One-shot banners

There’s not much more frustrating than a modal “Rate this app!” dialog minutes after installing a new app.

It would be nice to invite users to do that at some appropriate moment, though. Only if they want to. It needs to be easy to ignore. It needs to be easy to make it go away forever.

I’ve been experimenting with what I’ll call the one-shot banner pattern in Sudoku.

A borrowed idea

We ran a private beta when I was working on the Songkick Android app. The most common piece of feedback by far was that existing users wanted to log in straight away and couldn’t find the option. (It typically presents itself when you take an action that requires an account.)

songkick_login

We sketched out a few different options: dialog, notification and banner. The banner won. It sits within the context of the app, it’s immediately visible without being jarring and it’s friendly to users that don’t want to take either action yet.

Current implementation

The version in Sudoku evolved a little. It has more in common with the action bar, sharing a consistent height and action pressed states. It’s also slightly transparent to hint that it’s a transient feature of the UI.

In practical terms, this is just a Fragment added to the bottom of the Activity layout. Completing the action or pressing the dismiss button will remove the Fragment and SharedPreferences are used to maintain the shown state. All quite simple.

banner_plus

The user is invited to +1 the game after 2 completed puzzles. This is just pressing a button so it’s low commitment.

banner_rate

I want to ask the user to rate the game once they’ve played long enough to have formed an opinion. (Hopefully the fact that they’re still playing means they like it.) This action takes the user out of the app to Google Play, which is potentially disruptive, so it’s shown after 5 completed puzzles.

banner_store

After 10 puzzles, the user probably knows what difficulty they like to play. They might even be running low on puzzles of a particular level. This is a good time hint that there are more available.

Click-through rates

Roughly 3.3% of users presented with the rating banner click through. This suggests that it’s serving a purpose. It also makes a strong case against doing something modal. The vast majority of users aren’t interested in rating the app even though they’re highly engaged.

Resources

Stefano Dacchille wrote a great blog post on holding off asking users to rate an app if they’ve experienced a crash recently.