Mobile apps must continually seek new ways to differentiate in a competitive market that is only getting fiercer by the second. Brought to you by Skyhook, this post is part of a series called “Apptitude” looking at how app owners can reduce friction, boost user engagement, monetize, and get to the user’s home screen. See all the posts here.
Mobile apps are increasingly seeking new ways to differentiate in a competitive market, reduce friction, boost user engagement, monetize and get to the user’s home screen. Some apps are already seeing these benefits thanks to in-store modes and location-informed content. The element of place will fundamentally change mobile apps for the better. Skyhook’s Context Accelerator unlocks the possibilities of place for apps with scalable geofencing and user personas that enable dynamic user experiences and relevant content.
When building out your app, the FTUX (First Time User Experience) is arguably the most important part of your user’s journey. Skip the steps below, and you’ll likely become just one of the many graveyard apps that litter people’s devices.
Right now, there are sixteen apps installed on my mobile phone that I have not used more than once. They were interesting enough to install but never made it past that point for me. Now they just take up space on my screen and will most likely be deleted soon.
App developers spend a lot of energy and money to get people to download their app, but that’s just half of the battle. Keeping users engaged is the next step and this is where the FTUX comes in to play.
What many overlook is that the FTUX is your only chance to make a good first impression. If you want your app to get to the user’s home screen you need to make this FTUX as compelling, simple, and useful as possible. If the FTUX is underwhelming, users will abandon the app without ever really digging into the features. But then there’s the counterpoint: according to Kahuna, when users are onboarded effectively, their lifetime value increases by up to 500 percent.
There is no one specific way to design a FTUX. Testing what works and experimenting with different orders and ideas will help you to optimize the FTUX. Here are some tips on what to include in this critical first impression.
1. Communicate the value
This is the most important thing to get across in the FTUX. The goal of onboarding is to have users see enough value in the app to willingly provide personal information to register. To achieve this, app developers and UX designers must clearly communicate the value of app features on the onboarding screens. Make it something unique to your brand’s mobile experience that will pique their interest.
2. Be transparent
As part of the FTUX, tell your users what kind of data you collect and why you collect the data. I know it’s crazy! Transparency coupled with paying off the use of the data with an insanely awesome experience tells them not only to keep things like location on, but to let it run in the background.
3. Make the call-to-action clear and simple
The call-to-action should be clear and it should go along with the value that the user will get if they click it. Make sure the CTA is not surrounded by other distractions that the user can click on or read — you want it to stand out.
Test different CTA language to see what is the most compelling to help users take the first step with your app.
Learn more about building a dynamic user experience in this eBook, Making the 5%: Your App’s Guide to Surviving with Dynamic UX.
4. Provide guided interaction
Create an environment that lets a new user learn by doing. Good guidance encourages the user to dig into the features of your app. Avoid passively explaining a feature in a way that takes the user out of the context of use.
5. Indicate advancement in the flow
Rather than throwing people blindly into a seemingly endless tour of your app, make it feel manageable by indicating progress within each step. Try showing users the number of screens or steps remaining, and how far they have advanced thus far. Providing an end point will help to encourage them to continue through and complete the process. Allow the option for users to skip the guided interaction if they wish.
6. Add location
When building an app, one of the best things you can do for your users is to make the experience easier. Many times this is achieved by reducing the steps they need to do to be able to get what they want — and knowing where your user is, and what they need when they’re there, saves them clicks and gestures, and time. And giving a user what they want quickly gives you another chance to engage with them.
Being able to deliver this simple and vital experience means you have to know a lot about what your user does. Collecting, analyzing and using contextual information like location behavior is the key to this reduction in friction. Talking about the value that location brings to users in the FTUX will increase the number of users who turn it on.
7. Establish a personal focus
In order to attract users and gain their loyalty, make sure the features and content you present are relevant to them. Users will not become engaged until the app is vital and relevant.
Provide this personalization through learning about the user as much as possible with location data. Tailor the user’s onboarding experience to his needs and behaviors. Continue to learn about the user through their engagement with the app and adapt to the user as his experience grows and changes.
Then watch your app make its way on to your users’ home screens.
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