User Retention Design

The magic of user retention design ensures a strong bond between users and your application. But unfortunately, many people need help understanding this one crucial factor. It is not only about hiring a great team of engineers to build an incredible software application that will make you a millionaire. But it is also about how consistently your users prefer to stick to your platform. So if you have an app with a magnificent concept and design. But if you are unsure about user retention strategies, then there’s no way your product could be profitable.

This article will show 5 steps to increase user retention by including attractive characteristics in your app design. 

What is the meaning of user retention design?

To understand the user retention meaning, let’s break the phrase into two parts – user retention and design. User retention is the continuous use of your application by customers. Whereas the word design, when added to the first part, means having traits in your app that help you achieve user retention

Therefore, the simplest user retention definition in the context of design is:

“To have traits that emotionally connect customers to your platform, so they always get back to your application.”

Now that you have refreshed your memory by recalling what user retention design means, let’s start with the five strategies. 

Add triggers for user retention design

Triggers make users bounce back to your application through human emotions. You need to research your users to find those points. Design is the foundation for establishing emotional contact between the platform and the audience. A bad visual design can overcome a beautiful idea and trigger wrong emotions.

user retention design

Triggers could be anything that keeps your users connected with the app.  Some important UX triggers for user retention through design are:

  • Curiosity: Giving a reason to your users to check sales email, buy a service, subscribe to the mailing list, etc. 
  • Exclusiveness: Offering something unique through your products, like options to customize the app in specific ways
  • Scarcity: For example, a limited-time offer to avail discount on your product

At the same time, you need to ensure the inclusion of UI design triggers also user retention ux, such as:

  • Simple interface
  • Meaningful content
  • Correct color selection

Increase usability for user retention design

Your digital product should be designed to enhance users’ usability. To achieve this goal, determine if your app is providing a solution to your users’ problems. Make sure the platform is targeting the right issue. 

user retention design policy

Know what users want through your solution before working on maximizing usability. There’s a simple rule – keep users happy, and your app will shoot for the moon. For example, Hipstamatic started before Instagram and was an early competitor. Initially, both offered the same services where users could take photos and add filters. Hipstamatic began offering paid photo filters as the company thought it was users’ demand. At the same time, Instagram expanded its business model by adding networking and photo-sharing features along with high-value filters. The company gave everything for free that users were charged to do by Hipstamatic.
Instagram rationally chose the right strategy and became one of the world’s most famous free video and photo-sharing platforms. Unfortunately, Hipstamatic lost its charm, and now most people take the company as a newbie.

Give importance to user feedback with the help of user testing. Did you know around 84% of users don’t return to apps that crash twice for them? It means you must figure out and remove obstacles between the user and the platform. But this is something impossible to achieve without user testing.
User testing allows you to find whether or not your app is working for the users. And the best way to gain that information is through user feedback. However, feedbacks are useless if you don’t incorporate it into your design. You must test the features to build a user retention design for your platform. If you’re a startup with a limited budget, you can track user retention over Google Analytics for free to attain usability metrics for your app. But don’t restrict yourself to knowing the user behavior, but iterate and optimize your software according to their patterns and habits. Remember, iterative testing and deployment are perfect ways to grow your digital product and user retention.

Your application should be device friendly. The trend of using software through desktop computers has changed since 2014. Now, users are more into handy devices. So, you shouldn’t expect user retention if your app lacks a mobile design. So ask yourself if your user retention design is device friendly. Does it allow users to enjoy the same features on tablets, laptops, and mobile? Because if not, you are likely to lose some loyal admirers.

Also Read: A Guidebook to SaaS Product Development Process

Your application’s user retention design must ensure accessibility. If users fail to understand how to use your platform, you have lost them already. The best way to make your platform successful is by providing users with a simple design. Contrarily, you should prepare your app to have instructional features, especially when the user interacts with it for the first time.

The best user retention design means a straightforward interface without confusing features. You can find hundreds of books on design that tells about keeping interfaces simple, short and sweet. But instead of scratching your head over a plethora of literature, you can follow these three laws for developing a user retention design app. 

  • Bigger designs are easy and quick to touch
  • Too many options will increase the decision-making process
  • Users adore remembering details in chunks rather than collectiveness

Teach your users about your app’s functionality to grow user accessibility.  Don’t expect users to know everything about your app. In fact, teach them about your platform’s functions and features in the simplest way possible. For example, many applications give a short demonstration of the set up process through popovers. Likewise, you can provide clues, create instructional signs, or use other design modals to help users learn using your app. 

Your users won’t know about the new features unless you tell them. Post-launch iterations in the app’s features are a great way to satisfy customers’ needs. But if you won’t inform about the new amendments and characteristics, users may never find them on their own. 

