In addition to guest posting on the UpCity blog, UX 4Sight is featured as one of the Top UX Companies in Chicago. Check out their profile here.

You’ve invested time and energy into developing your app, and more than anything you want it to succeed. The only problem is that despite your efforts, engagement with the app doesn’t seem to be taking off. Customers aren’t as interested as you thought they’d be, and you’re beginning to fear that your app is a bust.

Don’t despair. There are certain mistakes that designers often make that directly affect the interest an app gets on the market. These mistakes are critical, but they’re not irreversible. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of being too close to the situation.

So, take a deep breath and a step back. These five insights will help you know where app design can go wrong and lead you in the direction to make it right again.

You’ve Forgotten that UX Is Priority One

The whole purpose of an app is to create the type of engagement that’s going to boost profitability. You’re thinking about the great things an app can do for your business, but in doing that, it’s easy to lose track of priority #1, your customer.

UX is huge for the success and reputation of your app. If it hasn’t been developed to optimize the user experience, new customers probably aren’t going to want anything to do with it. There’s too many choices to spend time on an app that isn’t focused on the customer experience.

If you’re not getting the results you wanted from your app, take a step back and look at it from the customer perspective. Look for details like a clean design and shortened check out forms. Look at every little detail through the eyes of your customer. For example, on the SeaWorld project our senior leadership needed to optimize the path-to-purchase for Sea World’s online visitors to improve conversions. This included shortening check out forms and screen flow.

Their experience with your app should be pleasant and seamless from beginning to end. This might mean reevaluating some of your key design and content concepts.

Additionally, web app design needs to be responsive. Remember, you want to provide a great UX for every customer everywhere, so design should be focused on the customer 100 percent of the time.

ux watch


You Were a Little Overzealous with Design

Speaking of UX, nothing kills it faster than an app that tries to do too much.

When customers are using your app on their smartphones, they have limited space. You should consider those few square inches of screen space to be prime real estate. You want to accomplish something with this space, so you need to be as concise as possible with it.

In terms of app design, being concise means becoming extra critical of the elements placed on each page. Too much distracts and pulls the user away from the core intention of the app. Too many elements leave the user unsure of what they should do, or where to look. It also makes navigation more difficult. Even a design element as simple as an X to exit is too much if it’s on an Android device where it’s completely unnecessary.     

ux example 2Source

Look at these two app designs as an example. The one on the left has way too much going on. Between the menu, login and design elements, there’s no way for the user to intuitively know what they’re supposed to do here. The second app design shows us something very different. Clean, simple minimalist design that doesn’t leave the user overwhelmed with choices.

Customers who are considering purchasing your app are going to look at screenshots of your design. Make sure what they see impresses them.

Setup and Installation Are Taking Too Long

We expect everything to be done quickly from our smartphones. If it’s not, we’re quick to back out and head somewhere that’s going to satisfy our need for speed. You probably already know that load speed is crucial to web design, but it’s equally important to the success of your apps.

If your app design takes too long to install and load, it’s going to cause problems with the user base. This translates into negative reviews that will affect the amount of new customers you attract. The solution to this is simple, optimize and test for speed before going live with your app, not after.

ux example 3


It Isn’t Available on the Right Devices

This is so simple that it really shouldn’t need to be said. But, that’s exactly why it’s on this list. Often, the simplest details make the biggest difference and are the first to be overlooked.

Whether you develop your app for Android, iOS, or both is up to you. However, before you make that decision, it’s best to do a little market research to find out which devices your target market is using. Factors that can influence device choice are age, income, gender, and psychographics. Spending a little time researching which devices your market is using ensures that your app is geared toward the right consumer.

ux example 4


You Failed to Discover What Your Customers Needed

You know that great design is non-negotiable to successfully launch your app. The problem is that many businesses are focusing on the wrong criteria for “great design.” App designers have good intentions. It’s just that sometimes they’re just focused on the wrong audience.

Engage your customers.

There’s no better resource for developing an app that new customers will want than the people who are already committed to your business. Granted, not every small business has the luxury of a large customer base to pull this information from, but the point is to reach out and collect what valuable information you can. Even if you don’t have a customer base to reach out to, a UX agency can easily recruit targeted customers on your behalf.

Begin by conducting UX research with your customers, even if you don’t already have an app. Trust that your customer base is going to have some great insights on what makes a stellar app. If you already have an app, discover what opportunities they see for improvement.

This doesn’t need to be a long, drawn out process. But it does take some careful UX research to arrive at the right insights of how to improve your app. When designing an app it’s always important to keep the end user in mind. Your business’s app will be successful when accounting for these five areas of opportunity when putting together your strategy.

Abdul Suleiman
Founder at
Abdul Suleiman is Founder and Chief Experience Officer of UX 4Sight, a Chicago-based digital user experience (UX) agency that specializes in making websites and applications easier to use and more profitable. Abdul has led in the creation of compelling and seamlessly executable digital experiences for Fortune 500 companies like AT&T, Citi, SeaWorld, and Verizon Wireless. As an Adjunct Professor, Abdul has taught in DePaul University’s Masters and Doctoral UX programs. He has also taught UX best practices globally for prominent companies like Disney, Intel, Visa, and Intuit.