Survey: App users put premium on performance, not pretty

John P. Mello Jr., TechHive
2 November, 2012
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Patience may be a virtue, but it isn’t one you’re likely to find in users of mobile apps.

A survey by app development tools maker Apigee found that nearly half (44 percent) of mobile users will delete an app immediately—even if they paid for it—if it doesn’t perform as advertised.

The survey, which included users of apps from all mobile platforms, also revealed that more than a third (38 percent) will delete an app if it freezes for longer than 30 seconds. Another 18 percent will ditch an app if it freezes for just five seconds.

“What we were trying to find out was what were the main reasons why someone would stop using an app,” Apigee developer platform Vice President Ed Anuff said in an interview. “What we saw was that it really came down to quality and performance before anything else.”

He added that for many developers, performance takes a backseat to other considerations, such as design. “In our interactions with a lot of developers, we were not seeing that that was being generally understood as a first priority,” he said.

“Developers have been prioritizing the user interface and initial attractiveness over the basics, and that’s probably not a smart thing to do.”

Heightened concern about performance by the 500 U.A. mobile apps users 18 and older participating in the survey suggests some troubling news about the existing mobile software market, according to Anuff. “We were able to validate and verify that a lot of these apps are just very buggy,” he said.

What do app users expect from developers when problems arise in their software? According to Apigee’s survey, most users (89 percent) want problems fixed quickly. Nearly two thirds (65 percent) of those surveyed wanted an easy way to get their money back if they’re dissatisfied with an app, and almost half (46 percent) wanted a personal response to their problems with an app.

The survey also asked consumers about how they discover apps. The top method cited by the respondents (75 percent) was periodically searching app stores. That was followed by word-of-mouth (58 percent), Facebook postings (45 percent), reading news stories and blogs (26 percent), and Twitter (14 percent).

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