Increase User Engagement

User Interface (UI) is the critical point where human meets machine, and it can make or break the success your web or mobile application.

User Engagement is a term that addresses how and why mobile or web applications attract people and what encourages ongoing use. Effective interfaces capture users’ attention then maintains and rewards it.

If your digital experience is not performing, you likely have a problem with User Experience (UX) that’s placing obstacles on users. In this 8 part series, we will look at engagement and the factors that improve it.

Part 1: Know Where You Stand

Part 2: Boil It Down

Coming Soon:
Part 3: Make Speed a Feature
Part 4: Make it Personal
Part 5: A Fresh Coat of Paint
Part 6: Data Visualization & Interactivity
Part 7: Content Experience
Part 8: Make it “Unboring”

Boil it Down:

Chances are Pareto’s principle applies to your application: 80% of the usage of your application is focused on under 20% of your features. Before we talk about what to change or add, your User Interface can probably benefit from reduction.

If you make your priority to minimize experience overload, you will find happier users, happier developers, and happier designers.

It’s easy to say “simplify” but much hard to do in practice. It takes a large degree of self-control and confidence in what matters most.

Triage your Dying Features

Step 1: Determine your least used Features

If you don’t know how to determine areas of reduction, we’d recommend beginning by studying heatmaps as discussed in our previous article. Heatmaps can tell you what your users currently ignore by demonstrating “hot” and “cold” areas.

If a feature isn’t being utilized, it’s typically one of two reasons:

  • The feature isn’t valuable to the end-user. Proceed to Step 2.
  • The UX is insufficient. Proceed to Step 3.

Step 2: Kill off any feature that is a distraction to your application’s core value

Challenge the necessity of your least used features and content. Determine if you can remove redundant or unnecessary navigation. Strip everything away from your application until it’s down the core needs of the user.

Power users don’t like to lose features, and there will always be resistance, so this is worth testing. Temporarily remove features for test users by toggling visibility and monitor your user interaction outcomes. Our recommendation is to be overly aggressive in feature reduction, then incrementally add back in functionality with more critical thinking.

We will discuss how to incrementally add back in functionality for Power Users in Part 4 of our series.

Be overly aggressive in feature reduction, then incrementally add back in functionality with more critical thinking.

Step 3: Determine what is harming this feature.

Ignored features come from a variety of UX failures. It’s important to identify the source for your design and development team to consider when re-engineering the feature.

Hidden – Is this feature below a critical scroll point of the page? Does it live behind another feature, such as an expandable menu or flipping card?

Obfuscated – Is it labeled oddly, or not at all? Is it not clear it is actionable or clickable? Is it clear what the feature does?

Cluttered – Is it surrounded by a multitude of features and being muddled?

ThreateningDoes the feature have a perceived risk, such as “delete,” with no apparent safety net should a user change their mind?

Boring – Does your content or feature look clunky or out-dated? Is it interesting or enticing to the end user?

Conclusion: Before augmenting or altering your product, take aggressive measures to dramatically simplify your product. Once you have refined your application to its core features — it’s time to begin rebuilding…and if you’re rebuilding, it’s time to modernize.

Read part 3 of our series: Making Speed a Feature – coming soon.