Uber’s Lessons on Mobile App Optimization

This is the fourth in a series of interviews with top product managers at mobile-focused companies. The interviews include exclusive content covering best practices, KPI optimizations, mobile predictions and more.

Mina Radhakrishnan, Uber’s Head of Product, sat down with Kiip to discuss the importance of analytics, optimizing the conversion funnel and where the future is taking us next. Check out her thoughts below.

uber

Image source: Facebook

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned as a PM for a mobile app?

It’s critical to think about analytics as you build the product. You can’t just add it at the end in an integrated way. Analytics let you understand the ways people think and interact with your mobile product and you’ll be consistently surprised. Another lesson is iOS vs. Android. Realistically, these are the two platforms you need to spend time on. Many companies have only focused on iOS and ported over the same app interface and design to Android. When approaching each platform, design for the platform. For Android, excellent design considers how people use the Android platform — for example, how to navigate, back button, home button, the menu.

What key metrics do you monitor and optimize to build successful mobile apps?

A few important considerations are “what are your conversion funnels?” and “where can you lose users?” You must think about the end goal: what does it mean to successfully convert a user, whatever that conversion is for you. A clear key metric for us is whether somebody took a ride. Another metric focus is the signup conversion funnel, which isn’t as simple as email and password, since we require payment information. Optimizing this signup flow is critical as we need all the user information so the app can be used. Our payment signup page is like an eCommerce checkout before you’ve bought something — this is where you can lose people. One of the big successes was integrating Card.io which lets you take a picture of your credit card instead of manually entering the digits. For manual entry, we found that more, simple steps to enter it are less overwhelming. The entry itself must default to the keypad because you don’t want to make people switch from the ABC keypad.

What’s your favorite third party tool? Analytics, user attribution, A/B testing, etc.

Most of our services are homegrown. My personal favorite is the in-house querying product that we’ve built – incredible power to run complex SQL queries.

What’s one complementary service that you wish existed for developing mobile apps?

We release the Uber app in different countries and languages. We spend a lot of time creating each app description, details and screenshots localized to each country’s App Store. A service that could hook up translations and screenshots to the App Store itself would save us a ton of time.

What mobile commerce trend are you most excited about?

The commerce version of Facebook connect – basically a clean, easy mobile wallet. I have all of these details already, why do I need to input over again each time?

What’s one mobile app prediction you believe that most people do not?

I’m excited about wearables. A lot of people think about mobile just as your phone. I want to see devices that really integrate with what I’m wearing and where I’m going without being so intrusive. But it probably will be a while until wearables catch on.

You can see the original interview here. Come back to the blog next week to read an interview with Shane Hall, The Hunt’s Head of Product.


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