Mobile App Development

Know the User Journey to Strategise Better

Know the User Journey to Strategise Better

User journey mapping is a very useful exercise all the app developers, marketers and entrepreneurs can take for their apps. It provides you a clear picture of all the interactions app users have with your app. For the developers, the app user journey tells them how well the UI of the app has been responding. Information is provided about the errors and when have they been popping up. It tells them about the UX and the things that have been going right about them. User experience designer can understand the gaps users feel in your app.  Marketers and entrepreneurs can gain insight about user acquisition – they will know why the user decided to download the app and how did he discover the app and why he left it.

App user journey most importantly provides information on how the user uses the app. it is a detailed report of what steps a user took in a particular task at a particular stage in an application. It is a good way to map ‘as-is user flow’ and compare it with ‘as-it-could-be user flow’. You get clarity on user’s need and the idea is to meet up his needs and requirements in the best way possible.  It is to understand a user and his environs before he engages fully with the app, during his engagement and post engagement. When you look at the big picture there are five touch points that a user provides on his interaction with an app.

#1 App Discovery

This is when a user discovers your app. So how do most of your users discover your apps?  It is important for you to know this so that you can fine-tune the way you are marketing your app and get right kind of users. You could ask this information when users first download the app and are registering the basic information. Or you could provide an in-app incentive to get this information. You could also get this information along with other information if you combine your query with an interesting offer or discount and email your users.

Related: 6 Trends That Will Shape Mobile App Development Landscape in 2016.

# 2 App Download and Install

After the users discover your app they download it. Why do customers download and install the app? There can be many reasons. They like app reviews and ratings. They like the app offering and want to stay updated with the help of its notifications. The app meets the user’s need or the app comes heavily recommended by peers or friends. The app contains products that are not available elsewhere. There is an in-app sale with enviable offers available on the app. You could use app analytics to understand when the installs increase. Do they increase after you advertise an in-app sale? Are the app installs directly related to your app ads on TV?

It is important to know why a particular user was motivated to install your app. It helps you competitively analyze your marketing strategies.

#3 App On-boarding

Some apps are intuitive; some apps need to provide a bit of handholding to their users. After the app is downloaded and installed, the user explores the app and checks if it meets his requirements. This is the tricky phase. All the skills of UI and UX designers and app developers can be seen and tested during this stage of a user’s journey.  The idea of the onboarding process is basically to gently guide the user from install -to-registration-to-first purchase. A good onboarding process encourages retention.

It is important to know if there are un-installs at this stage. Complicated or lengthy user registration process, dissatisfaction with UI and UX, irrelevant and useless available information, slow launch time and app crashes are some of the reasons that see immediate uninstalls. It is best to use tools that provide you app analytics and details on app crashes to quickly find out pain points so that they can be resolved before the user gives the app his final 2nd or  3rd try, which then is followed by the uninstall.

#4 App Use and Purchase

You need to understand the users who use your app and reach the first purchase stage and are routinely using all its features. Users stay with the apps only if the apps meet their needs. The apps need to be user-friendly with good UI and UX. Users reuse apps if they are provided good deals, personalized messages, and alerts, rewards, loyalty points etc.

Users uninstall the app after trying it for reasons like lengthy checkout process, complicated and insecure payment process, annoying pop-ups, not being able to use coupons or discounts availed during check out and insufficient product or pricing details. Users also uninstall the apps quickly if they are big in size or are draining the battery. Retailers could send retargeting emails to entice the users again.

#5 Loyalty: Re-purchase with the help of App

When customers stay with your apps and use it for repurchases; as app developers and retailers you should be happy because that is your ultimate goal. If your app is retained by the user for re-purchases it clearly means it is providing the needed benefits and value to the user. To entice the user, retailers could provide discount coupons and promise attractive exclusive deals on their next purchase through the app, personalized recommendations could be sent to them, referral rewards and loyalty points can be offered which can later be in-cashed with the next purchase.

If there are no offers or incentives provided to the users, they may uninstall the app. If there is no engagement, there is no loyalty. If there are too many in-app notifications pushing him to purchase, the app will be uninstalled.

There are several app analytic tools like Flurry that provide you features like event framework and user path to tell you more about user behavior. Tools like Heatmaps, Appsee, UXCam, App, Flight recorder, and Heatdata track user engagement. They can provide answers to questions like where should ads be located in the app? Where should the in-app purchase messages be? Which buttons and features are mostly used? Which can be removed? Adding which button will improve the UX? The data from available analytic tools and A/B testing gives you good ideas about optimal designing and placement of UI elements.

There are tools like UXPressia and Canvanizer which can help you map the user journey. When you begin to map the user journey of your app, don’t make it too complicated. It need not include every aspect of a customer’s experience. It should focus on users’ needs and his expectations and if as an app developer you were able to meet his needs and expectations. If not, what are the steps you are taking to be there – you need to think about this aspect. Your customer support staff will provide you the missing important details.


Mapping a user journey can be a tedious exercise but it tells you all about how your app is being perceived by the users. This exercise can be undertaken at both the stages -while the app is in the development stage and when the app is launched and is being used by users. It helps you understand the gap between your expectations and user’s reality. App developers expect the app and its users to go a certain way ideally while in real life the users take unexpected detours and experience many errors on their journey. It tells you about the pain points users have while using the app. It helps you create more positive experiences. It helps you improve the app and provides insights on how to increase conversions and provide a better user experience to the users.

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