It’s often said that you’ll decide whether you’ll like someone within the first 15 seconds of meeting them. Your entire perception of them is formed from the first look, handshake, and sentence out of their mouth – and it’s hard to change your opinion of them after the fact. I’d argue that there is little difference when you take this example from a person to person interaction, and compare it to a person to app interaction. The first few interactions with an app will determine your entire view of it.
From my own personal experience, the first thing I notice when I open an application is how well the app is presented when you bring it up for the first time. Is the app visually appealing? Am I bombarded with inconvenient ads, or even worse, popup ads? Can I figure out how to do what I want in the app within a reasonable amount of time? Does the app crash? These are all things that I look for, and I’m confident that I’m not alone in this. The reason I bring up these points is that they all connect into the topic of this blog – how do users perceive an acceptable eReading experience?
A user’s eReading experience occurs from the moment the user opens the app, to when they open the book and start reading, until the moment the close the app. Their entire perception may be formed off of that workflow alone. Some users may wish to place bookmarks and highlight some text. Some may even want to copy and paste some text, or print a page. Even something as simple as a page turn taking too long or stuttering can have a negative influence on their perception. Another feature that can influence perception is rotation behavior and if it preserves your reading place; it’s akin to putting your physical book down for a split second and then losing your place. It’s frustrating!
One thing that is often ignored in eReading apps is accessibility options. I’ve seen far too many apps entirely ignore text-to-speech, and if it does technically support it, it behaves inconsistently among different books. There is a whole segment of users that need this kind of functionality, and without this ability, their perception of the app immediately turns negative.
At the core of it, most users just want to read their book. That’s it. They don’t want any complications, and they certainly don’t want to fight with the app. Perception matters, and it matters even more so when your core business model is selling eBooks to your customers. In the end, it’s significantly easier to ensure that the user experience is positive upfront rather than try to fix it after the negative perception is already formed.