You’ve heard it before: form should never trump function. But often, it does. Consumers have all too much experience with that phone that doesn’t quite work right, or those shoes that look great but wear out too soon, or, apparently, that app that promises the world but always falls just a little bit short.
Pressured by the urge to release the next big app, consumer app developers too often pump out great looking apps with short shelf lives and bad user experiences. Companies do it, too. Though this may not be a huge surprise, research shows that functionality—not looks—is what will make an app stick over the long-term.
Last year, Dimensional Research dug into the issue of user satisfaction with mobile apps. Among other things, they found that:
- 96% of respondents believe app performance to be important
- 61% of users expect apps to load in four seconds or less, while 39% expect them to load in four seconds or more
- After the app loads, 49% of users expect it to respond in 2 seconds or less
- 48% of respondents uninstalled or removed an app after it regularly ran slowly, and 33% stopped using it
Regardless of how much they paid for the app, or who recommended it to them, nearly half of respondents said they would uninstall an app after it ran slowly (responding in 2 seconds or less). This may be a consumer-facing study, but there’s no reason to believe the same isn’t true in the enterprise. It’s simple: users have no tolerance for slow apps that don’t function as promised. And they shouldn’t.
Enterprises looking to design apps for their employees have the benefit of years of data about user experience and how users respond to apps. Despite having a captive audience, it’s important not to fall into the same trap that too many consumer app developers fall into. Yes, it’s good to have apps that look nice, but not at the expense of functionality.
When designing your next app for your enterprise, think about the findings of the study: would your employees be satisfied with its performance? Would you? If not, it may be time to go back to the drawing board. Apps—both for consumers and for the enterprise—can be incredibly powerful tools. Just don’t expect users to put up with bad performance—because they won’t.