You must tell them about the new features every time you include them in your app. In user retention examples You can post instructional guides or tutorial videos, but they are less alarming than modals like popovers

Pleasure makes a winning user retention design

So you have a helpful app? Marvelous! But do you think it raptures whenever users interact with it? If your answer is negative, you must begin thinking of some ways to add pleasure to your platform. Here are a few simple methods to make your app more satisfying through user retention design

Your users are your means to help you earn money through your app. So appreciate their presence when you thank someone, it makes them happy. The same rule applies to all your users. Thanking your customers for choosing your platform over thousands of others will make them feel appreciated. This sense of recognition and acknowledgement will make them more loyal towards your product. As a result, you will eventually build a strong user retention design that will attract users repeatedly.

Let your users feel they are interacting with humans when using your application. This is the ideal user retention design to improve the relationship between your product and customers. To create a user centered design application for retention, you must understand that customers adore human interactions. Users feel more comfortable when they notice they are being heard by some person, even though there’s a machine on the other side with an avatar and human name.  You can research the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) to learn and seek ways to line up computer interfaces with human mentality. Nevertheless, the simplest way to implement this concept is by talking to each user like a friend. This user retention strategy will help you achieve customer loyalty. 

Reward your users for increasing their interest in using your app.

Rewards aren’t just monetary. In fact, they could be anything, including:

  • Points
  • Badges
  • Discounts
  • VIP status 
  • Free upgrades
  • Compliments

When you have a reward program in your app design, it gives a sense of accomplishment to your users. They interact more often with your solution, and as a result, the product qualifies for user retention. 

A user retention design is investable

The good thing about investment is that it strengthens the bond between customers and products. The more time, money, and energy users invest in your app, the more valuable and robust the retention is. 

Also Read: Scrum vs. Spotify Model – Which One is Best for Your Product Development

How to calculate user retention design?

Customer or user retention rate is one of the essential user retention metrics. It helps you identify the number of users retained on your app in a certain period. To calculate retention, you need to use the user retention rate formula:

[(E-N)/S] x 100 = Customer/User Retention Rate


E = Users you have at the end of the period

S = Users you have at the start of the period

N = New users you acquired during the period

Here’s a quick example! Suppose your application had 120 users at the start (S) of the period. By the end of 30 days, you had a total number of 150 customers (E). You had 50 new customers (N) using your app during that period. So how many users did your company retain in 30 days? 

Simply put the numbers in the place of the formula’s alphabet (E, N, and S) to get the rate.

[(150-50)/120] x 100 = Customer/User Retention Rate

83% = Customer/User Retention Rate

That means your company retained 83% of users in the last 30 days. The above user retention formula will help you get the percentage of all the retained customers. 


Customer retention is one of the main factors that decide the success or failure of your digital product. You can achieve a user retention design by adding features to your app that benefit your customers. Some of the greatest strategies for user retention are by involving human and emotional touch in your solution. Additionally, ensuring your app is easy to use and fascinates users. 

At Slash, we make strategies to create a successful user retention design for your applications. Our professionals help you build features that captivate users and create a rebound effect, so you always enjoy a high retention rate. From development and testing to prototyping and delivery, our Slash teams work closely with your digital product to meet all your users’ needs.

FAQs – user retention design

What is retention in design? Retention means how well a digital or physical product keeps users engaged in a certain period. A product is considered to have good retention when its users keep coming back, and design plays a key role in making it happen.

What is user retention in UX? User experience (UX) is what users feel about your app when they use it. To get user retention through UX, your app design should give reasons for customers to return, such as curiosity, novelty, and scarcity.

What are the 5 key concepts of user experience design? The 5 fundamental user experience design principles are strategy, usability, empathy, validation, and inclusivity.

How do you do user retention? To improve user retention, make sure your product is user-friendly and customizable. Besides, it should be fun to use and include all the essential features your company has promised.

Promsopeak Sean Nuon
Sean Promsopeak Nuon
Lead engineer
Sean is technology-driven and passionate about working with technology that helps people. Now he finds himself as an executive member of Slash, executing the technology operation side from an entrepreneurship point of view. He has over 9 years of working experience dealing with technical problems, project management and team mindset building. He splits time between Solution Architect & Lead developer for enterprise clients and as part of the management team, he helps build future-proof architecture, define quality standards, team culture, and hiring & training practices.
In this article

Explore more resources

Everything you need to know about user experience design Singapore (services, jobs, and courses)
Everything you need to know about user experience design Singapore (services, jobs, and courses)
Do you need information on user experience design Singapore? This article offers comprehensive details about the UX services, courses, and job opportunities in Singapore. Explore everything you need to know about UX design in Singapore.
7 minute read·
by Alex Lossing ·
November 14, 2023
Marc Gamet
From workshop to book: crafting years of design wisdom
3 minute read·
by Marc Gamet ·
April 26, 2024
Skip to content