Mobile App Design

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A lot of articles have been written about design, even a lot, both about its UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) components. This article is not for beginners, so we will not go into the basics here.

We consider design and formulations not from the point of view of appearance, although there are projects in which it is appearance that is the main value of the product, but from the point of view of conversion. In the article, using our Photo and Video Transfer app and Image Transfer as an example , we will talk about working on the following tasks using design:
  • The increase in the number of email subscribers.
  • Increase in the number of users who allow push notifications.
  • Increase profits when working on the freemium model.
  • Increased user return rates.
  • Decrease bounce rates.

Below you can find basic data and practical recommendations. We also highly recommend reading the previous article on the promotion of mobile applications, you can find it here . So, let's begin.


Since we are not a monobrand company, we must do what so many marketers are talking about - preparing to launch each new product in advance. But here's the problem - all the recommendations go beyond the advice “create a landing page with an email subscription”. In practice, few people need your landing page, and the maximum you can count on is 1000 email addresses at best.
We decided to create our own marketing communications with users, as the main promotion tools, we identified the following:

  • Base email addresses
  • Base push notifications devices
  • New product users and current session users - splash screens

At the moment, we have a database of about 100,000 email addresses, 700,000 push notifications devices and the ability to show splash screen to all new users, and this figure can reach 60,000 or more if you prepare for the campaign in advance. So in order.

The increase in the number of email subscribers.

Users leave email addresses extremely reluctantly, especially where there is no urgent need, for example, if registration is not required. We drew a screen with a cute iPhonecheck that offered to subscribe to our email newsletter. As a result, only 3% of users, apparently out of sympathy for our character, left their email addresses. The remaining 97% were heartlessly passing by. We especially did not count on a large number of subscribers and were not upset, but the conversion percentage, of course, we wanted to increase.

And we found a simple and free way - we replaced the word Subscribe with Register. Indeed, the user downloaded our application, did it officially through the AppStore, and the understandable and familiar action of registering the application. Thus, we seem to have no registration, but it seems to be there. The procedure is optional, as there would be a mandatory registration, without obvious reasons for this, we would get a stop screen, and we also need to earn money on this application. Bottom line: the number of email subscribers has increased 3 times and now amounts to about 9-11%.

Profit increase

Despite the fact that we were able to maintain a fairly large number of downloads every day using different methods ( HERE is more detailed about this , the conversion to paid users was not very high.

In this case, we not only redesigned the design, but also updated a bit of the business model. In the first Image Transfer versionswe gave the opportunity to send up to 5 FILES (photos and videos) for free. An important point is to show the purchase window only when the user has the maximum need for this purchase, so Evernote offers upgrade when you run out of free volume. In our case, this moment was the transfer of more than 5 files, when sending a smaller number the in-app purchase screen did not even appear. As it turned out, users quite successfully sent up to 5 video files (2-3) and did not see the purchase screen, and 10 photos could be sent twice.

As a result, we banned the free transfer of video files to Image Transfer in principle, this could only be done for money and we updated the purchase screen. Now the user had a choice: “Remove restrictions on the photo”, “Remove restrictions on the video” and “Remove all restrictions”, while in the screenshot below you can notice that “Remove all restrictions” costs SO MUCH how much and remove restrictions on a photo. A bargain is not it? And users have become much more likely to see the in-app purchase screen and, most importantly, make the choices we need. As a result, profits have even more than doubled since we managed to increase the conversion and cost of the product. There was even a couple of people who managed to remove restrictions in turn :)

Increased conversion of push notifications

In solving this problem, we encountered two problems:

  • There is only ONE unique opportunity to show the system message on access to push notifications. Then the user needs to do this himself in the settings.
  • Not obvious is the need for push notifications in Image Transfer.

Here we managed to kill two birds with one stone - solving the first problem, we solved the second. Indeed, if the user clicks “Don’t allow” when prompted, then you won’t be able to show this message to him (remember this, the creators of instant mail client services). So, before making a system request for push notifications access, the user sees a screen where our character is iPhone, explains why it is necessary to open this access, thereby solving problem No. 2. There are “Allow” and “Later” buttons on this screen. If the user clicks “Later”, then the system request is not shown to him and we do not use our only attempt, and we can show this particular screen as many times as necessary.

I must admit that we ourselves sin by not adding a preliminary screen before the request, but only in those applications in which the conversion level suits us.

A Little About Rate This App

Here you read that the ratings of the application are extremely important for promotion, they affect users' decisions and positions in the search results.

I gave a presentation on application design at two conferences, Apps4All and DesignLab , on both I mentioned the need for Rate This App, on both I remembered the same story: Once I downloaded the application and launched it. The application crashed. I opened the application a second time and it crashed again. For the fifth time it didn’t crash, but showed me the “Please rate this app” screen. I said Ok, slapped one star and deleted the application, i.e. guys even give me a quick link so that I can put one star. Caring.

The problem was that the Rate This App algorithm worked very simply - after the 5th launch, show a window (or maybe even after the 10th and 15th). The model is understandable, but not universal. We have created our Rate This App algorithm, which is highly likely to guarantee high ratings from users. Of course, a dissatisfied user is more likely to give a bad review than a satisfied good one, but our algorithm is aimed specifically at restoring the balance of power. Everything here is very similar with in-app purchases - ask to write a review when the probability of getting 5 stars is maximum.

