A Story About the Dead-Ended User Flows

A few days ago I happened to play with the mobile version of one of the well-known grammar-checking services. The experience was rather disappointing, so I contacted their team and provided my feedback.
They haven’t given a word back yet, and if they do, I promise to update the post and maybe turn it into a case study. But as of now, I’ve left the brand identity out not to compromise the app explicitly.

I’d like to share some of my feedback with you, specifically, the part related to not well thought-through user flows. I believe these are the powerful tool for designing the smooth and consistent experiences and managing your users’ expectations.


“Hi,

I’m one of the ***’s fans and I really wish you ship long and prosper.

I understand the huge amount of work standing behind the scene, thoughts and hearts put into this awesome product, and I have absolute respect for what you do.

And exactly because of the above and with a view to improving ***, I’d like to share my personal mobile experience with *** (now that I know you don’t have a mobile version :) ) and provide some insights you might want to consider for the future. I’d like to touch the subjects of user flows, user engagement, content strategy, CTAs, and brand language. If you are interested, please read on.

One late evening I’d been typing some stuff on my iPhone and then decided to spellcheck it with ***…

CHARACTER

Name: Elena
Age: 32
Industry and Position: IT, UX/Product Management Consultant
Computer literacy: Proficient
Background: Values the time. Loves doing things quickly and with high quality. Online 24/7, very mobile, and the portable devices are her “right-hand men”. Her Mac, iPad, iPhone, and iWatch stay in sync, allowing her for not missing a thing.
Needs: Quick professional evaluation of her spelling literacy + clear and concise instructions for error fixing.

ACQUIRED MOBILE EXPERIENCE

  • I entered ***.com
  • Tried to log in and failed as I forgot my password.
    One, though, was saved in Safari on my Mac, but saved passwords don’t sync between Safari on Mac and iOS. Thus I decided to reset the password.
  • I clicked “Forgot password?” and landed on another screen where I entered my e-mail again and submitted.
  • I received the e-mail and followed the link.
  • I’ve set up a new password and got prompted to log in with it.
  • And finally, I logged in.

How wrong I was thinking that my misfortune ended! :) The coming screen was a killer:

All I’ve been doing before was for nothing.
I ended up with getting out of bed, wandering around searching for my Mac… Found it and got the job done — I spellchecked my text.

SHORT FEEDBACK

1. User flows aren’t well thought through.
2. User engagement isn’t strong enough.

(let me skip the rest for the purpose of this article)

DEEP DIVE

User Flows & User Engagement

Problems

P1. Currently, all mobile user scenarios except #1 are dead-ended. And the dead end is this “*** Is Not Yet Mobile Friendly” screen.

It’s a trap for a user: he spends time reading, signing up or resetting a password, and then all of this goes to waste. Eventually, he is informed that he can get no jobs done on mobile and suggested to go Premium. Really? You want me to part with the money at this very disappointing moment? I truly believe that the “Upgrade to Premium” CTA is inappropriate here and even adds to a negative user experience.

The key point I’d like to make here is not valuing the user’s time.

P2. The landing page isn’t engaging (see image to the left):

a. It has a huge amount of advertising text. It took me 9 scrolls on my iPhone 6s to get to the bottom.

b. The text is too much like on many other websites, soulless.

c. The product image is almost bone-dry, transmitted through a few small pictures, a couple of hardcoded reviews, 3 feature descriptions, and social links.

d. No interaction with a user, no care about him. All you have for him is a not bad average read and links to sign up/sign in, both dead-ended.

P3. No contact info. No company id.


Suggestions

S1. Make the product description very brief. And I really mean it.

Expose a tagline and make a few clear and concise statements about the product.

S2. Add a one-minute video showcasing how the stuff works. Leverage a user via two channels at once: visual and audial: live voice and a proper background music — that would be sweet.

S3. Add a link to https://www.***.com/about, where a user can uncover more details about the product and the company. Call it, for example, “Find out more about ***”.

S4. Put a soft apology for not supporting mobile right on the landing page.
This would set user expectations straight.

S5. Suggest switching to a full version. One might be difficult to use on mobile, but let a user decide for oneself — give it a try or let it all go.

S6. Now that you’ve managed to free some space up, ensure to add your company contact info. For instance, you can make it sitting in a page footer.

It would be also nice to make the logo clickable and leading to https://www.***.com/about

Show the users that you value their time, understand their pain of not being able to spellcheck on mobile, and provide options. They’ll understand and appreciate.

And now it’s time to THANK YOU for the patience and courage you applied to plough through this long read! I hope this pain was worth it :)”