By Kees Wolters, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Mopinion
It may come as a surprise to many of you how much effort is put into developing mobile apps nowadays. And why all the effort? If designed well, your app can give you the upper hand in the battle for market share. Note: the key words here are ‘if designed well’. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case with all mobile apps on the market. Sure, they get the job done, but many of these apps still lack key features their users crave and a strong user experience. Fortunately, there is a remedy for these poorly designed mobile apps that will help put them back on top: in-app feedback.
So Why is In-App Feedback So Important?
Mobile apps have become the bread and butter for many businesses. After all, they can open new channels of revenue, enable you to provide more modern social media campaigns, introduce you to new marketing strategies and much more.
But with a great app comes great responsibility and it all starts with understanding what your users want. In such a highly competitive mobile market, providing a good user experience has become the key to survival. Especially now in 2018, where developers are up against additional technological challenges such as artificial intelligence and augmented reality. Collecting in-app feedback will not only give you the insights you to need to boost user experience and the usability of your app, but also to keep your users loyal to your brand.
There have been several recent innovations in the area of in-app feedback that also might be worth mentioning. For example, in-app feedback can now be collected in a variety of different ways, including Webviews, APIs and SDKs. Additionally, some feedback software offer a visual feedback feature, which gives mobile users the opportunity to submit screenshots along with their feedback. This is great for identifying bugs and usability issues right off the bat!
Now, let’s take a look why you should be collecting this feedback in-app:
When it comes to mobile apps, looks aren’t always everything. You can develop the best looking app in the store, but if your users can’t figure out how to use it, odds are they’ll leave and never come back. In fact, studies reveal that 90% of all downloaded apps are used only once and then eventually deleted by users. This is obviously not something on your bucket list as a designer.
To prevent users from abandoning a mobile app, most designers create some sort of onboarding process. Not familiar? User onboarding is exactly how it sounds. It is a way of getting your users ‘onboard’ — or better acquainted — with your app. This includes showing them how to complete tasks and engage with the app in the easiest and most efficient manner.
Luckily for mobile app designers, there are many ways to do this. Perhaps the most popular, however, is to create an interactive tour that walks your users through how to use the app. The onboarding process within the language learning app, Duolingo is a great example of this. Alternatively, you can add tips on empty screens (not yet filled with data) or try gamification. For example, you could try using a spoiler that encourages the user to use the app more frequently so that they will be pushed to learn more and dig deeper. Aside from these examples, there are plenty of other ways to get your users up and running. For more tips, be sure to check out this article.
While the main purpose of these onboarding methods is to inform and prepare your users for your app, they also serve as ideal opportunities to learn more about your users, see which problems they’re facing or determine which steps are difficult for them to understand. With that data, you can start taking steps to eliminate any bottlenecks and start improving the process for future users.
You can collect feedback from your mobile app users in various different ways. However, with user onboarding one of the most effective ways is by using activity-based feedback. This means that depending on how far your user has come in their onboarding, you can ask them why they’ve stopped moving forward or alternatively (if they completed the onboarding), what their overall experience was.
2. Enables you to prioritise your roadmap
Many businesses in the process of building a new mobile app usually have tons of exciting features on their roadmap that they hope one day to implement. Responsive design, customisation, social media login, offline capabilities, speed, etc. Whatever it is, hold your horses! Lots of developers tend to get ahead of themselves here and start rolling out features all at once. This can be not only overwhelming for your app users, but it can also cause quite a bit of chaos in the UX department. Try starting off slow and test as you go.
Insights obtained from collecting in-app feedback will provide you with an indication of which features are highly valued by your users and which features could use a little TLC. For example, you can try using touch heatmaps to find out where your users are focusing their attention. This knowledge will also help you prioritise your entire mobile roadmap so that you are better equipped to meet or even exceed the expectations of your users. Note: this will vary from app to app depending on the context of the app!
3. Helps you (consistently) monitor in-app performance
Consistently monitoring your app’s performance is critical, especially when you are launching new features or plan to launch new features. After all, it’s technology… things can go wrong and not fixing them in a timely manner will put users off to your brand. Take it from McKinsey.
Are you familiar with the Lean Start-Up methodology? According to this method, applying short feedback cycles before building a product (e.g. a mobile app) is the key to creating a successful product. By collecting feedback in cycles, you can continuously test how your app is performing and later make the necessary changes to enhance the performance.
4. Lets you engage more with your app users (and in real-time)
On top of providing you with deep insights into the customer journey and user experience, in-app feedback can also give you more detailed information about your users. For example, you can collect metadata from users such as demographics, browser type, OS and more. This data can then help you form personas.
Try cross analysing these personas with the other kinds of feedback results such as NPS or CSAT and you’ll be surprised to learn how powerful these insights can be. In fact, they will give you the chance to provide a more personalised experience for your users.
Not to mention, most feedback tools collect this feedback in real-time so you know exactly what’s going on in your mobile app all the time.
5. It can be a great financial investment, helping you save money even!
That’s right. Last but not least is the financial benefit of having in-app feedback! After all, developing a mobile app isn’t always a cheap project.
Think about it, adding new features and altering the existing ones can be quite expensive if these decisions are based on presumptions alone. By collecting feedback from customers who have experienced your app first-hand, you will be much better equipped to make meaningful changes to your app.
These five reasons should be reason enough for you to understand why collecting in-app feedback is so important, but don’t forget about what comes after collection. The last step is to summarise, classify and analyse the results. This understanding of where you’re going wrong (or right!) will put you on the right track to adjusting your app roadmap and achieving a successful mobile app!