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I have been working on this: http://spe.lt

Now, I have had a few thousand people visit this. It seems like a lot of people find it useful, but not that many end up using it. I want to increase user adoption. My sense is that I need more features to make this memorable and more useful. The site is so plain right now that it's not really sticking to users.

I have heard that giving users the ability to sign-up will increase adoption and give me the ability to occasionally email them and remind them. However, I am unsure of this and I would favor an alternative to registration, at least until it seems like a useful feature.

What is the most effective way I can increase adoption for a simple single-page application?

(if this question is too specific I would be happy to generalize it)

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    This isn't form a UX standpoint but perhaps allow users to browse other people lists. Even if you want to keep it an SPA just add a "recently created lists" bar on the right including your own (tracked by cookies or account) as well as the community's. – DasBeasto Aug 30 '15 at 17:16
  • what does it do? i type some of the suggested texts, but nothing happen on ENTER. – Tomer W Aug 31 '15 at 5:31
  • You can see in comments that people visiting your site don't know what to do and it is very bad first impression. A lot of users will leave instantly – Ahsan Idrisi Sep 3 '15 at 10:17
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For my point of view there are few things you can improve

1) Add a tag line on your main page which tells what this app is about. As i kept wondering for 5 seconds and then clicked on ABOUT link to know what does this search input do

2) This information is not very sensitive so you can skip the password part and let the user save their list by providing just the email address. Emails are great marketing tool as your app is in its start phase. You can send updates and new features to your site users

3) You can also use an animated GIF created from video to show how this tool works

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    +1 I agree with all of Ahsan's points. @Gus I had no idea what your page did. It was cool, but what does it do. If you want people to use it, tell them how! – Majo0od Sep 3 '15 at 12:22
  • I love the bare-bones layout. And I agree that it needs a little intro for novices, like @Ahsan suggests in (1). Maybe put the intro in a popup with a little innocuous (?) icon. – Ken Mohnkern Sep 3 '15 at 13:08
  • I'd also replace the 'About' and 'Terms' with some round FontAwesome buttons and have their content open in a modal. This would give users instructions immediately, without cluttering up the minimalist interface. – Lee Harrison Sep 3 '15 at 14:29
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Let me dive right into it.

1. Onboarding - Your app needs to have a good onboarding. You say about a Thousand users are visiting the app. However, they are not users, yet. Since you haven't explained the concept of your app to them yet. Adopt an intuitive way to introduce the new visitors to your app. As of now, you have a visitor who visits your page, doesn't know what's going on, why is it entering food items in the search box - leaves the web page.

GreenLane.io provides the perfect branding and experience to immediately register in the user's mind and not make him go back until he tries something.

2. Branding - Your app is named Spelt, which about 90% of users relate to as an app that is somewhat related to correct spelling or pronunciation. I assume you've used the name because Spelt also refers to a type of Wheat (I hope). But that really doesn't help. Users generally do not wait for more than 3 seconds on a web page if they do not understand the content and/or are confused. You're following an amazing minimalist design of wonderful contrast and typography, but you are failing to convey what the app does. You could probably use colors which suggest it's related to Food such as Red or Green.

Consider Waqi.info's way of describing their acronym and specifying it in the title after you visit the webpage to know exactly what it does.

3. Positioning - The button placement is horrible. Considering I am not given a proper onboarding, the first thing I search for is the "How it Works" or "About" page of the app, which is not visible at all, at the bottom.

4. Advantages - Your application does a wonderful job of measuring food items. Use that to your advantage and possibly state facts, in text below the calculator box, which are random. Such as, "Ounce by ounce, Nutritious food costs up to 10 times more than junk food!" This all will contribute to the overall branding of your application and will reduce the bounce rate when the visitor will use the application.

5. Why will they come back? - To reduce the bounce rate, it's important to have a feature or experience which will get the user to visit you again. For example, you could have a cookie store the data of the user in his machine which you'd be able to fetch and welcome him. Also, the possibilities of how many exercises you'll need to do to slash those calories you're considering to eat. Example: For a Slice of Pizza, say 32 minutes of Cardio and 20 Reps Crunches.

  • No problem! I hope they were of help and helped you resolve the bounce rate. – Swapnil Borkar Sep 5 '15 at 13:18
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When someone lands on the page, you should introduce people to what this does, what it's useful for, etc. That will be an easy win.

For increased engagement, you need some interesting content to engage with. I would add a few lists myself, maybe those of actual dishes, and have them show, with the calorie count, on the homepage. That way, instead of coming up with food items themselves, they can just idly explore a few lists and get a feeling of what it's useful for. As the community builds, people can probably explore others' lists too.

You should also ask people to sign up. That way, they can save their lists, you can save their frequently searched items, etc. and that will make for a better, more engaging experience, and you can also send them a weekly e-mail (that they opt for).

An alternative to registration would be just getting their e-mail, however an account on spe.lt will be a lot more beneficial for the user. You can still engage them with just an e-mail, but you lose out on the community that you can build around this.

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Great idea! I think the only thing you really need is a tag line that explains what the app does in 1 sentence. If you do not want to have that then I would make ABOUT a little more obvious and somewhere in an immediate vision area of a user. And about should be written in a dummy proof matter, that strays away the tech aspect and more on its functionality. Other than that I think it is great and would love to see it grow. Good luck !

  • Thanks! The about page is supposed to be a more behind the scenes look. But I see now I need to make that more clear, and give the user some more information from the start. – Gus Sep 4 '15 at 17:42
  • yea just a lil preface will increase user retention. I like the idea nonetheless. good luck with it – Stanley VM Sep 4 '15 at 17:44
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I like it. It took a bit of experimentation to figure it out, but now I feel like an expert.

However, I see only the top hit on my search text. Do I need to keep typing until the food I'm looking for appears? Or can I scroll through the other results? For example, I type "beer" and I get "1 can beer." I drink it by the pint, so I type "pint of beer" and still get "1 can beer." How do I find info on a pint of double stout, which has probably triple the calories of a can of Bud Light?

That's an apparent limitation that might keep people from returning.

  • I found that only returning one result is more intuitive, but it can definitely lead to confusion. I will look to fix this, thanks a lot. – Gus Sep 4 '15 at 17:41

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