I came across the article Google: Reasons Why Nobody Uses Your App in my favorite iPhone app Zite. The article is about a presentation given by Tomer Sharon, a user researcher at Google, at Google’s I/O Conference. I embedded the video here for you to view.
Tomer identifies reasons why nobody uses your app. I want to extend this to your web site, your portal, or whatever because these six reasons apply beyond an app.
I’ll summarize the reasons below, but there were two reasons that really caught my attention because they are spot on with my experience consulting with many, many companies over the past 18 years.
The first reason that caught my eye was “You didn’t test your riskiest assumption.” Many times clients look to companies like Perficient to reduce risks in their projects. We have deep expertise in a product they want to implement or build upon. But we don’t always have expertise in the exact problem that is the riskiest. When we don’t have that expertise, our value can be in how we approach the problem and how we draw on experience in similar areas. However too often, clients don’t want to test their riskiest assumptions first, but instead, want to dive headlong into a large project. Part of the reason is because they they can only get funding one time – so lets ask for the most we can get and then start moving. Another reason for this is that spending on these kinds of projects – experimentations, proof of concepts (POC), etc – are viewed as wasting money. But getting a solution to the trickiest part of your project early on is absolutely critical to overall success.
The second reason that caught my attention was “You listened to users instead of watching them.” Companies have spent boat loads of money gathering requirements by asking users what they want in a system. Users are more than willing to talk about what they would do with a new system. But too often what a user says they will do doesn’t match what they really will do. In the video, Tomar talks about a UK Research Project where the researchers asked people whether they washed their hands after using the restroom. 99% said of course they did. When the researchers put equipment into the restroom to monitor hand washing, surprise, surprise, less than 80% actually washed their hands. So when building systems, it is important to get something built quickly – a prototype or POC – and observe how people actually use the system.
Here are the reasons why people don’t use your app, your web site, or whatever. I encourage you to watch the video to get all the details.
- You didn’t understand the problem your were solving
- You asked your friends (or co-workers) what they thought
- You listened to users instead of watching them
- You didn’t test your riskiest assumption(s)
- You had a “Bob the Builder” mentality
Let me know what you think or if you have other advice.