5 Dev Mistakes That Will Let Down Your App Ratings

5 Dev Mistakes That Will Let Down Your App Ratings

Developers make mistakes every day, whether it’s writing buggy code or failing to try new things mistakes are meant to be made because we can learn from them. In this article let’s discuss some of the common dev mistakes and how to avoid them. Let’s get started.

If you are human, you make mistakes. If you are fortunate, you will learn the lesson the first time. If not…you will trip over the same stone again. It’s a rule of life. Since app developers are human, they make no exception to this rule. 

It is true that some mistakes are worse than others, costing a lot of time and money to fix; and some can even be easily avoided. And this is where we come onto the stage: teach you how to keep users hooked to your app by avoiding 5 common mistakes.

Did you know that…

… for an app to be successful, it needs to be downloaded and USED. That’s common sense. The soil is fertile and users are eager to try new apps. In fact, according to Statista, by 2020, consumers have downloaded 218 billion mobile apps.

number of mobile app downloads

But they didn’t all thrive. According to Statista, the average three-month churn rate reached 71%.

average 3 month user retention and churn rate of mobile apps world wide

But there is a critical point app developers should be aware of. According to Liftoff, from day 1 to day 3, the retention rate drops a concerning 48%, reaching a worrying 65.9% on day 7.

app retention data

User retention is the primary factor that affects an apps’ success. We all install and discard apps all the time. 

And we do so for a wide variety of reasons: lack of free memory space, excessive data usage, low performance, battery drainage, too many ads, poor user experience, etc. According to DCI, these are the main reasons hiding behind apps churning:

Generic reasons to uninstall your app

app performance

Here are their main findings:

  1. 71% of the users uninstall apps because of annoying notifications such as push notifications or in-app messages.
  2. 62% of the users uninstall apps due to low performance (bugs, freezes, crushes, etc.)
  3. 50.6% of the users uninstall apps that require too much memory space
  4. 20% of the users will stop using (and eventually uninstall) those apps that consume too much data.
  5. 29.6% of the users will give up those apps that ask for excessive personal information.

Top 5 development mistakes that negatively affect apps ratings

We have already seen the main reasons behind the uninstallation rates. While some of these reasons depend exclusively on the user’s 'mindset', some others are catalysed by development mistakes (most of which can be easily avoided). Let’s take a look at the top 5 mistakes app developers make:

1. Mind-numbing app on-boarding

The last thing users need is to feel overwhelmed when they first approach your app. Most app developers forget that the goal behind the how-to tutorials is to familiarize users with their apps and help them integrate them into their daily routine. A lengthy and crammed sign-up task will more than likely scare users away.


The onboarding process should look more like a dialogue between the end-user and the developer. Of course, the main purpose is to make the user aware of the value of your app. 

But if you want to retain users’ attention, keep it all simple. Introduce users to your app’s basic functionality interactively and give them options. Creating an account should be as quick and seamless as possible.

2. Faulty UI/UX build

When downloading an app, users’ expectations are huge, especially when it comes to app flow. Cluttering the interface, using awkward gesture controls, or hiding relevant menus will do nothing but confuse users.


“Put yourself into the place of an app developer, clearly your goal is to offer your customers the best possible user experience. Your app should be user- and finger-friendly, intuitive, fast, responsive, and visually responsive.” – says Pavel Metsko, iOS developer at Elinext. Remember it’s all about the journey, not about the final destination. Here are some practical recommendations on effective UI/UX design.

3. Insufficient testing prior to launching

Thorough testing during the entire development process is the only way to ensure a high-quality user experience. Whether it’s quality, functionality, or performance issues, nobody likes faulty apps.


App testing should not only include usability, functionality, performance, or security testing but also mobile-specific testing (e.g. installation, interruption, certification, battery drainage, memory leakage, etc.) Of course there will be flaws. This is why it is extremely important to allow users to inform you about all the flaws they come across while using your apps.

4. In-app ad hammering

Using a free app usually implies a tacit user-developer agreement: ‘I’ll let you use the app for free if you watch ads’. So far, so good. Unfortunately, some developers bomb users with full-screen (often low-quality) ads or endless pop-ups.


Users are willing to put up with a decent amount of ads. Make them feel that there are more ads than app and they are gone! Does the word subtlety ring a bell?

5. Unclear Privacy politics

We live in the era of WikiLeaks. There is no wonder that many users are reluctant to offer too much personal data. Our smartphones are mirroring our lives. And when an app asks for excessive access to our phones, we get suspicious.


Most of the information apps usually request is used harmlessly, mainly for app improvement purposes. Clearly informing the users why specific data is necessary will increase the feeling of safety.  

How to check if your app is good

In order to understand why users churn apps, app developers and marketers can use data analytics to get an in-depth insight into the users’ mindset. 

Using tools and metrics will allow them to identify and improve their app’s weak aspects, thus reducing the number of uninstalls and increasing user loyalty. If you want to have a taste of how your app is doing, here are some metrics all developers need to take into account:

User engagement

User engagement metric offers developers crucial information on how users install/use the app, the frequency with which they interact with it, or if they abandon it temporarily or permanently.

Some useful tools: Google Analytics, Kissmetrics, Fabric, Mixpanel

App retention

This is probably the most important metric. The retention rate basically tells developers how many users return to the app after completing their first interaction with it. The only way to understand why users don’t return to the app is by measuring the daily, weekly, and monthly retention rate. Consequently, you will have to act upon the identified issues.

Some useful tools: CleverTap, Fabric, Flurry, Mixpanel.

App Churn

Retention and churn go hand in hand. The churn rate identifies the users who no longer use the app. A high churn rate among relevant users who generate revenues is a reason of major concern as it may be a sign that your app fails at keeping them engaged and providing long-term value. Reengaging users by means of incentives or personalized experiences might become a turning point in your app’s success.

Useful tools: Appsee, Flurry, Google Analytics.

To sum up

Developing an app implies hard work, time, money, error fixing, and – undoubtedly – frustration. Let’s put apart reasons related to Covid pandemic slowdown (there are brilliant stories how business owners tackle Covid related problems though). 

The fact that users give up on all your efforts so easily might be discouraging at times. However, looking at the reasons why users give up on an app will allow you to avoid those basic mistakes that have put you against the ropes of so many promising apps.

Sam Makad is a business consultant. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their businesses and overall ROI. You can follow Sam on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.

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