How to avoid embarrassing mistakes in your products — part 1
With time, my product management eye for details became more sensitive to anything digital. Considering the advancing technology and new revolutionary products out there, I anticipated that the user experience provided by all sizes of vendors would evolve and that some lessons will be learned from some common mistakes. Unfortunately, I was wrong. I use dozens of services every day, both as a consumer and an enterprise user, and almost every day I see things that rock my world, and not in a good way.
In this series of blogs, I will share a few of the most embarrassing product mistakes I have seen. I’ll analyze these in a way that will encourage product managers to pay more attention to the details so they can create better user experiences.
Let’s start with one of the most common forms of neglect:
Mobile apps optimizations to multiple screen sizes and device models
There are over 6 billion smartphone users around the world, the average number of mobile apps per device is about 80. With most apps having a 1–2% average conversion, its very likely that a least one of those apps will provide not the greatest user experience and will probably be in this statistics of low conversion. Needless to explain why low conversion is bad for your mobile app…
let’s talk about text warping issues I keep seeing in many apps out there. There are times when text is cut off on the screen at very noticeable spots. There are times when the main message is cut off, so the user might miss the entire point of what the app creator was trying to get across.
Sometimes the text of main CTAs is cut off or only shows partial content, confusing the user. How is the user expected to use the app if the main CTA is unclear to him?
Here are some examples I tried to censor:
At a first glance it looks like an amateur work, and what a shame that the tester of that app left to test it on a Google Pixel like mine. At a second glance, from an end-user perspective, those kinds of amateur mistakes break the trust between the user and the app. If the app cannot display the right wording, It makes the user doubt that it can deliver the service it intends to.
The number one thing to do to avoid those mistakes is research. Know who your users are and what devices they are using to optimize the experience for the larger portion of your users. According to that research results, follow the number two rule, which is to include in the design guidelines different screen sizes and device models. (I’m keeping the different operating systems out as this can fill up a blog post on its own). This does not mean that your designer should prepare mocks for every possible resolution out there, but it does mean that there should be a clear guideline of when texts float, when a line is broken, and in which conditions the text size changes to look optimal on the screen.
Test test test is rule number three. The wider coverage you have while testing on different types of devices and screen sizes, the better coverage you have for more use cases. To optimize the experience for the larger population, the test plan should also be based on the research data of what devices most of your users are using.
Look out for my upcoming blog posts, in which I will elaborate on the topics of localization, inventory accuracy, and delayed authentication texts, calls, and emails.