In the HBO series Silicon Valley, the team celebrates their 500,000th download but soon after realize that they have less than 10,000 active users. Just 2% and “is really, really bad.”

This is a common problem. In the blink of an eye, you can go from being at top of the world to Death Valley.

Worse, you don’t even know why!

Users Are Leaving Your App after They’ve Installed It!

There are different factors that may affect your app engagement. The Nearsoft UX Team, and I have identified four,

  • confusing onboarding
  • long profile
  • version limitations
  • complicated setting.

1. Confusing Onboarding

The onboarding process is like a “first date” with your user. You need to capture their interest without boring or overwhelming them.

If a user loses interest, it usually happens in the very first contact with the product. And just like a bad date, they will probably never come back! They expected to complete the onboarding process faster and hoped to start using the app sooner.

Have an onboarding process only if it is necessary, and if so, only let the user know what is really important. Avoid using onboarding as a way to promote all of the benefits of your product.

Like a good a first date, move slowly and the chemistry will speak for itself. Have confidence, keep some mystery and let the users discover the benefits on their own.


2. Long Profile

Your user has installed your app and now it’s time to fill in the required information in order to use it. This is a crucial extra step where users often back out.

The need to fill out too many fields may consume more time than anticipated. Some fields may come across as intrusive and unnecessary (at least for the time being). For such reasons, users make the decision to “come back later,” which translates to “I’m not coming back at all.”

Stop and ask yourself if it’s really necessary to fill out so many fields. Will you be using that user telephone number today?

We need to give something back to users before we require more information from them. Give them a chance to get to know the app before asking for more. This is called Progressive Disclosure.

A good example of how use this technique is the Linkedin mobile app. They allow the user to interact immediately with the app and then ask for more detailed information to complete their profile later.

3. Version Limitations

Many mobile apps fail because users want to explore all of the features before committing to the product and purchasing it.

Let the users explore the full power of the app, let them interact with the features. Engaging with the app directly will increase the apps’ desirability for them.

Avoid trying to sell something that users have not yet experienced.

A “free trial” version is a great way to start the engagement journey. However, there are a lot of apps on the market and most of the competition is free. Whet their appetite and encourage their commitment to purchase.

4. Complicated Settings

Remember opening presents as a kid? You just wanted to rip open the box and start playing! The same thing happens with mobile app users.

We don’t want to read a manual. After downloading an app, we have the urge to use it right away.

The app must be ready for use at first contact, allowing users to know the potential of the product. Then, if they choose, guide them to improve the experience by making adjustments in different settings.

Better yet, take advantage of technology and simplify as many settings as you can by automating the process.


  • Use the Onboarding Process to introduce new ways to interact with the app, don’t use it as a sales platform.
  • Give something back to the user before to asking for more information than the basics.
  • Users won’t commit to an app that they can’t even use.
  • Simplify and automate the settings as much as possible.

If you liked what you read and wish to learn more, join me in a live webinar on August 4th. You’ll have the opportunity ask questions and dig deeper into the topics discussed above, and more!

For questions or more info, please send me a line at [email protected].