UX Magazine has a useful recent article on "Problems and Solutions for Financial Smartphone Apps". While it talks about financial apps, the observations based on a study of 600 financial app users are just as applicable to most other apps.
70% of users reported frustration trying to accomplish what they were trying achieve. The main problems were apps freezing, dropped Internet connections, difficulty getting to a customer service representative when needed and problems searching for help. Digging deeper into assistance, there were problems with dropped or disconnected (37.9%) calls and waiting on hold too long (31%). 27.6% said customer service agents lacked the knowledge to help.
Frustrated users either deleted the app, used it less frequently and/or complained on social media. 28% complained on Facebook and 18% complained on Twitter.
What does all this mean for developers? Freezing apps are symptomatic of two things: poor coding and the current craze to cut corners and directly embed whole server side HTML pages in apps. It’s far better to handle poor connectivity in native code such that the UI doesn’t freeze.
Regarding support, it’s often thought about too late on in projects. Think about…
- Training up first line support in good time.
- Having a FAQ within the app that isn’t itself online which is otherwise double frustration if users don’t have an Internet connection.
- Designing in some customer support functionality so users don’t have to ring.
- Designing in ways users can diagnose problems themselves. For example, if required, you might include a simple test for Internet connectivity.
- Designing in ways, such as switchable logging, so that app problems can be diagnosed remotely.
- Using industry standard error logging/reporting to pre-empt problems.