You have a million different reasons to download an app. Peer pressure. Curiosity. The list goes on. But knowing when to let go of a mobile app, well, that’s the tricky part. We want to make that decision a little easier, so based upon uTest’s observations testing mobile apps for hundreds of top brands, here are five of the top reasons to uninstall a mobile app.
- The app crashes or freezes: Few things are as frustrating as a mobile app that continually crashes, hangs, or freezes. Slow performance (or sometimes, no performance) is the number one reason why users abandon a mobile app. A recent study found that 79 percent of users said they would retry an app once or twice if it failed to work the first time. Only 16 percent said they would give it more than two attempts. Data from Applause (a mobile app analytics tool) shows that reviews with the word “crash” are eight times more likely to be 1 or 2 stars than the average review. The good developers will test their mobile apps, identify the root cause, and make it a top priority to release a bug-fix. So if you like the idea of the app and are willing to wait for a fix, you should do so. But if the problem persists and no one seems to be doing anything about it, it might be time to get rid of it.
- The app isn’t intuitive to use: Apps should make our lives easier and more enjoyable. If an app accomplishes neither – if it makes life more difficult – users will likely go elsewhere. Believe it or not, app design is really more of a science than an art; there are proven standards for layout, design and functionality. Maybe the app does a poor job of adapting to portrait resolution; maybe key information is hidden in a complex navigation; maybe icons and buttons are too small or grouped too closely together. There are a number of usability problems that plague mobile apps. While one hang-up might not push one over the edge, when combined, they often result in users uninstalling the app.
- The app is collecting your personal info (without your consent): Developers have historically been liberal in asking for permissions, typically requesting more access than is strictly necessary for the app to function properly. In early 2012 it came to light that apps were accessing address books and other data and features without any good reason. This practice was exposed by the media to much public backlash, resulting in many operating systems keeping a closer eye on permissions. While it might be technically legal for an app to collect excessive data (calendar, address book, location) or require one to sign-up using their social credentials, the practice has come to be frowned upon by users.
- Users prefer the mobile web version: It’s increasingly rare – the numbers don’t lie – but sometimes users simply prefer the mobile web version of a product or service to that of the native app. At uTest, we’re still seeing the mobile web as “in addition to” native apps, not “instead of” the native versions. As HTML 5 matures, along with the advent of responsive design and 4G speeds, we expect to see more users opting for the mobile web, even though we firmly believe that apps are here to stay.
- The app is not optimized for the device: It’s rather common in the mobile world for developers to “port” their existing smartphone apps to the tablet. In doing so, they severely limit the user experience. As usability guru Jackob Nielsen once pointed out, “The bigger screen of the tablet allows one to include features, and more focus on immersive use over longer periods of time than the quick hits that are most useful on phone-sized devices.” In other words, if you launch a “one size fits all app”, don’t be surprised when users uninstall it on one (or all) of their devices.
What criteria do you use to install vs. uninstall an app? Let us know in the comments section.
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