Small App Changes That Make a BIG Difference

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User experience is everything.  If the UX sucks, people will uninstall an app pretty quickly. That’s not good, especially when there are thousands of similar apps on the market.

These days, apps are never really finalized.  The most successful developers constantly tweak and test their apps for optimal user engagement.  Every app has areas that could be improved.  The smallest annoyances can create problems that affect your ROI.

The good news is, with a few minor app design tweaks you can greatly improve the user experience and make a big difference in revenue. Try some of these changes for maximum impact.

Flat design = Fast load time = Happy users

nike flat designFlat design is a minimalist design technique that removes style choices that give the illusion of three-dimensionality. You won’t see any drop shadows, gradients, or textures. Instead, the designer focuses on the interplay of icons, color, and typography.

The minimalist use of simple elements allows the interface to be well organized. This style offers an efficient way to convey information to users while still looking appealing. It’s also easier to make responsive designs for different devices.

But the biggest advantage is the faster load times. Mobile users want information quickly while on-the-go, so they have little patience for sluggish apps.  Flat design boosts performance by getting rid of unnecessary graphics and animations.

Adding more navigation elements

The navigation menu can be a very challenging aspect of mobile design. Your goal should be to make it simple for users to navigate the different features of the app.  Ease of navigation can determine if users will stick around or not.


Disclosure indicators are little chevrons displayed to show that a menu leads somewhere. They’re used to help users find information. According to the iOS Human Interface Guidelines, disclosure indicators should be used whenever one screen leads to a related submenu.

Detail disclosure buttons show additional information to users in a new view. These little buttons are located to the right of list items. Designers can use detail disclosure buttons to aid navigation and provide extra information.

Optimize in-app review prompt timing

Positive reviews have a big impact on mobile app downloads and revenue. Prompts are a necessary method to remind users to leave reviews.  But it’s important to time prompts properly for maximum effectiveness.

Don't make the mistake of asking users to review an app too soon.  That can actually have a negative impact on the user experience.  Users are less likely to leave a review in those situations, because the prompt interrupts the normal user flow.

review popup

Make your review buttons stand out!  Sparkle, highlight, glow… whatever you have to do to catch the user's eye.

To get better positive reviews, it’s important to ask when the moment is right.  Wait until the user has finished a task or accomplished something within the app.  Prompting for a review when users are feeling good generally results in more positive reviews.

Another strategy is to change your wording.  Stay away from traditional phrases like – “Like this app?  Leave a review.”  Get creative!  And test different styles of language to get more reviews.

Provide in-app feedback for unhappy users

Unfortunately, you can’t please every user.  Negative reviews do tank your App Store rankings. That’s why it's important to make it easy for users to give in-app feedback.

tiny town reviews

Check out the app Tiny Town above.  When the user leaves a 1-2 star review, they are taken to a support email to leave feedback.  If the user leaves a 3-5 star review, they are taken to the App Store ranking screen.

This method allows you to detect negative reviews and deal with them directly so they don’t end up in the App Store. When you use an in-app feedback system, you can get real-time valuable insights about customer issues, but it won’t affect your success in the App Store.

Give users big in-app upgrade options

On average, less than 2% of users make in-app purchases. But those people tend to be big spenders. According to W3i research, content priced between $9.99 and $19.99 generates 47% in-app purchase revenue.

The numbers show that users who are willing to spend more typically make big purchases. If you want to increase revenue, try bundling your in-app purchases together. Basically, you want to make it easy for big spenders to upgrade to all paid features with a single click.

The bottom line? It’s all about the users

It may seem obvious, but it’s easy to spend a ton of time on your app without really thinking about how users will react.  Always look at your app as if you’ve never seen it before.  Pay special attention to design simplicity, ease of navigation, and value.

Your app may be simple to use, but does it fill a need?  Is it valuable, but hard to use? These are important questions to ask during the development process and beyond.

Do you have an app tip to share?  Tell us in the comments.

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