Mobile users becoming more demanding and less patient

If you’re a mobile app developer or tester here’s some good news, according to a study released by Compuware, 85% of smartphone users prefer native apps over mobile web. The bad news? They have very high expectations, and you’re not meeting them.

Want to hear some scary statistics?

  • 55% of users have experienced a problem with a mobile app
  • 62% have had an app crash, freeze or throw an error
  • 47% experienced sluggish launch
  • 40% have had an app fail to launch entirely
  • 37% experienced an app that didn’t function like they expected
  • 59% of users expect a native app to launch in 2 seconds or less. The study doesn’t even consider launch times over 4 seconds.

So what if your app takes a bit longer to load or experiences a unfortunate issue? You better fix it soon or hope it’s a fluke, because users are becoming simultaneously more demanding and more impatient. From TechCrunch:

What is interesting is how low users’ tolerances are for apps with problems. 79 percent report that they would only retry an app once or twice if it failed to work the first time.

Only 16 percent said they would give it more than two attempts.

There’s more to be concerned about. With the ever-increasing social sharing nature of society, people aren’t content with just deleting an app and moving on. They’re going to share their poor experience on Twitter, Facebook, blogs and in app store reviews.

There it is for all potential new users to see, “crashed,” “slow,” “couldn’t get it to open,” a few simple words that can scare a downloader away.

Luckily there’s a few things you can do to make sure you keep users happy. First, invest in good mobile app testing. Don’t skim over it, don’t cut it short if development takes longer than expected and don’t ignore important bugs just to make deadline (users won’t care if you fix these bugs in the next version or an update, by then it’s too late, their opinion has been formed).

An important component of mobile app testing these days is testing in-the-wild. There are simply too many mobile permutations to replicate in a lab. Besides, your users won’t be launching the app in a well-connected lab environment, they’ll be booting it up out in the real world where a host of outside influences can make things go awry.

The second thing you can do is continue monitoring your app after launch. Keep testing and keep your ear to the ground for user sentiment. Keeping an eye on app store reviews will help you pinpoint user pain points. Don’t waste your time sifting through reviews manually and trying to make sense of them in the world’s largest spreadsheet. Applause does all the work for you, you just need to consume the data.

Now, if you’re a tester, keep the issues highlighted in the Compuware survey in mind while testing a mobile app. Launch the app a few times while monitoring load time. If it consistently takes longer than two seconds the developers might want to know.

What happens if you have other apps or programs running in the background (because real users will)? Does it effect the launch time? Play around with the app and do your best to make it crash or freeze. If you’re testing a new version of an existing app, go to Applause and see what the main user complaints about the current version are. Test the app with this knowledge to see if the problems have been fixed.

User expectations aren’t going to go backwards, they’re only going to get more demanding. Don’t fall behind now.

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