Engaging your users better with widgets


One of the end goals of any product is acquiring users. Why? Because you will always want your solution or product to reach people. So after acquiring users, what next? User retention. Yes, User retention.

User retention is a really big deal. After acquiring users, you need to own your users. You should never let them go. Not for any reason..lol. The truth is, your product is most likely not the only product that can serve that purpose or solve that problem the user has. So, for a mobile app, there needs to be a reason why me, as a user, should keep your app on my mobile phone. One of the ways by which you can retain your users better is by engaging them more.

According to a study on mobile app usage, about one in four mobile users only use an app once, and 62 percent of users will use an app less than 11 times. Old but still true

Engaging users can come in different ways, but I will be talking about engaging your users using iOS Widgets. However, there are other ways of engaging your users, like sending notifications from time to time. But widgets are less disturbing and more customisable. Widgets are small blocks of app contents that are displayed on the left side of the Home Screen and Lock Screen of iPhone devices..just as shown below.


Imagine you are building an app where users can read their favourite books. How good would it be to have a widget that recommends books to your users daily?

Imagine you are building a currency converter app that can help me, as a user, convert my Naira into Dollars to know how much it’s worth in Dollars. How good would it be to have a widget that can keep me updated on conversion rates realtime, so I can know when to leave this country.

There are countless use cases where widgets are extremely of good benefit to end-users. And with it, you can engage and retain your users more. I will be working on a simple app to introduce widgets to you. It’s a pretty empty app with no functionality. Just an intro to widgets.

I have created a new Xcode Project, named it WidgetIntro, as shown below.

New Xcode Project

To create a widget, select File -> New -> Target. Then select Today Extension, as shown below.

Today Extension

Enter Test Widget as the Product Name, as shown below.

Test Widget

You would get a dialog that says Activate “Test Widget” scheme?. Select Activate. You should have a new Group added, titled Test Widget, as shown below.

Text Widget Group

In the Group, is a storyboard where you can design the view of your widget. Also, there is a TodayViewController file connected to the view controller in the storyboard. Click the storyboard, you should see this:

Test Widget Storyboard

To run the widget, use the Run icon, as shown below, making sure Test Widget is selected as Scheme.

Run Test Widget

If all goes well, you should have the widget displayed as shown below.

The Test Widget displayed

If you see the Test Widget as shown above, congrats! You’ve just created your first iOS Widget.


Now that you know how to create a widget, you can go ahead and customise it as you want.

Watch this space for more tutorials on taking it further, like opening of the app when a view is tapped, using UserDefaults within the widget and obtaining data from CoreData within the widget.

Thank you for reading. Peace out ✌?