By the simple fact of us being human, our behaviours are complex and variable. As users of mobile apps, it is not uncommon for us to abandon the app for the smallest pet peeves or use it in a certain way with unexpected gestures.
On top of that, it adds to the complexity when users interact with mobile apps in different ways according to different moods they are in.
One important follow up after developing an app is the tracking of user behaviour so that you could identify some of these patterns and improve on your user interface to provide a better user experience for your mobile app users.

This is basically observing how your users interact with your mobile app. For example, you can pick out what is the cause of your users abandoning the app, or which gesture is the most commonly used.
Below are some ways to track user behaviour in mobile apps.

1. Session Recordings
Session recordings are literally screen recordings of the users’ sessions on your mobile app. They are the best way to have a visual simulation of your user’s interaction with your mobile app. It shows exactly how users use your app, with every movement and gesture tracked from the moment they open the app until they exit the app.

It is crucial to observe the entire process of interaction and see how your users are navigating the app. This would allow you to spots potential problem areas or triggers which cause abandonment, or on the other hand, certain features that keep the user around for longer. After observation, you could correct these frustration points and optimise the favourable features to provide a better user experience for your end-users.

2. Navigation paths
Navigation paths are usually displayed in the form of a diagram. These are sunburst visualisations that allow you to see the path from when the user launched the app to when he or she exits the app. It has a detailed breakdown of every page the users navigate, starting from the centre, which is when the app is initially opened. As the layers expand, it shows the following screens where the user’s transitions and a problem could be spotted easily when users go back and forth between the same screens many times, indicating that there is a problem or usability issue with your mobile app. Or it could also be that the user is confused with the app’s navigation or layout, so it is worth a look at the user interface of the app.

3. Touch Heatmaps
Similar to the session recordings, touch heatmaps are a great visual representation of the users’ interaction with your app. However, touch heatmaps could point you to clearer focus points as it uses different colours to signify different intensities of usage for each page of the app.

A clear advantage of heatmaps is that you could observe interactions in more detail, even down to the point of which part of the screen is neglected, and which area is more frequently used. In addition, it is also a very useful tool to spot usability issues. For example, when you observe a situation whereby the user repeatedly taps on a single spot on the screen, it may be a red flag that the layout or design of the app is causing the user frustration and is not doing what the user expects it to do. With the aid of touch heatmaps, issues like this could be easily spotted and resolved, resulting in lesser app abandonment.

4. Conversion Funnels
This would apply more to E-commerce mobile apps, but conversion funnels are an overall useful tool to also track user behaviour. The funnel would stretch out from the start of the customer journey, which is opening the app, to the end, which is usually the purchasing of an item or booking of an event. The conversion funnels would lay out a clear pipeline and show the particular stage at which customers or users are dropping out of the funnel.

Conversion funnels are best used with other tracking tools to gather insightful data and information. Example, it could be used with session recordings or touch heatmaps to see how long a user spends in a particular stage of the funnel and further investigate the main reason for their dropout.
It is a good practice to also get familiarised with the average time a user spends in each stage of the funnel, for future references when abnormalities arise.

5. Action Cohorts
Unlike the above-mentioned tools, this tool allows you to track and analyse a user action in relation to another. Every action taken on a mobile app is made in relation to a prior action, so understanding the relationship is crucial in encouraging certain behaviours that you would like your users to have. Over a period of time, you could track the behaviours between two specific actions such as the customer’s first purchase and second purchase, and derive and certain patterns and relationships. With that, you could understand what drives the second action, in this case, the purchase of a second product, and further, encourage this behaviour in your user experience.

Summary
The above are just five of the many ways in which you could track user behaviour on a mobile app. With these tools, you can pick out the negatives of your mobile app more easily and quickly improve on them. Without these tools, it may be harder to pick out the tiny issues your app may have because it is not very obvious at times. Only through observation and gathering of data about user behaviour, or even studying the relationships of various user actions, then it is easy to spot these tiny shortcomings and usability errors.

A combination of these tools is recommended to get the best out of the different advantages each have. If you need any mobile app related advice, don’t hesitate to consult us at marketing@sginteractive.com.sg or call us at 9172 9726.

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