Let Me Use Your App

Brian Laiche
Sep 18 · 3 min read

We’ve all been there, scrolling through social media and a well-placed ad for the greatest new app that solves our biggest problem is here. We are sucked in by beautiful screenshots on the app store, all of our friends are using it and want us to join in the fun. So, we tap the oh so satisfying ‘Get’ button and begin to be mesmerized by the download progress indicator. Our best, excited squirm impersonation of Christoph Waltz in Inglorious Bastards begins as it gets closer to being finished.

Then, finally, It’s done downloading! We tap that beautifully designed icon, and we’re immediately presented with a login/signup screen. And that is where the UX fails for me.

Sign up, Sign up, SIGN UP!

To be clear, I’m not upset about having to login or signup. Nowadays, it’s a single tap. I’m arguing that the signup step is presented to us before it should be. Having the freedom to explore the app without signing up, keeps our excitement level up. Take us to dinner first. That’s all I’m asking. This is a date after all, if we don’t like you we will quickly get rid of you. Then, when the time is right, ask for our information. We all know our information equals money these days, so give us a little something in return before we shell it out to you.

Changing the Signup Experience

Picture this (no pun intended), we have just downloaded Instagram for the first time. Upon opening, we’re presented with a feed specifically designed to gauge our interests. We’re asked to double tap on the images we like. Then, It shows us a list of people we should follow based on those interests. We tap to follow someone. At this point, we have just completed all the major actions on Instagram without signing up. Now is the time to present us with an inviting message like “Awesome, let’s create an account so people can also follow you.” Best of all we have primed our feed so when we do start using the app we aren’t presented with a boring empty state. And, we’ve kept that excitement level popping!


An app we can learn from

Duolingo is one to admire. They crush their signup experience. We are immediately thrown into the experience. We are excited to learn a new language so let’s get right to it. The very first thing we are asked is which language we want to learn, followed by setting our daily learning goal, and then directly thrown into a lesson. We haven’t once been asked to sign up or give Duolingo anything, yet we’ve already been given the full experience of Duolingo. At the end of the lesson, we’re asked to save our progress. How do we do that? by creating a profile. Well, of course, we will create a profile, we don’t want that precious progress to be lost. We already feel invested in the app and signing up is a no brainer.

Does it really matter where signup goes?

True, many of us sign up without ever thinking twice. It’s almost expected. But, just because it’s expected doesn’t mean it’s the best or proper experience for our users. By inviting users to explore the app and get used to its interface, we have increased our chances of them sticking around and continue using the app in the future. When the signup is presented later, this step seems logical and inviting, instead of a barrier to entry.

Brian Laiche

Written by

UX Designer | Writer

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade