-time support chat interface.

4. Simplify User Tasks

Mobile app users are often in a hurry or bored. So make their work as easy as possible.

Amazon's one-click buy, Evernote's intuitive to-do list, and Tinder's swipe features are good examples that adhere to this "less work is more useful" maxim.

CollX, a sports card trading app, is another good example of this maxim in practice. Once a user scans a sports or TCG card, the app automatically finds the average value of that card based on all recent transactions on different marketplaces. And an in-app chat helps users negotiate their desired price.

5. Enable In-App Chat Interactions 

In-app chat interactions allow your users to communicate with your team as well as other users without exchanging any personal contact details. The convenience and security of communicating via in-app chat doubles user engagement levels for many apps.

Leading apps like Tinder, ClassDojo, Google Pay, Facebook, and Uber incorporate an in-app chat feature.

Similarly, Bunch, a popular multiplayer gaming app, uses an in-app video chat feature to enable user groups to plan meet-up times, discuss games, and talk strategy.

6. Gamify Key User Habits

Adding fun elements such as points, rewards, badges, and new opportunities helps users form key habits. The profile completeness progress bar on LinkedIn, the loyalty rewards system on Starbucks, and competing with a group on Fitbit are prime gamification examples.

Accelevents, an all-in-one event management app, gamifies key user behaviors such as joining a live in-app chat and participating in a virtual event.

7. Leverage Common User Interests

Helping users find other like-minded people with similar interests, passions, or problems can foster a vibrant user community.

For example, Healthline, a leading online health information brand, created a set of peer-supported social network apps that address chronic health conditions like migraines, diabetes, and arthritis. The apps create a private online social community experience and deliver custom feeds to each user.

8. Create Personalized Experiences

According to Google, 63% of smartphone users want to purchase from mobile sites or apps that offer relevant product recommendations. Baking personalized experiences into your mobile app will ensure greater brand loyalty.

For example, Airbnb uses information from your previous trips to recommend personalized travel tips. Similarly, the Nike+ Run Club recommends personalized workout routines based on your fitness goals and previous preferences.

Paired, an award-winning app for couples, gives personalization a new twist by getting couples to play a daily quiz that sparks meaningful conversation and helps them discuss key relationship topics. The app also gently nudges users to maintain their daily quiz and question streak with their partner.

Build Your Core Features and Buy Others

It's unrealistic to build a feature-rich app from scratch.

Every line of code and every ounce of energy required to maintain that code costs time, money, and engineering effort. So it is prudent to prioritize your engineering resources on a few core features that help differentiate your app from the competition. Consider buying API-based services for other generic features like in-app chat, user activity feeds, location tracking, and payments.

For instance, let's consider in-app chat as an example. Unless you are building a differentiated chat app to compete with Messenger, WhatsApp, or Slack, this feature isn't going to offer a competitive advantage. So instead of spending over $500,000 across six months, it's better to buy this feature. 

While the buy option is often better than the build option, it comes with customizability and cost limitations. Readymade chat solutions like Drift or Intercom, for example, can cost you thousands of dollars per month in SaaS fees. But an in-app chat API offers the best of both these worlds. It offers a customizable, readymade solution that can be integrated into your app's UI within a few hours.

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