5 Reasons Your Users Hate Your App And How To Fix Them

At Vermillion Sky we help people plan, design, and develop apps that people love to use. Throughout our years of service we always take time to learn why users uninstall apps. When it comes to your app, this is something that you must solve immediately. This issue is something plagues marketers, designers, and product managers. I have a secret, it’s because you’re doing something to annoy you users. Here, we’ve shared some of the reasons users hate using apps. You’ll learn how to keep your users happy and keep your app on their phones.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that a human uses your product. As product people we often forget that there is a human being behind the screen. Understand that it’s important to know your user. The best feedback is the one that you get from your current and potential users. From this perspective you can begin to emphasize with your users.

When you emphasize with your user, you understand the things that the love and the things that annoy them. Using their experience as a roadmap you can avoid annoying them. Using this technique we have a couple of rules of thumb.

Annoying Notifications

Over 50% of mobile app users find push notifications annoying. We’ve all been there, you’re doing something important, or you’re relaxing by the beach on a cool summer day. Then you hear it. Your phone starts vibrating and ringing. You open your phone only to see that it’s a useless push notification from a game that you downloaded 3 weeks ago.

It’s annoying. The medium of a push notification is set up in a way to convey urgent important information. A push notification contains a sound, vibration, and an animated transition from the home screen screen to the application. These aspects of a push notification are set up to trigger the pleasure center of your brain. This is the reason why when your phone is across the room, or in another room, you drop everything to see that new notification on our phone. The issue here is that if your push notification does not deliver value to your user at that moment, they will resent your app. Now this does not start as a big resentment, it grows to a mild annoyance over time. Users then abandon your app because of this resentment.

How do you fix this?

First you must know you users. Your users determine the value of your application. They determine if a notification is important or worth it. The best advice here is to segment your users and send them notifications that are specific to their context. Also, ensure that you’re giving enough value in your notification. Again value here is determined by you user not you. Hopper is great at this, they provide timely notifications that are specific to a user’s search.

One of the ways that you can show value is to let people know why you want to send them push notifications. You can do this by adding an intermediary screen before asking them to accept push notifications. Hopper is a great example. They let people know that they will receive value by accepting push notifications. Use this page to sell your push notifications to your users. Let them know that your push notifications are the create of the crop.

Remember that there is a human in front of that screen.

Excessive And Poor Ads

Users hate excessive and poor advertisements. If done poorly enough, your users will delete your app and leave a bad review. Let’s look at a review.

This game is fun. This user actually likes this game, but the ad experience here was so bad that they deleted the game. They then in turn took time out of their day to write a negative review. You really have to piss off a user to get them to write a negative review.

There are a couple of things that we can take away from this review. Most users understand that if they’re downloading your app for free they will see ads. Generally speaking most users are not bothered by a reasonable ad experience. Yet, you inundate them with ads by showing the user 3 different types of ads within 30 seconds. You are introducing a new problem while you’re solving one.

Users understand that they are trading attention for value. If you the core of your experience is riddled with ads. It will, in the user’s mind, lower the value of your product. You can avoid this by showing ads during the natural rest phases in your application. You’ll be able to identify these with a good UX designer or by testing how users use your app in the wild. Understand the tradeoff between the value that your app provides and what a user is willing to tolerate.

You can creating separate user cohorts and run ad tests against these cohorts. You can base your experiments on user behaviors. From there you iterate to the ad experience works best for your users. It’s complicated but very effective.

Poor Engagement

Users don’t like boring apps. 71% of app users churn within 90 days. 21% of users abandon an app after one use. Why? There are a few reasons. It could be that the app doesn’t fulfill the core promise to the user. If this is the case then your app is marketed well, but the the user is unhappy with the experience. You promised them value and you didn’t deliver.
Or your value is behind an unreasonable pay wall. This immediately frustrates users and prompts them to delete your app and leave a bad review.

When issues like these appear, you can remedy them by tracking your user’s activity. By tracking your user’s actions within your app you will learn where users drop off. From there ask them, connect with them. Open up a direct line of communication so that you can learn why they are leaving your app. You can also look at your reviews, sometimes they’ll tell you.

If your user drops off in the middle of your core value proposition, then you may have a problem with the value itself.

The most important thing to do is to let your data guide you. Ensure that you have all the tracking protocols in place on day 1 to be sure that you can learn the most from your users. Another reason could be that your app does not give a user a reason to come back. You must use different strategies for different business models. If your core monetization strategy is ads, then you want to see your users at least 11 times a month. Users that visit your app 11 times per month become the 29% of users that become loyal users.
To increase retention you want your users to build a relationship with your app. You can do this through:

  • Personalization: Giving users a unique experience based on their preferences
  • Rewards: Provide timely rewards for app usage, hitting milestones, or completing an important task.
  • Feedback: Allow you users to tell you what’s wrong, so that you can serve them better.
  • In App Messages: In app messages are not push notifications, they are messages that appear within your app’s experience. They are less intrusive than notifications and highlight important but not urgent events.
  • Push Notifications: Users need specific, personalized, contextual notifications to entice them to reopen your app. Also, don’t be afraid to ask the people who initially did not agree to accept push notifications to do so again. After using your app for a period of time they may see the value of getting push notifications.

Complex Registration

Users will not use your app if the signup process is difficult or if it asks them for too much information. The registration process should be simple. Email, password, name, or by simply logging in with Facebook or Google. Depending on your business model, no signup or a delayed sign up process might be the best. Do not inundate users with a complex sign up form. It is intimidating and it will cause them to delete your app.

You need to know how comfortable your users are with your brand before you ask them for personal information. If you want more information from your users you’re going to have to trade that information for value. For instance, you can ask for a user’s birthday, but offer them a 30% coupon for their next purchase. Please, let them know why you need their information. Don’t make extraneous personal information it mandatory because by doing this, you’ll lose users.

It’s give and take.Again, don’t force a user to give you their phone number, birthday, social security number, mother’s maiden name etc unless you’re opening up a bank account. Even in that case you must design the experience so that it is not overwhelming to the user.

Poor user experience

As product people, we do our best to design experiences that look great to us. Yet, we are not the user, the user is the user. We end up designing experiences for people who don’t emphasize with the users’ problem or context. When this happens the user has a clunky experience. They have to then weigh this experience, against the problem that your app solves. If the pain of using your app is higher than the user’s original pain, your user will delete your app.

UX is a complex subject that is beyond the scope of this post, but here are some tips that you can use to ensure that your users are happy:

  • Ensure that every screen has no more than two primary functions.
  • Keep your UI simple and uncluttered by using proper spacing
  • Optimize your UI for usage first and beauty second
  • Ensure proper brand guidelines
  • Test with the people who will use your app on a day to day basis

If you take my advice your users won’t delete your app. If you want to build an app that people love to use or if you want someone to help you validate your app idea:

Ken Vermeille
Ken Vermeille
The founder and CEO of Vermillion Sky. Ken Vermeille has 15 years of experience in product design and development. Creating his first website at 12 years old, he continues to build his talents by leveraging his ability to learn and implement any technology. In the past he's worked on mobile and web apps, video games, augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, business model generation, and anything to keep Vermillion Sky at the cutting edge of product design and development.