How To Ask For User Permissions Politely In Mobile UX Design?
UI UX Design / 01-August-2016 / minute read

How To Ask For User Permissions Politely In Mobile UX Design?

User permissions actually allow users to take advantage of the features of mobile app and permissions are important when the user is using mobile app.


We are living in the era of social media where everything is about sharing! Our lives have become open books through social networks and we are happy letting Facebook or Twitter gain access to our personal information. Surprisingly, when it comes to apps, we are particular on protecting our privacy. People are cautious in granting entry and this protective mindset makes them download an app, open it and then delete it. Now, why does that happen? Because they encounter various popups that ask for permissions like ‘app would like to access your locations’ or ‘app would like to access your contacts’ or ‘app would like to access your camera’ which makes them doubt . These permissions actually allow users to take advantage of the feature rich app through grant of access of its functions. But users being unaware of the purpose form a negative notion in their mind and discard the app.

In order to keep the engagement intact, the app must keep in touch with the users before asking for permissions. By introducing friction in onboarding, the app itself prevents the users from reaching the registration stage. Permissions are no doubt to improve the experience but for that, first, you must earn the trust and loyalty of the users and make the app worth their choice. On approval, the app gets certain confidential information from users and can also communicate more by getting the opportunity to talk. Great, isn’t it? In this post, we will explain the right way to ask users for permissions so that you can win them from the first interaction-

1. The Strategic Way


The sure-shot way to ruin the task of requesting permission is by attacking users with permission requests and that too without any prior notice or explanation. If you ask for permission early or if you bombard with too many things at a time, you are committing blunders. Nevertheless, many apps make these mistakes and in the very first interaction, that is, the moment the app starts, which is enough to put off the user. For example, Inbox by Gmail seeks permissions prior to its onboarding tour, without supplementing any additional information or context. The instance you send permission requests, you assume that all the users will give their consent. If you want such a thing to happen, start forming a permissions strategy. Permission strategy is based on the clarity and significance of the permission type you are putting forth. Critical permissions must be requested in a straightforward manner whereas secondary permissions can be directed in contextual form.

2. The Right Time

One of the parameters that decide whether the user will give his consent or deny your requests is the time of occurrence. The thumb of rule here is to avoid asking user for access unless you find it necessary.

3. Critical Permissions


For critical permissions, go up-front in the request. In many apps, not being able to get entry to data can make the user experience suffer. For instance, if an app relies on SMS service, refusing access to the service will make the app lose its objective. Fortunately, users assume a messaging app to go for SMS permissions, so requesting it up-front is the right approach. If the app requires more than one permission for a feature to function, then ask for the permissions needed and nothing more. Don’t neglect the clarity; a user must understand what the app actually does, based on its description or previous experience. Going upfront, in this case, fulfills the expectations that the user have corresponding to the requests.

4. Other Permissions


In general, sense, if a new user experience commences with a series of permission requests, you might lose a pertinent opportunity to retain the users. Apps should devise the permissions in context and convey the value the entry will offer. The reason being, once the users are involved, there are chances they will accept your requests. It is a fact that users are more likely to give access if asked during ongoing task.

5. The Way To Ask

The apps should substantiate and make clear as to why each permission request is required, either by way of feature name or through explanation. Note: if you are expecting Yes as the answer, you got to ask nicely. A simple principle is to ensure that users are fully aware of what they will get in return by accepting the request.

6. Explanation Advantage


Permissions that are somewhat hidden in motive must convey what exactly the permission deals with. If the app has the feature of the walkthrough, utilize it to educate what your app relates to and why sudden/unexpected permissions will creep in. Substantiating permission in context is another excellent technique as it captures user interest and grants understanding of the permission. Make an attempt to clarify the benefits the visitors will get by allowing the app access.

7. Priming For Request


This can be done by opening a background image that justifies the permission request. The image should explain clearly why the app requires that specific permission. In iOS, the default permission request can be selected only once in a particular feature. The worst scenario is when the user refuses to give permission at the system level as reversing that verdict in iOS is very tough. Priming is the right approach and the app should start to persuade the users to give consent prior to the appearance of actual iOS permission request screen. For instance, Cluster has the ideal approach of priming before the request. The flow consists of context-creating screen, a primer and ultimately the permission request. With pre-permissions dialog boxes, ‘Don’t Allow’ doesn’t seem to be a big problem now for Cluster.

8. Contextual Power


User-triggered dialog boxes attain better results than context-building screen as users are supposing to face the request and are likely to grant access when they are willing to work on the feature it is associated with. Wait until a feature comes into play to request permission. For example, when the user clicks on the feature like a camera in Cluster app, it sets the request for photo permissions.

9. Handle Denied Permissions


Denied permissions are a big danger as they don’t permit the feature to work as initially intended. Make sure to give an explanation to the user whenever a permission is not accepted. Make it a point to give feedback whenever a permission is ruled out by the user. In case of denial of critical permissions, if it interferes with the working of app, justify why the permission is necessary to be allowed and provide them a link to access Settings and be thoroughly convinced. For instance, in Google Hangouts, the screen is self-explanatory to inform that a permission grant is must for the app to run.

10. Test To Track


As stated, timing is a great factor that influences the acceptance of your permission requests. Use engagement rate as a good criteria to assess their consent for the requests. Test the integrated permission requests with the essential features of your app. A good example can be Facebook Messenger vs. Snapchat where the former asks for contact permissions when the user express desire to sync their contacts whereas latter doesn’t seek permission until the end and has a priming message too that justifies why the permissions are a must for the app to work.

Also, test interested users to accept permissions when they are keen on using a particular feature. Through this, your permission requests will have more contextual and intuitive factor. Testing can also prove beneficial if you want to figure out whether asking for permissions at once works or asking for different permissions gradually makes the user more comfortable.

11. Trust Matters


Both the platforms of Android and iOS apps require the users to approve location-based services. However, the consent will be given only if the users trust that you are a reliable brand and your app will serve them good no matter what. The challenge is- you get only one chance at this. If user starts your app and refuses the location services permission, it is unlikely that you get a shot at this again. The couple of seconds of entering the app become the deciding factor; make sure to use it with care and leave no doubt in their minds.

Although, if user still denies access, it will be a big trouble as the app won’t function and it will be next to impossible to make it run. So, in other words, developers must strive through every possible measure to make the users tap ‘Allow’. Some location-based apps even use beacons to influence and thus achieve high engagement figures. They are quite direct and seek approval for notifications, locations and Bluetooth to proceed in function.


Every app is unique, but you must consider the user’s need to gain access to different areas of their phone and data and let them expect that permission requests are somewhat a necessary gateway to cross through. There is no end to raising the bar of user experience; it is definitely an ongoing process. So, make sure you don’t leave out on the chance to prepare your users for permission requests well in advance. Keep testing till you deduce the best approach for you. If you make it easy for the visitors to accept your request and also make them understand why they are doing that, you will definitely achieve success in these system dialogs.


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