Shortcuts are an easy way to make your app more responsive.

Quick actions in applications: what they are and why
Mobile applications allow you to do almost any action quickly. Make an appointment at the clinic in a few taps, order food, find directions. But there are situations when fast is not enough - you need to do it even faster, instantly. What should the application do then?

One brilliant inventor (perhaps there were several of them) came up with shortcuts, or quick actions. These are additional buttons that appear when a person presses the application icon on the smartphone screen in the general menu.

What is the use of shortcuts
Thanks to shortcuts, the user gets instant access to almost any action in the application. Let’s show it with an example and everything will immediately become clearer: a quick action in the Shazam application is to Shazam. It reduces the user journey to two taps. Invaluable when trying to find a song on the last note.

The usual pattern: open the application → wait for it to load → application loads → song ends.

Pattern with shortcut: pressed → pressed → application detected the song.

Why are shortcuts needed?
For quick actions, you can set any function. Here's a short list of what users typically do with them:

in messengers - go to the last dialogue, call, create new conversations or group chats;
in delivery applications - pay for goods in the cart, look at the history, call the courier;
in ecom applications - view the bonus account, repeat the last order, find the nearest pickup point.
These features are standard and predictable. It’s logical that the main shortcut in the messenger is returning to the last chat. But there are also unusual quick actions that you wouldn’t expect from the app. For example, the Ozon application shortcut allows you to quickly navigate to hotel booking.
Why did the developers do this? Hotel booking is a new service in the application. With the help of a shortcut, Ozon promotes it and accustoms users to the fact that such an opportunity has appeared in the application.

What function to include in a quick action is up to the business to decide. On the one hand, this can be any function that will be useful to the user. On the other hand, if metrics are important to you, then the shortcut will be assigned in accordance with the target action in your application.

What profit do quick actions give?

1. Everything important is at hand
There are two strategies for how the same person can use the application at different points in life. The first is admiring each element, exploring the capabilities of the application and getting stuck on the swipes. The second - without looking at the screen, while simultaneously doing something else, presses several buttons to get the expected result. Shortcuts will be useful in the second usage scenario - with their help you can display the main features of the application closer than on the main screen.
2. No need to wait long
Not everyone has the latest model of smartphone, and that's okay. The developers’ task is to ensure that the application responds to user actions as quickly as possible, regardless of the year the device was released. But one way or another, it is difficult to achieve high performance on old devices (those that are more than 4 years old). Quick action helps smooth out this moment. Due to the fact that “minor” actions that take up part of the path to completing a task are skipped, the application loads quickly, and the user does not have to wait.

3. Goals are achieved more often
Sometimes you put an item in the cart, and it lies there, lies, lies. And it seems to be important to the person, and the person remembers about it and is going to buy it. But somehow he still has no time to log into the application. A shortcut creates a “bridge” between what a person needs and the fact that he is a little lazy. Return to cart? Pay for the goods? Repeat last order? All this can be done in two taps. Once the user gets used to how this functionality saves him time, he will use it more often. Consequently, it will perform the target action more often and increase conversion.

Conversion is one of the most important business metrics. Of course, it is also influenced by other patterns in the application. In order for conversion to be high, you need to properly build the user path and reduce the number of barriers along it. This can be done by developers with a lot of experience and observation.

Examples of quick actions in popular applications

From a technical point of view, there are two types of shortcuts: static and dynamic.

Static shortcuts are set in the application once and for all. They cannot be easily replaced with others - you just need to rewrite a piece of code. The advantage of static shortcuts is that they are created very quickly. They are recommended to be used when the application customer is absolutely sure that the set of quick actions will not change. Never ever.

Dynamic shortcuts are available for changes at any stage of the application's life without interfering with the code - the user does not even have to update the application for the shortcuts to change after being configured by the administrator.

Let's look at what quick actions are used in popular mobile services, and figure out how they complement the user experience and affect the business as a whole.

1. Quick actions in Telegram
Type of actions - dynamic.

What are they doing? Displays a list of recent conversations on Android and the main features of correspondence on iOS.

Profit. The main goal of quick actions here is to improve the user experience. This has a positive effect on the app’s rating in stores. The rating is the first thing users pay attention to when choosing which app to install. A good app rating gives it a competitive advantage.
How to set up quick actions in the application

Proper configuration of quick actions makes the application more convenient and intuitive for the user. Now we will tell you how to set up quick actions so that the user immediately understands what exactly the shortcut is responsible for.

1. Number of actions. It is ideal to display up to four shortcuts - this amount looks good in a drop-down menu. However, quantity is not the main thing. It is worth focusing on the usefulness of the action for the user. If your app has five useful quick actions, then display them all, and if there is one, add it and don't worry about it getting lonely.

2. Name of actions. For each action you need to formulate a clear and concise name - up to 10 characters. So that a person clearly understands what result he will come to, and so that this name fits on the screen.

Quick actions are almost the same in implementation on Android and iOS. Therefore, the implementation of this function will not take much time - from 6 to 14 hours. The number of hours is affected by:

a set of quick actions;
type of actions (static/dynamic).
We will take on the technical implementation of quick actions. You won't have to worry about how to set it all up - you'll just take a look and see that everything works the way you wanted. Don't miss the opportunity to optimize task completion speed in your mobile app.
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