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Design your app to drive conversions

Google has conducted comprehensive user experience research to discover what drives users to convert. This research used different apps across verticals including e-commerce, insurance, travel, food ordering, ticket sales and services, financial management, and more. The resulting recommendations will help you make your app stand out as useful, relevant, and valued.

  • Show the value of your app upfront. Engage users by addressing their needs clearly and make calls to action prominent and obvious. Highlight your app's key and new features in context, so they're a source of delight and interest.

    Do.

    "Rent", "Buy", and "Sell" provide clear calls to action.

    Don't.

    The call to action "Try it now" is vague and isn't geared toward action.

  • Organize and label menu categories intuitively. Menu categories should be clear and distinguished with no overlap. They should align with users’ mental models for the categories. This is particularly important when a user turns to a menu as a last resort, after exhausting search options.

    Do.

    Product categories are distinct, avoiding confusion.

    Don't.

    Product category content shouldn't overlap, as they will in "Men's Footwear" and "Hiking".

  • Allow users to "go back" one step easily. Granular navigation controls, such as appropriate back navigation, are valuable in helping users convert. Ensuring the user can go back one step and isn’t forced to start over from the home screen, eliminates frustration.

    Do.

    Back navigation returns one step in the flow, as users expect.

    Don't.

    Back navigation takes users out of the flow, causing confusion.

  • Make it easy to change location manually. Auto-detection of location, using the Google Places API, can save users time. However, there are times when users need to find a store or other feature that isn’t located nearby.

    Do.

    The user is offered an obvious control with which to choose a location.

    Don't.

    There's no obvious way for the user to change location.

  • Create frictionless transitions between mobile apps and the mobile web. Use Chrome Custom Tabs to create a seamless transition between native and web content by offering a common look and feel or design layout across the two platforms. Also, make sure the transition is speedy and the benefit — compared to any remaining friction—is worthwhile.

    Do.

    The transition between the app and site is frictionless, with consistent design and speed optimization.

    Don't.

    The visual and interaction experience changes between the app and the site.

  • Display the search field prominently and follow the Material Design search pattern guidance. Consider using a persistent search widget app bar in your app, so that users can consistently and easily find the content that they’re looking for.

    Do.

    An exposed search field is easily located.

    Don't.

    The search functionality is hidden behind a menu option.

  • Use effective search indexing. Users expect in-app search to work as well as Google Search. Helpful functions include spelling auto-corrections, recognition of root words, predictive text, and suggestions while the user enters text. They will help speed up the search process, reduce errors, and keep users on-task toward conversion. See the guidance for creating a search interface, adding custom suggestions, and adding recent query suggestions.

    Do.

    High-quality indexing gets users targeted, effective results.

    Don't.

    Ineffective search indexing delivers a poor search experience.

  • Provide filter and sort options to help users narrow and organize their results.

    Do.

    Effective filters and sorting options are provided, so search results can be narrowed.

    Don't.

    Options for filtering or sorting results are excluded or hidden, requiring users to review too many items.

  • Provide previous search and purchase information to save the user time and effort. This is particularly important in apps that are used frequently, where users conduct repeat searches or purchases.

    Do.

    The user can select a previously used search term to use again.

    Don't.

    Users are required to enter each search in full, even in the case of a repeated search.

Product reviews and comparisons

  • Allow user reviews to be sorted and filtered, so they can get the "real story" about an item. User reviews are an important component of purchase decision-making. Numerous reviews give prospective buyers more confidence. Let users browse the most recent, the most positive, and the most negative reviews to discover any common themes. Verified reviews from users who have purchased the item are also appreciated.

    Do.

    Filters and sorting are enabled for consumer reviews.

    Don't.

    Filtering options for customer reviews are excluded or hidden.

  • Enable comparison shopping features, so users can easily compare items of interest to help drive purchase decisions. Without this capability, app users are forced to put items in their carts to compare or remember which items to go back to later.

    Do.

    Users can make direct comparisons between homes using a comparison tool.

    Don't.

    Users need to remember items that they wish to compare.

Payment options

  • Provide multiple third-party payment options, such as PayPal and Android Pay, to meet user expectations, avoid additional forms during checkout, and provide an increased sense of security.

    Do.

    Multiple payment methods are offered to give the user choice and control.

    Don't.

    Users are limited to a single payment option.

  • Make it easy to edit and add payment methods, with options such as number pad entry for card numbers or credit card scanning. Include the ability to add multiple cards and a function to toggle between them.

    Do.

    Users can edit existing stored payment methods and add new ones.

    Don't.

    The ability to edit payment methods or add new ones is missing.

