Rage taps are the closest thing app developers can measure when it comes to monitoring and tracking user frustration in real time. The behavior manifests when users are expecting an action or response from the app but the app is not working as expected. This causes the user to repeat their tap tap tap in the hope that persistence will produce the desired outcome. From the user’s point of view it seems as if the app is ignoring them.

In this blog post we’re going to cover:

  • What are rage taps and what causes them?
  • Why is it important to track rage taps?
  • How can developers prevent rage taps?

What are rage taps and what causes them?

Have you ever found yourself doing the following?

  • Added a product to a shopping cart but nothing happened
  • Clicked a product to get more details but nothing happened
  • Sent a message in a messaging app but the message didn’t send
  • Clicked a destination on a map to zoom in but nothing happened

Those moments did not give you a good impression of the app’s experience. And yet, that experience is shared by your users whenever they are also rage tapping on your app. The pain of this experience is the gap between the expected outcome and the forced waiting period, like a person entering the elevator in a hurry and jamming on the button to close the door.

While it would be ideal if UX designers could have an emotion graph of the user’s experience as they use the app, tracking rage taps is the next best thing.

Rage taps can manifest differently depending on the user, but as a rule of thumb each individual user will increase the frequency (and sense of urgency) when it comes to rage taps the more frustrated they are.

And what causes user frustration? When the app itself is blocking the user from getting what they want.

Why is it important to track rage taps?

The user isn’t rage tapping when your app is doing its job. They’re rage tapping when your app isn’t.

When this behavior is recurring across multiple user sessions in the same area, it is a strong indication of something broken in that specific section. This is amazing information because your users are directly revealing where your app is disappointing them.

These moments where user interaction fails are all high-value moments for the engineering teams to fix. The user needed or wanted the app to be working at these specific moments and it failed them. These aren’t moments that the user just “accepted” were slow to react to input, but moments where the user was mashing their fingers away at the screen.

But is this communicated to the engineering team? Unfortunately, no. Slowness does not result in an error or crash because traditional monitoring solutions don’t effectively capture in-session performance issues. This means that your engineers often don’t know when and where the user is most frustrated and rage tapping on your app.

Keep in mind that users are more likely to remember bad experiences compared to good ones, so fixing those interactions that cause rage taps can help improve how your app is perceived. If you don’t fix those moments, you risk technical churn with users abandoning your app.

How can developers prevent rage taps?

Rage taps are not often associated with crashes, so if you rely on logging and crash reporting with a tool like Firebase, you will never be able to track them.

Embrace is a data-driven toolset to help engineers manage the complexity of mobile, and part of our User Session Insights product is the ability to show you when, how, and with what frequency rage taps happen in each session.

It is important for developers to know the following:

  • When did the rage tap happen and under what circumstances?
  • What element was being tapped on and what was the user expecting?
  • What are the coordinates on the screen the tapping happened?
  • Where in a key funnel did the rage tap happen?

With Embrace, you have access to the technical events and user actions of 100% of user sessions. Our user session timelines are time-based visualizations of the entire user experience, which means the engineering team gets the context needed to identify the root cause of every issue. Now you’ll benefit from indicators that surface problems you didn’t even know about.

By matching up when users experience frustration with specific moments in your app, you can pinpoint high-value areas for improvement and reduce technical churn.