3 ways User Experience can increase Retention on your App

🚀 Marine Wetzel ☀️
Published in
7 min readFeb 27, 2018


Sex Your App Up: a UX story!

I know, you’re building this amazing app, spending days and nights developing it, but meanwhile… over 80% of apps are actually opened … only once! Then how can you differentiate among the >2M apps now available in stores? Well, let’s start with a great UX!

Of course startups building apps are dealing with this challenge everyday, and when you’re starting your business you’re not always lucky enough to have an in-house UX expert. So having access to UX experts through the Founders Program is something quite valuable for our startups at STATION F.

No need to mention they were quite excited to have Olivier Berni & Thomas Jaussoin, Lunabee Studio’s cofounders, come share their expertise and experience about app UX!

“An app, it’s like a person, it’s the prolongation of yourself. Meaning they need to behave as a person.”

Great UX for your app presumes the exchange between you and the app should be as smooth as possible, and what’s more natural than human relation? The connection between app and user should be human-like. What makes a great human, makes a great app:

  1. Needs to be alive (duh).
  2. Needs to be well-mannered.
  3. Needs to be clear and concise.
Full room for Lunabee’s workshop

1. What makes your app alive

Like a human being, your app needs to react to interactions, even if it does not have a direct action. For example, it’s now intuitive for a user to swipe down a page to refresh it. Your app needs to react to this interaction, even if it does not refresh the page. If nothing happens when swiping down, the user may think something is not working. You need to make sure your app reacts to intuitive interactions your users will have.

Whatsapp App example

Let’s take Whatsapp as an example. When you slide down not only does the search field appear, but you also unlock the archived conversations. Something happens, which proves to the user that the app is alive.

Like a human being, your app needs to be fluid and natural. Of course it has to be fluid, but it also has to be fast. If it lags when scrolling down, your user won’t stay very long. It has to be natural, meaning not too surprising for the user (don’t disrupt their habits!).

FNAC App example

Let’s take the FNAC app example. The button to fine-tune your research is not located in a usual spot. Plus, the way it opens after clicking isn’t either. The experience is not fluid and natural for the user.

Natural not only relates to the visual, but also to the animations in the app. For instance what is the optimal speed to change from one screen to another? And when should you accelerate while changing screens? The graphs below show you the two optimal scenarios. In both cases, acceleration should be at the beginning.

So…. do you think your app is human enough?

2. What makes your app well-mannered

How should you ask to activate notifications?

Many apps still boldly ask the user to activate the notifications. But wait! Would you do that in real life with someone you just met? Not so sure.

This kind of pop-up notification was efficient years ago, but now most people are well aware of how to manage properly their notifications as to not become overwhelmed. Some even shut them down completely to take the control back on when and to what they give their attention. And once the user has refused notifications from your app it’s very difficult to reverse the situation. They need to dig through settings and that’s a huge time constraint for the average person.

How to make your app well-mannered then?

Let’s take the example of Zenly. Zenly’s app lets users see where their friends currently are on a map using constant GPS in the background. Needless to say that asking the user his location is quite intrusive. Well, how did they do it?

The key: a meticulous onboarding to enhance the added value to let the app access personal data.

In the case of Zenly, they strengthen the value of sharing your location from the very start. Sharing your position enables you to know when your friends add you on the app, or when they send you a message. From there, the user is no longer accepting notifications, but he accepts Zenly to let him know about his friends activity.

It’s the same thing technically, but a completely different approach with the way you communicate it.

Zenly’s onboarding

With this simple but well-thought-out onboarding, Zenly gets a much higher success rate.

In the end, remember one thing:

Ask politely, like a human :)

How should you ask for a review?

One ugly truth: if you don’t have at least 4 stars in the app store, you don’t exist.

So how can you optimize this grade? Let’s take the example of the App OneSafe who increased its grade on the app store from 4.77 to 4.92. That’s quite a score! They experimented with two ways to do it.

First: The Do you love strategy.

Instead of asking their users to rate the app, oneSafe first asks if they love it. Depending on their answer, you can either redirect them to the app store to rate well the app, or to customer support to attempt to improve their experience.

Second: The discrete notification strategy.

Instead of asking through a pop-up notification (which can be annoying), OneSafe tried to put a discreet notification in the app, as you can see below. Naturally the user wants to click on it, but in his own time. The app does not force him to review it now, but the user can do it when he has time for it.

By doing this OneSafe not only increased its grade from 4.77 to 4.92, but also increased the number of reviews. Below is the evolution of the number of reviews and the overall grade of the app.

In the end, remember:

All push notifications should have a justified and real value for the user.

3. What makes your app simple

3 things to keep in mind:

One app, One mission. Or you will lose your user fast. Facebook Messenger is a great example of that. The two Facebook apps have completely different missions, so they made completely different and separate products.

A regular user won’t read more than 5 words. It is then crucial for your app to be able to be as graphic and visual as possible; text alone won’t retain your user. The only exception to this insight is with chatbots. Indeed the user gets the impression that a real human is talking to him, and makes the effort to read more than one message from an app.

Don’t give in to technological pride. You have recently mastered and developed a great new feature that is quite difficult to implement, but you’ve done it! So, of course you want to make it live for your users. You’re proud, and you should be. But keep in mind that your user does not have a clue about the technical difficulty of this feature, and the real motivation should not be the technological pride (which is a human feeling, I’ll give you that) but the real relevance for your users.

Here you go, Folks! This should be a good starting kit for sexing your app up. Thanks Lunabee Studio for the workshop at STATION F!

By the way, the Founders Program gives you access to many more ressources! Wonder what it’s like to be part of it? Roxanne Varza gives you a glimpse here.

Psst! You can still apply to join!



🚀 Marine Wetzel ☀️

Station F & StartHer Teams 🍀 Building the world's biggest startup campus 🙌🏻 #Entrepreneurship #Tech #WomenInTech