Summary: The scanning app xScan had a lower conversion rate than an app with the same feature set and marketing strategy. We researched xScan’s usability and found navigation issues. The redesign eliminated these problems which helped increase conversion, 3rd-day retention rates, and all the product metrics.
What is xScan
xScan is a mobile scanning app. The premium version lets you add an electronic signature and convert images to editable text — the app even recognizes handwritten text!
xScan is not the first scanning app in Universe’s portfolio. Before that, the company developed ScanGuru, a huge success with $ 1M in monthly revenue (according to Sensor Tower). To diversify the sources of income, the developers created a similar app. Available on the AppStore.
The app was not profitable. Despite the number of downloads being relatively high, users did not use the app after enabling the free trial and did not pay for a premium service later.
My objective was to find a reason for this. I had to conduct research, generate hypotheses, test them, and then, offer and implement a solution.
xScan's conversion rate was three times lower than ScanGuru's. We could not understand why this is happening: these applications have similar functions and the same marketing strategy.
My objective was to find a reason for such a low conversion rate. I had to conduct research, generate hypotheses, test them, and then offer and implement a solution.
We assumed that the problem with xScan is usability. To test this, I conducted a series of interviews.
I interviewed 20 respondents on the User Testing platform. They fit the audience profile xScan targets ads to men over 30 years old, high-income Americans and Japanese. The selected respondents often scan documents and have already used an app to do so.
The participants tested xScan functions: scanning, text recognition, signature, image filters, and document sharing. In the process, they shared their impressions of the app.
The usability problems appeared at the very first user step: the respondents did not understand where to click to scan a document. There were also difficulties with sharing, which is an essential function — whether a user buys premium directly depends on the number of shared documents.
I compared all the hypotheses formed during the interview with the app’s analytics. And the quantitative data confirmed all the problems we found. For example, some respondents thought that the ‘download as PDF’ icon was inactive because it was grey-coloured. These were not single cases: analytics have shown that most users downloaded JPEG files, although PDF format is more common for documents.
I redesigned xScan to fix all navigation issues in one go. The app’s logic has completely changed: I reworked the entire scanning and document creation flows.
Users wanted to start scanning right away rather than structuring files and collecting them into folders. The home screen design was unexpected for them;
Not all users were comfortable that documents were displayed in a list;
It was difficult for users to work with documents: inconvenient file moving, no sorting.
I simplified navigation. Pressing the ‘Plus’ button opens the camera, as users expect;
Users can now choose to display documents as a list or a gallery;
Working with documents became easier. Users can manage files with the selector or by dragging and dropping. The ‘Create folder’ button is located near the sorting. Sorting by date of creation and by name is also available now.
Users could not compare an original document with a received text. They had to go back to the original and then turn on the text recognition again.
I added a switcher to switch between an image and a recognized text quickly. I also replaced the icons and made emphasis on export, the most necessary function. The UI changed in general: the contrast of elements increased, and the navigation was reworked.
Users thought that downloading as PDF was unavailable because the icon was grey;
Users did not understand how to send a document to someone. They did not know they needed to click on the three dots button.
The icon is filled in a bright colour, so all the options look the same;
The share screen is split into two stages: first, you must select the format, and then the iOS native share menu pops up.
Users were uncomfortable with moving documents.
Users can move documents in four ways: using drag and drop, the three dots button, the ‘Select’ button, or on the document preview screen.
Edit document option
Users get confused with the navigation.
The ‘Confirm’ button is placed at the bottom of the screen, so it is comfortable to use the app with one finger. Overall, the navigation is simplified.
The buttons in the document preview looked the same and were located inconveniently;
There was no document name, so users did not always understand which document they were viewing;
The three dots menu contained different actions on different screens of the app. It confused users.
I emphasized the ‘Export’ button and placed it to the right, so it is easier to press with a finger;
Now the document name is displayed at the top, not the number of pages;
The actions in the three dots menu are now unified throughout the app.
Only one photo could be selected in the gallery.
Now users can add multiple photos at once.
Users scanned in poor lighting, and the quality of documents decreased. Filters could have helped, but users did not know they were available;
The camera capture area did not fill the entire screen. Scanning was inconvenient;
Only one page could be scanned at a time. It was inconvenient when scanning a document with several pages.
Filters can now be used when shooting, just like Instagram masks. Users immediately see how a document will look after scanning;
The capture area is enlarged, so it is easier to scan;
We added multiscanning. After the first scan, the ‘1st-page’ button appears, and users can scan all the pages at once.
A month after the redesign, the conversion rate increased by 18 percent. The 3rd-day retention rate increased by 20%, although we did not add any new features. Overall product metrics increased, too: the number of scannings, text recognitions, and document shares.