Seminar: Modeling User Concerns in the App Store: A Case Study on the Rise and Fall of Yik Yak

Grant Williams headshot

Grant Williams

PhD Candidate, Louisiana State University, Division of Computer Science

October 12, 2018

3:00 pm

Patrick F. Taylor Hall, Room 1236


Mobile apps have an enormous potential audience and low barrier to entry for new developers. It is therefore no surprise that the mobile app space has become increasingly competitive year over year. To survive in such a harsh environment, developers must react quickly to user concerns, or else they risk losing market share to their competition.

In this talk, we will discuss the downfall of an industry-leading local messaging app, Yik Yak. We will examine the reasons why it failed, and what competitors can learn from its failure. We will see that the reasons for Yik Yak's failure can be found in its social media and user reviews. The talk will introduce a systematic technique to mine and represent the desires of an app's users, along with how these desires are helped or hurt by app features. This information is immediately useful for developers, enabling them to plan future changes to avoid angering users and maintain their competitiveness.


Grant Williams is a Ph.D. candidate at Louisiana State University. He is the recipient of the College of Engineering Clayton Fellowship. His research interests are crowdsourcing software requirements, requirements engineering, and data science in social media. He received his bachelor's degree in computer science and master's degree in mathematical sciences from McNeese State University. Grant is advised by Dr. Nash Mahmoud.