Why do people delete mobile apps?

There are many other sectors that the travel industry can learn from when it comes to ecommerce and the development of mobile apps.

These learnings are particularly important given that the competition within the travel sector is as fierce as many other categories, and therefore understanding how others deal with challenges is a must.

Whilst website design and booking paths are somewhat unique to the travel industry, given the complexity and peculiarities of the product, mobile websites and apps have some universal features.

Such guidance from other ecommerce sectors can only help because one of the overriding issues with smartphones is that users appear to be a rather fickle group of people.

Mobiles, in short, have amazingly high rates of users uninstalling their mobile apps.

So, UK-based ITR set out to find out why so many of the 1,000 mobile applications that are uploaded across all sectors EVERY SINGLE DAY are banished to the virtual rubbish bin so frequently.

The research (4,000 regular smartphone users) looks across the mobile app market, but dives deeper into gaming, business (utilities) and education services.

So, across all sectors, app retention rates:


Reasons why mobile apps are uninstalled:


In particular, for gaming apps:


For business apps:


For education apps:


ITR has created a list of the most common mistakes when it comes to designing and figuring out the best user experience for mobile apps.

1) Non-standard GUI controls

  • Non-standard scrollbars which can cause users to overlook some of the options available on the app.
  • text and headlines that look like links causing users to try and tap non responsive text.
  • Adding elements which look like buttons but do not initiate an action.

2) Not localised

  • Not localising global apps for multiple languages. 50% of the countries within the top 10 for downloads and revenue are countries where English is not the first language. The user experience is therefore inferior or more challenging than that of a native English speaker.

3) Inconsistency

  • Using different words or commands for the same action or element (for example blog and newsroom).
  • Using the same word for multiple concepts in different parts of the app.

4) No default values

  • Not using drop down menus can slow down interaction as users have to specify every value.
  • Missing default values cause confusion over what type of answer is appropriate for the question asked.

5) Dumping users into the app

  • Not providing any set-up information to give users an idea of what’s going to happen or how to operate the app.
  • Not offering users simple easy to read instructions can cause users to close the app as they will not spend time reading excessive information.

6) One size fits all approach

  • Designing for one particular screen size will limit devices your app will work on.
  • Not taking into account screen rotation will prohibit users from using their preferred device holding position.

7) Tiny click targets

  • Tiny click targets which users miss and click outside the active area which may cause users to believe that something isn’t actionable.

8) Overload of features

  • Overwhelming users with too many features at the very beginning can give the perception of an over-complicated and confusing app.

NB: Mobile apps angry image Shutterstock.

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.



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