Lazy User Theory: How Is It Relevant For Apps Today

In the market today there are hundreds of options to choose from for anything.
Do you want to order dinner? Want to buy a hair dryer? Do you want to have your car repaired? There is the infinite number of options for literally everything.
What makes a user choose a particular product or service above the others?

Or more importantly,

Why will the user choose you, your product or your service?

Is it the need? Is it the cost? Is it both?

This was the question that Mikael Collan and Franck Tétard wanted to answer through their Lazy User Model.

To understand it, remember that even water follows the path where there is the least resistance. So does current. Hence, any process to flow best, it will self-select the path with the least struggle. Same goes for your user experience.

‘The lazy user theory of solution selection tries to explain how a user selects a solution to fulfill a need (user need) from a set of possible solution and assumes that the user will select the solution that demands the least effort.’

The effort can be in the form of, e.g., time used, money used, energy used (physical work, mental work), or a combination of these. We assume that, within each individual form of effort, less of the form of effort is better, i.e., less money/time/energy used is less effort used.

EFFORT= Monetary Cost + Time Taken + Physical/Mental Work



This model becomes immensely important today as all businesses are vouching to go digital. With their own websites and mobile apps, businesses should ideally be able to service their customers better but is that really happening?

Is your website allowing the users to find answers to their questions with minimum effort?
Or is it just taking a toll on his/her data?

Is your mobile app making the user access your services faster?
Or Is it just a fancy non-functional ornament in the phone that he/she never uses?

These hard questions are what you need to ask yourself when you go ahead to make a digital profile of your company. Because if you are not taking care of your customer’s experience, they have tons of other options in front of them and definitely the ones who care more.

So, now the grave puzzle is how can you make the effort minimum for your app/website?
(Or ask your app developers too)

Don’t worry, we have you covered.

  • Performance:

The perfect app for your business should be high on performance first. No user would want to wait for long for the first screens to appear. Pre-fetched data allows better performance. Continuous and quick optimization after the launch is necessary for best results.
One must be able to perform the main function in the minimum no.of taps and minimum time = less effort.

Also Read: Nine Things That Users Hate in an App

  • Connectivity:

You cannot assume that the user is connected to high-speed internet 24×7. People travel all the time and hence your app should be able to deliver some basic if not all functions satisfactorily with limited internet. Those HD images in the background which are slow to load are not helping me on my trip to the hills while I struggle to pay my bills online. Hence your app developer should take this into consideration.
Lazy loading is another cool technique, app development takes help in delivering unforeseen delays from.

  • User Interface:

The user interface is the key to an app’s success.

No one wants to spend more than 3-4 minutes struggling with how the app works. If it takes longer, I might as well uninstall it.
Other functions that make it easier for a user to make the best use of the app are Onboarding or Walkthroughs. This introduces the app to the user just after the download. After sign-up, tutorials are but obvious next step to familiarise the app user with the functions. Additionally, there can be tips once he/she has started using it.
All of this done appropriately (not too less, not too much) is saving an app uses the effort of figuring out how to use your app.

  • Security:

Since an app gathers data of and from the user, there have to be enough safeguards to that data. The app development company should be able to deliver those safeguards without making the user struggle too hard. Especially for apps offering e-commerce, this is central.
The user wants security but wants it easy too.

The Lazy User Theory actually embodies the words of G.K. Zipf, “ To be habitual, an action must be relatively effortless (or carry a particularly large psychic reward)”.
So, if you want the app for your business should drive down as a habit for your customers, make the developers put in the effort so that the users don’t have to!

Snigdha Sachar is an engineer by qualification, policy-enthu by passion and chai-advocate as a freelancer. She is a part of the Management team at Applify.

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