Registration

  • Provide users with clear benefits before asking them to register and only ask a user to register if it's essential. Users will abandon an app that asks them to provide personal information upfront unless there's an immediate payoff (ordering a car service or food delivery, for example). Apps with low brand recognition — or those in which the value proposition is unclear — must clear a higher hurdle when they ask users to register at the start of the experience. Consider providing guest checkout at the point of conversion.

    Do.

    An engaging experience is provided upfront without requiring the user to input personal information.

    Don't.

    Requiring upfront registration is a huge barrier to use.

  • Differentiate "sign in" from "sign up" to prevent users from taking the wrong action when attempting to sign up for an account.

    Do.

    The interface is simple, and the calls to action are distinct.

    Don't.

    Lack of distinction in calls to action can cause errors.

  • Make password authentication a frictionless experience. Consider using Sign-in for Android, Smart Lock, and sign-in hints, all part of the Google identity platform, to minimize the number of steps required to authenticate. You can also use fingerprint authentication and similar techniques.

    Do.

    Efficient authentication, such as fingerprint sign-in, provides a frictionless experience.

    Don't.

    Text-based authentication is a common cause of error.

Forms and data entry

  • Build user-friendly forms, by following the Material Design guidance on text fields and using tools, such as the Places API, to provide auto-complete options. Make sure the form is compatible with the way users enter information. Design screens that can interpret multiple input formats rather than make the user adapt to the app's limitations. Also, ensure that form fields aren’t obstructed from view by interface elements such as the keyboard. As the user completes form fields, automatically advance each field up the screen.

    Do.

    Form fields allow flexibility in the formatting of the information and the form is advanced upward as it is completed.

    Don't.

    The format for data entry is prescriptive (three fields for the phone number), and the next form fields are hidden behind the keyboard.

  • Communicate form errors immediately and provide the user with feedback to show them when an area of a form is successfully completed or validated. Test the experience to ensure that the process is smooth, and the flow isn’t disrupted.

    Do.

    Actionable error messages are provided in context, as data is entered.

    Don't.

    Form entry isn’t validated until after submission and the error message provided is out of context without actionable recommendations.

  • Match the keyboard with the required inputs, so the user doesn’t need to switch keyboards. And, implement this consistently throughout the app.

    Do.

    An appropriate numeric keyboard is provided automatically for fields that require numeric entry.

    Don't.

    The user must tap the keyboard’s number key to enable numeric entry.

  • Provide helpful information in context in forms, to assist users move through the form easily. For example, when scheduling dates, provide a monthly calendar to eliminate the need to leave the app to check the smartphone's calendar. This also reduces the risk of the user becoming distracted by another task.

    Do.

    Helpful functionality, such as calendar widgets, is available for data entry, and succinct explanatory information is provided.

    Don't.

    Users aren’t provided with appropriate data entry functionality or help text to support form completion.

Usability and comprehension

  • Speak the users’ language, and follow the Material Design guidelines on writing. Use commonly understood terms and phrases and avoid brand-specific terms, which may confuse users.

    Do.

    Terminology (for example, "Buy", "Rent", or "Sell") is clear and free from unnecessary jargon to avoid confusion.

    Don't.

    Unconventional terminology (for example, "Roost", "Migrate", or "Fly) can confuse users, hindering discoverability and comprehension.

  • Provide text labels and icon keys to clarify visual information. Icons for a menu, cart, account, or store locator as well as for actions such as filtering or sorting are not universal well understood. Icons that are labeled are much more likely to be used. Also, apps that provide visual categorizations with a key are much more likely to be understood by users.

    Tips: For text and an icon, use the Button class with the android:drawableLeft attribute. See the developer guide for more information. And, when adding labels and descriptions to icons and buttons, it’s always a good practice to make your apps accessible.

    Do.

    Labeled icons ensure that meaning is conveyed easily and is consistently understood.

    Don't.

    Icons without labels are often misunderstood and can cause confusion.

  • Be responsive with visual feedback after significant actions. When users add an item to the cart or submit an order, lack of feedback can cause them to question whether the action has been processed.

    Do.

    Clear visual feedback — here, in the form of confirmation through a toast — provides assurance that an action has happened.

    Don't.

    No visual feedback after an action, such as adding to cart, leaves users guessing as to whether it happened.

  • Let the user control the level of zoom when they view an image. Also, avoid applying an arbitrary magnification level that could force the user to look at a specific part of the item or displays the image partially off-screen.

    Do.

    The user controls depth and area of zoom.

    Don't.

    Zoom capability is restricted to a specific level and location, leading to frustration.

  • Ask for permissions in the right context to make it more likely users will grant the permission needed for them to experience your app fully.

    Do.

    The user is asked to grant location permission in the context of a relevant task, after requesting to search store locations.

    Don't.

    The user is asked to grant location permission without relevance to context or the current task.

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