The Evolution of ShutApp

ShutApp is an Android App that simply helps users to shut down all the background Apps, which save phone’s power dramatically.


I am an Android user as well as an iOS user. Compared with iOS, Android is way more open, while, to some extent, it gives away some user experiences. My colleagues and friends who are using Android phones always complain about the battery drains and annoying notifications. Below are some quotes from them:

“I hate those endless notification pushes.” 
“why dose the battery always run out quickly? ”

Based on users’ voices, our development team dug into these problems, and the verdict comes down to the running background apps are the ringleader. Hence I came up with a problem statement:

Android users NEED an efficient gadget 
TO shut down running background apps 
BECAUSE these apps keep draining the battery, stealing data, and pushing annoying notifications without users’ permission.

Admittedly, there are a bunch of task killer apps in the market, however, most of the apps require rooted Android phone. On top of that, many apps have complicated interface and redundant features.


Create a minimal task killer app that helps Android users save battery and network data, and also keep away from annoying notifications without root.


Before jumping in the work, I always map out a task flow of every single behaviour step by step. In order to keep it simple, I set off with the main flow at first.


I tried to make a high fidelity prototype, because it allows me to get more real feedback from users. Before visual design, I sketched out elements and the layout on paper and started to think about how different screens can be linked up with each other.

I opted for the round as a symbol to represent “tappable” throughout ShutApp. Round is not only a signifier of a button but also a face. I tried to deliver a humanised ShutApp which is like a human being who has emotion. Therefore, I designed a smiling face and a sad face represents for completion and failure respectively.

The transition animation tells users something is in progress. The shutting animation mimics a telly is being shut down in a skeuomorphic way.



After visual design, I pulled everything into Axure and laid them out. At last, I exported an interactive HTML prototype on mobile. Below is the first iteration of ShutApp.

From here, It was ready to conduct a guerrilla usability test.


Collect feedback from users.


What: ShutApp prototype 
Who: Android users around us 
Where: Office


“What is this app for?” 
“Should I tap here?”
  1. Users hardly told what kind of app ShutApp is at the first glance. 2/3 of users didn’t know that ShutApp is a battery saving app.
  2. Users hesitated to tap “SHUT” button. 1/3 of users asked whether they should tap it before doing so.


A lack of connection between ShutApp and the status of mobile might be the problem that hinder users’ action.


In order to put the screen in context, I added two key statistics which are battery consumption and data consumption on to screen.




  1. Make sure if users understand ShutApp at first use.
  2. Observe if users can get through the task.


“What are these numbers?” 
“I didn’t see numbers but the SHUT button.”
  1. Users didn’t understand the numbers.All users asked us about the meaning of numbers.
  2. Users didn’t notice the numbers.Some even didn’t see the numbers. When we asked users what they saw on the landing page, they told us the SHUT button was the only thing that they could recall.


According to findings, the second version didn’t solve the problems at all. The figures confused people. Users could not build a bridge between cause(numbers) and effect(shut button). What we want to deliver is that background apps lead up to low battery life and extra data usage, so I need to tap SHUT button to shut down background apps to save power and data.


Progressive Disclosure

  1. Users’s attention is limited, so I highlighted the figures and cut down other clutters.
  2. I designed an animation to help users understand what is going on when they see the numbers. At the beginning, numbers start from 0, and go up rapidly, then numbers pop a bit when it reaches the final value. This quick animation indicates ShutApp is scanning background apps.
  3. When the scan finishes, the SHUT button lights up.



Everyone understood the numbers and finished the task flow successfully. This version has been adopted as the final version.


  1. Do not expect users to read everything on screen. Like 7±2 theory, the lesser information is presented at a time, the more information users would notice and remember.
  2. Convention help users understand better. Something we are familiar with in daily life help users understand. Convention is like a language that everybody masters, for instance, the scanning animation tells users that ShutApp is checking mobile.

Junyue Hua is a UX designer based in NYC.

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