CS for Apps - Tip 6: Chunking

Welcome to the CS for Apps Tip-of-the-Day! Welcome back. Tip no. 6: Breaking down UI and tasks into component parts known as Chunking, improves app usage and comprehension.

Friction is bad

One important aspect of UX design is friction. Friction is anything that prevents the user from accomplishing a task in the app. Friction is bad. Friction can lead to app exits, frustration, and a drop in overall conversation rates.

Do you know what the most frictionless purchase funnel is? How about this… every app should aspire to be a Tide button. Every user who pushes the Tide button converts, instantly!


But we are not there just yet with mobile e-commerce, although the Buy It Now slider in the Amazon app is pretty close. :)


Smooth sailing toward your goals

One way to reduce friction is the design principle known as Chunking. Chunking was developed by the psychologist George Miller in 1956. It’s the cognitive psychology theory that states the number of objects the average human can process at any one time is 7, plus or minus 2. App designers use Chunking to group together related objects into logical groups. This technique can be used to organize single screens and also break up complex tasks into sub-tasks, like complex signup forms and extensive feature based onboarding.

As we’ve discussed in past tips, time is short. The average user spends just 4 minutes in an app in order to make a purchase. And according to Microsoft, the human attention span is now in the region of only 8-seconds. So it’s super critical to ensure that the user comprehends the task at hand and completes it in the minimal amount of time.

Below is a good example. The UX design is not only beautiful, but it also uses the concept of Chunking to break down the check-out process into 5 distinct, intuitive steps leading to faster conversion and a better in-app experience.

Breaking up complex information into bite-sized pieces, or length tasks into easy to use subtasks, makes them easier to remember, comprehend, and faster to complete the task at hand.


How CS for Apps can help

Use screen zoning and tap metrics to identify which elements in a complex screen or process the user engages with, and which they do not. The designer should consider elements with low engagement or even nonactionable elements (stuff that doesn’t do anything when tapped) as prime candidates for removal or re-design.

Chunking together screen elements or sub-tasks can result in the user having an improved level of understanding in the app and contribute to higher retention, improved stickiness, and conversion.


CS for Apps can be an important contributor to the app designer’s or conversion manager’s workflow to better understand how users engage with their app and to deliver the ultimate UX for their users.

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