Smartphones are officially enmeshed into our daily lives. As we reach peak mobile saturation, the typical app user is developing a clear idea of what constitutes good usability. If not, they certainly understand what they don’t like: Nearly 1 in 4 users only use an app once.

A likely reason for figures like this, is that many apps have problems with usability. Before we begin, usability is defined by Techopedia as:

“The degree of ease with which products such as software and web applications can be used to achieve required goals effectively and efficiently.” 

The secret to seeing your app’s use and retention rates skyrocket lies in providing seamless user experience. Here, we’ll outline 6 prevalent usability issues in apps that could be harming your adoption rates.

1. Unclear Content

Content is the delivery vessel for your brand’s message. In mobile apps, this message must succinctly communicate how users can complete goals within it.

App content needs to be tailored to its audience and their devices, rather than copy/pasted from the website. Using too much information and fluffy content in apps directly hurts usability.

Moreover, content must be easily readable. That means considering text colours, spacing, fonts and size. Users shouldn’t have to pinch and zoom to read your app’s content. It’s that simple!

2. Unresponsive Interface

Tech giants like Apple often talk about the value of intuitive interfaces. It’s more than just a buzzword: The way your app’s audience interacts with it determines their experiential quality.

For example, if users have the instinct to tap a button, but instead have to swipe it – and this occurs frequently – their user-experience is going to be unsatisfactory.

Fortunately, there’s a way to spot interface issues before your retention rates suffer. Analytics tools such as touch heatmaps can help you identify less user-friendly gestures. This gives you a chance to eliminate them before users delete your app – or worse – leave bad reviews.

3. Poor Optimisation

From devices, to battery usage and network optimisation, ensuring your app runs smoothly on a vast scope of operating systems is mandatory. It’s not worth the risk of alienating segments of your user-base!

Extensive testing across various systems is a must-do to check that all bases are covered. Your app must be agile enough to adapt to older platforms, different network speeds, memory capacities and many other factors. There’s no substitute for good app performance, and versatile optimisation is core to good usability across a wide spectrum.

4. Forgetting About Landscape

This sounds super basic, but bear with us: Supporting both landscape and portrait mode in your app is a good idea. The flexibility to operate an app in both orientations goes a long way towards providing the optimal user experience for many.

Generally speaking, portrait mode is easier for users due to being operable with one hand. This tip depends on what sort of app you’re running: Apps with very complex UX architecture may not benefit from both layout modes, but visually-oriented or gamified apps do without question.

5. Convoluted Navigation

Complex navigation systems are a sure sign of poor usability. Apps require streamlined navigation for users to easily find their way around. That stands for all app categories, but for m-commerce apps in particular, navigation can be a make-or-break issue.

How can you minimise the amount of taps needed to go from one screen to another? Are your products and services easy to locate? Ensuring users can find what they’re looking for goes a long way towards boosting usability.

6. Overlooking Engagement

Engaging with your target audience in a way that provides real value is key to an app’s success. As such, app creators should actively seek to delight users however possible. To delight them, you must first understand them. That means paying attention to what they have to say!

Without strengthening the engagement loop, your app’s usability suffers. Engendering feelings of accomplishment in your users keeps them coming back for more. With this in mind, take time to plan and comprehend how users interact with your app. It’ll definitely pay off!

We hope that this blog offered some fuel to drive usability improvements. If the sixth point of this piece resonated with you, we have the perfect article for you. To drive user engagement and make your app more enjoyable, check out our post on How To Increase App Engagement with Gamification