This is part four in a seven part series on how to use Apteligent to implement a collection of best practices from industry leaders called: “7 Best Practices for Optimizing Mobile Apps.”

Does your app frustrate users?

Part three of this series discussed how decreasing app load time to less than two seconds was key to increasing engagement, adoption, and conversions in mobile apps.  In addition to app load time, slow interactions (e.g., waiting for search results or for a screen to load after a button tap) can also frustrate users.  According to Jakob Nielsen’s Powers of 10 research in user interface design, if the UI takes more than 0.1 seconds to respond to an interaction, users will perceive the UI as delayed and not “instantaneous.”  If the UI takes over 1.0 second, users will start to lose their train of thought and lose the feeling of being in control of their interactions, leading to frustration.

The top companies will monitor the key flows in their app (typical key flows are “login” or “purchase”), and ensure the speed of user interactions meet user expectations.  The table below (Figure 1) highlights a few common interactions to track and their expected interaction times.  There are two types of interactions: immediate interactions where a user is expecting an instantaneous response, and working interactions where the user expects a slight delay.

Userflow User Expectation Time
App load (time to availability of first user-interaction) App is “working” 1.0 s
Login (not including data entry) App is “working” 1.0 s
Registration (not including data entry) App is “working” 1.0 s
Search App is “working” 1.0 s
Screen transitions Immediate 0.1 s
Browse Immediate 0.1 s
Add to shopping cart Immediate 0.1 s
Check-out App is “working” 1.0 s
Locate  (e.g. locate store) App is “working” 1.0 s
Barcode scan App is “working” 1.0 s

Figure 1: Common User Interactions and Target Interaction Times

Identify three critical flows to monitor in Apteligent

Set up a Userflow in Apteligent to monitor these critical interactions in the app.  Most customers start by identifying the three most critical flows in the app.  The most common flows that customers monitor are interactions such as “login,” “register new account,” or “purchase.”  However, the most critical flows can also vary by the type of app as well.

It’s important to choose flows that have a large impact to business metrics such as engagement, conversions, or adoption.  Figure 2 shows an example of common critical flows customers monitor by the type of app.

All Apps Retail Travel Finance Gaming Insurance
App Load Checkout Book Flight Deposit a Check In-App Purchase (IAP) View Policy
Login Search for Item Select Seat Pay a Bill Complete Level Pay Bill
Register New Account Add Item to Cart Check-in Transfer Money View Leaderboard File Claim
Search Scan Barcode View Reservation View Balance Invite Friend View Balance
Purchase Store Locator Modify Reservation View Transaction History Use Item View Payment History

Figure 2: Common Critical Userflows by App Category

How do I measure success?

Let’s go back to the two types of interactions we discussed earlier: immediate interactions and working interactions.  For “immediate” interactions such as clicking a button to add an item to the shopping cart, these interactions should take less than 0.1 seconds to complete so that users do not perceive any sluggish in the app.  For “working” interactions such as completing a search, they should take less than 1.0 second so users do not lose their engagement with your app.

Once you have set up monitoring for these key flows in your app, you can measure the interaction time by going to the Apteligent “Userflows Summary” page (see Figure 3 below).  Using the “Foreground Time” column of each userflow, you can measure the interaction time for each flow in your app.  If a flow is taking longer than expected, use breadcrumbs to debug if there are slow network calls or 3rd party SDKs slowing down these interactions.


Figure 3: Use the Userflows Summary to Measure Interaction Time

Summing it all up

To sum up, every app has a set of critical user interactions that are opportunities to delight users.  There are two types of interactions in an app: an immediate interaction where a user expects a less than 0.1 second response time, and a working interaction where there should be a response time of less than 1.0 second.

Identify the top three flows in your app that are highly correlated to business metrics.  There are common flows such as “login” or “purchase,” and a set of flows that can be specific to your app category.  Once you’ve identified those key flows, set up Apteligent to measure the responsiveness of these interactions across app releases and time.  Use breadcrumbs and the root cause analysis tool to debug slow interactions and prioritize crashes.