We figured out how you can further increase the likelihood of getting 5 stars. We came up with, but have not yet implemented, and Facebook has already added, so we rejoice at our quick wits and are disappointed in the promptness in this matter :) The method is very simple: invite the user to put the number of stars directly in the application. Of course, these stars will not go directly to the AppStore, but you control the situation - if the user puts 1 to 3 stars, ask him to write why he gave a low rating right in the application, and this message will go to your support, and in case when a user puts 4 or 5 stars, they immediately redirect to the AppStore. Noticed that this method is very similar to the method with a request for push notifications? There are a lot of such matches.

By the way, there is no special need to make a personalized Rate This App window, as in the picture, it affects the quality of ratings a little. Unless, of course, you have decided to use our idea.

Blank screens and lower bounce rates

A very common mistake of developers is the lack of information about the state of the system. For example, a user has downloaded an application for viewing PDF files — take the trouble to add at least one PDF file there, and if the user deletes it — instead of a white background, a message stating that there are no files and instructions on how to add them. So in our applications, the user is informed about each change in the state of the system or its current state - files are received, files are sent, there is no connection to wi-fi, there are no photos in the album, etc. This is a very important rule, if it is violated, then all previous conversions will also decrease significantly.

Creating your ecosystem

Big developers always have a lot to learn and that’s what we learned from Google. You can assign a unique URL-scheme to each application, which is also a unique identifier for your iOS application. This URL scheme allows one application to run another and even transfer some data to it. If you take a fresh example, you can look at the bundle of the Swarm and Foursquqre applications - you check in at Swarm, and information about a specific place is opened directly by Foursquare, when you click the Back button, you would be returned back to Swarm (!).

For now, we use this only informing the user who launched the free version of the product that he has a paid one installed and offer to open it. A small piece of code greatly increases user loyalty to our products.

Much interest is used by this opportunity by Google, which managed to create their own ecosystem on the basis of iOS, from which they are not in a hurry to release the user. So in the example in the picture, I tried to illustrate how the link opens in the Gmail application: If you open the link in the Gmail application, it opens not in Safari, but in Chrome (if it is installed), and the “Back” button is replaced by “Gmail "When clicked, the user returns back to the Gmail application.

This functionality opens up great opportunities for marketers and developers, but we use it too little.

About in-app purchases and games.

Domestic shopping is the topic of a great article, but here I will try to collect some tips:
  • Create multiple entry points to your store. Do not limit yourself to a simple message that the user does not have enough internal currency to take an action, immediately offer him to buy, right on this screen. Also, if there is an indicator of the amount of domestic currency, by tap on it also make the entry point to the store. Make a separate store button, etc. The more entry points - the higher the conversion, but do not overdo it, everything should be organic.
  • Use domestic currencies. It has long been proven that people spend more money if they use credit cards. This is due to the fact that there is no direct connection between spending in the application and real money, indeed, 5 “magic cherries” are easier to spend than 2 real dollars.
  • Use the appropriate virtual currency. If you have a scanner, use toner as the internal currency, if the application for sending postcards is stamps, etc. A clear metaphor will make it easier to understand spending.
  • Show the purchase screen when its probability is maximum.It makes no sense to show the purchase screen when you first start the application, you will only annoy the user. There is no this sense 100 times, show the purchase screen only when the user has the maximum need for this purchase. So Evernote offers to upgrade when you run out of free 60 megabytes per month and try to download new content - you need to download this content and you will most likely pay. If the application requires preliminary actions, show the purchase screen when the user has already made them, for example, be Instagram paid, with a limit on the number of photos, such a moment would come only after you took the photo, applied the filter, wrote a comment, noted all friends and clicked the Share button. Agree, it's not nice to lose so much work done.Image Transfer the purchase screen is shown only when the user has selected more than 5 photos and clicked the “Send” button, i.e. he had already done the work of selecting photographs.
  • Subscription Model. The most profitable model is the subscription model, as it guarantees a constant, monthly income from the user and makes almost any advertising campaign profitable. In order for such a model to work in your application, try to make sure that its value constantly grows over time. Returning to the Evernote example - every month you have dozens of new notes in it, which increases its value for you and reduces the likelihood of rejecting it.
  • Great article Game developers have a lot to learn, they know more about monetization than anyone else. This article has a selection of great tips here .


Of course, this is only a fraction of what will help you in promoting your products and increasing conversion, but even in this article you can trace some patterns and constants. One tip to the end - if you are going to add something to the design, functionality, create a new animation, always ask the same question “WHY?”. Thank you for reading to the end!

We created A Cool Link - , where a lot of information about application promotion and design has already been collected, use it.

O capablebits

CapableBits has been developing its own applications for over 4 years. At the beginning of 2014, we opened the direction of publishing mobile applications - if you have a product or it is under development and you want it to start making money, send a request to . More information on our website

WebCamp: Mobile Day

July 22, as part of Odessa Innovation Week, a WebCamp: Mobile Day conference will be held , which will be devoted to the development, design and promotion of mobile applications.

The conference will consist of two streams: “Development” and “Design & Promotion”. In the “Development” stream, the main emphasis will be placed on the technical aspects of creating applications for such platforms as: iOS, Android, WP8, Tizen and others. In the stream “Design & Promotion” we will talk about the design of mobile applications, as well as their promotion in various stores.

You can ask questions to Eugene Bad ( plokhoj ), the author of this article, as well as listen to other reports on this topic.

Registration and all the details on the conference website .

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