Get your app out of the way of your app.

If I could give one piece of advice to someone about their user-facing product it would be: Get your app out of the way of your app. Simplify your user experience until the core journey is so easy to complete it hurts. Don’t simplify just for the sake of simplicity however — simplify with your user in mind. Ask yourself: ‘What is the primary goal of my app? What does my user want to do when they open it?’ and throw everything else away.

It’s so easy to muddy your UI with cool features that you can actually end up obscuring the end goal of your user journey. I work at Happiour, a London-based coupon app which lists nearby time-sensitive offers. The app has moved through various iterations and it’s still evolving today. The original concept of Happiour was focussed heavily on using basic social networking features within the app to achieve a high retention of users. We built and launched this and to our surprise our users weren’t using the app in the way we expected them to. On further digging into our analytics, it turned out that not only were the social features not being used, they were interrupting the core user journey and causing users to drop away!

Scaling back the social features helped clarify that journey and taught us a couple of important lessons. First of all, prioritise your users’ goals above your business goals. Ultimately if your users aren’t interested in your product, you don’t have a business. We thought that providing an invite system within the app would keep users hooked, and while that may work further down the line, it’s crucial that your product’s core journey is so easy and clear enough in the first place that users want to invite their friends. Second, don’t make assumptions about your users. Don’t guess which features they will like. Ask them. Talk to your users on a regular basis and find out what they think the app needs — then trial those features, making sure you keep that core journey crystal clear and free of any roadblocks.

I help teams turn their great business ideas into working MVPs. From conception through to UX, design, development and release. If you think I can help you, please send me an email.