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This article was published on August 27, 2014

Eliminating pain points: How to design an app that won’t get abandoned

Eliminating pain points: How to design an app that won’t get abandoned
Marc Barach
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Marc Barach

Marc leads Jumio’s worldwide marketing efforts and brings over 20 years of marketing innovation and operational experience in emerging techn Marc leads Jumio’s worldwide marketing efforts and brings over 20 years of marketing innovation and operational experience in emerging technologies and the financial sector to Jumio. Previously, he served as CEO of mobile applications company Emotive, CMO of enterprise search SaaS pioneer Marin Software and CMO of Ingenio, where he sparked creation of pay-per-call technology; a multi-billion dollar adtech product which lead to Ingenio’s acquisition by AT&T in 2007. As CMO of online insurance first mover InsWeb, Marc drove revenue which enabled the company to raise $100 million in its IPO. Additionally, Marc has held executive-level marketing posts at a number of financial institutions includingCharles Schwab and First Nationwide Bank. A frequent speaker at prestigious conferences worldwide, Marc has been widely quoted in national and business press.

Marc Barach is the Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer for Jumio.

Anyone who has gone through the process of building a mobile app knows it’s no small feat in spend, time and resources. It’s estimated that companies invest anywhere from $20,000 to $150,000 in app development. In today’s mobile centric world, where having a mobile optimized site alone isn’t enough, it’s more important than ever to protect this asset.

With the number of smartphone users expected to rise to 1.75 billion this year, consumers are more app-savvy than ever. Translation: They are not afraid to delete your app if it doesn’t work flawlessly. One in five apps is only opened once.

For mobile app providers, it’s time to get serious about eliminating pain points to give your app the best possible chance to not just survive but thrive.

Easy as 1, 2, 3

Apps without an intuitive design and interface are destined to fail. Your app doesn’t need to be everything to everyone. In fact, it doesn’t even need to encompass everything from your core Web experience. Choose a focused direction and execute well within that framework.

How do you decide on one thing? The answer lies is in your data.

Take a look at customer behavior on your site. What are the most used features or functionality? How are users interacting with your product? Which of your services is most valuable to your users when they’re on the go?

Hone in on the greatest value you’re already providing and streamline your app to give customers more of what they want, and less of what they aren’t using.

Buggy technology

Only 16 percent of users said they would give an app more than two attempts if it failed to work seamlessly the first time. Since it’s impossible to return a flawed app, most people delete it from their device, never giving the brand an opportunity to rectify the mistake or learn from the experience.


Monitoring the app closely is crucial to catch technical glitches only your internal team can correct. Test, test, and test some more before rolling out new versions. Once you do, offer a simple in-app form for submitting potential issues, and monitor social media conversations to listen for technical complaints and feedback from frequent users.

The more on top of glitches you are, the less likely you’ll experience a download drop-off rate.


Apps that require lengthy forms or excessive personal data can cause users to bolt.

For the most part, digital-savvy users understand the need to enter personal information to gain access to the products and services they want on their mobile devices. Developers need to find a way to gather that data without disrupting the user experience or sacrificing security, so consider options that easily auto populate necessary fields.

Consumers are become increasingly sensitive to the online checkout experience and they have little patience for clumsy, unreliable processes that are time-consuming. As such, m-commerce merchants are seeking out in-app technologies that enable customers to scan their personal data rather than forcing lengthy key entry.

According to the 2014 TRUSTe Consumer Confidence Privacy Report, consumer concerns over privacy remain high, with 92 percent of users worried about their privacy online. Only ask for the information that’s necessary to execute the app and provide the best user experience, or consider staggering the request for personal data.

For example, make location optional if your app doesn’t provide location-based services and be wary of asking for access to contacts if it’s not vital. As much as you want to build out your customer profiles, you’re more likely to build trust and get the information you need when the user feels at ease.

Checked out


Payments are also a huge roadblock for many app providers. Our research shows that two-thirds of smartphone users have abandoned a transaction due to obstacles during check out.

If you offer in-app purchases, or require payment for the app itself, it’s important to create the most seamless payment experience possible. Design is not only key for your app, but also for your payment process.

Having streamlined and intuitive forms or methods for capturing credit card info can dramatically simplify the experience for consumers and increase the likelihood that they’ll complete the transaction.

The less information a user has to type on their mobile phone, the better. A progress bar can also help users anticipate what’s needed as they move through the checkout process.

Employing new technologies that maximize high quality cameras on smart phones and tablets can also help. Consumers can use these devices to snap images of IDs and credit cards, then validate and extract that information to auto-populate online registration and checkout fields will eliminate the tiresome task of key-entering name, address, and 16 digit credit card numbers.

The fewer keystrokes required, the greater the conversion and completion rates will be.

Fishing for compliments

It’s OK to ask users for ratings, but be cognizant of burnout. Honest and consistent feedback needs to be earned. By providing valuable and meaningful content and experiences, you build a loyal user base willing to take the time to give ratings, performance feedback, or reviews.

Consider ways to incentivize feedback. Offer small perks such as small denomination gift cards for users willing to complete surveys. This approach helps foster a good relationship while decreasing the likelihood that users will hit “no thanks” when asked to rate or review your app.

Don’t let your app become another abandonment statistic. It’s not difficult to keep users happy and engaged, but it does take time and effort to maintain them. After you spend months involved in app build-out, you can’t set it and forget it.

The app world is constantly evolving, so make sure you take the proper steps in the initial development phase and invest in maintenance to avoid getting left behind.

Read next: Smoke-testing your apps 101: A guide for the non-techie co-founder

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