Mobility

Five reasons people hate your mobile app

A mobile app is important to business success, right? True, but a bad app can be a key part of business failure. Here are five features of mobile apps that turn users off.

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Image: iStock/Wavebreakmedia

You've built the app and Google/Apple has approved it. It's up, it's available ... and it's tanking.

App failure isn't anything new: there are countless businesses out there that have launched mobile platforms only to see them end up with a long list of single star reviews. I've written previously about how to make a branded mobile app succeed: Now here are five reasons you mobile app isn't doing well.

1. Push notifications

Smartphones are great at notifying us about important things in our lives—and equally great at annoying us. It's one thing if a smartphone buzzes due to a new email and another thing entirely if it's a nudge to do some shopping.

SEE: Mobile app development policy (Tech Pro Research)

Don't annoy users with constant notifications: at best those users will just open and close the app to get rid of it and at worst your app is headed for deletion and a bad review. Once a user disables notifications the app shouldn't ask if it can turn them back on either. (I'm looking at you, official Reddit app.)

2. Begging for likes or reviews

Some apps just seem to have self esteem issues. They've been on your phone for months, you use them regularly, and they keep asking if you like them. Don't be that app.

Positive reviews are important but so is a smooth, interruption-free user experience. When I open up an app I'm usually trying to accomplish something, and while opening the app store to leave a review isn't a big hassle it's an interruption. Users don't like those.

3. Boxed copies of a website

Mobile websites can work great, and so can mobile apps. That doesn't mean the two should overlap in any way, though. Businesses as large as The Gap have copped out on app development and just boxed up their website. Users notice and ratings plummet.

SEE: MechDome promises to rewrite your Android app for iOS in seconds (TechRepublic)

A mobile app needs to offer something unique, whether it's a digital coupon system, a streamlined ordering system, or a completely different interface. Putting time into researching and developing a new UI will pay off.

4. A good looking but difficult interface

It can be tempting to come up with novel ways of navigating through an app. Unique menus, fancy buttons, and responsive elements can be wonderful, provided they don't challenge users too much.

There are certain design elements that are universal to iOS and Android that are incorporated into most apps. Navigating back and forward, menu popout, and button placement are mostly universal. Try to find an app with good reviews that mixes those elements up: It might be harder than you think.

5. Battery hogging

Optimizing your app is key, especially if it runs in the background. Apps that eat up battery are likely to be deleted quickly no matter how useful they are. Battery life has long been considered the most important feature of smartphones, and when apps compromise it they're not going to last long.

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About Brandon Vigliarolo

Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.

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