Monday, August 8, 2011

Mobile Monday - For APPS - Design Design Design!

I really hate blogging out of frustration.

I recently had my Droid2 die of electrical failure. While it was only 11 months old Verizon is fighting the warranty, which is really a Motorola issue. Previously I had brought it in to Verizon because it was buggy and they had me reboot. That kind of worked. And I was amazed all my APPs reloaded on their own. WTG Verizon.

The real issue with the Droid2 is Apps run without your permission and you can not turn them off. Sucks battery power and memory. Well I learned that for a new phone your APPs do not all auto download. Good news is you can purge the dead unused APPs and start fresh. I love News APPs. I use BBC and Huffington Post all the time. They are solid APPs.

So I found two new ones I wish to use as examples of what not to do. The LA Times APP and the Guardian UK APP.

The LA Times:

Really nice APP. In general it formats to the screen nicely and even has a setting to increase the font size. But it fails in the most important of all the functions for a News APP. The sharing feature. I say this because the APP is Free. I can read all the LA Times for free. Yes they have an AdMob banner ad and right now I see it is for Chase but that is not the same as Print. Not the same for the Web Version (though on the Web Firefox users can block all Ads). The trick with News APPs is sharing. If I share the article and it pops up a link anyone who clicks get's taken to the LA Times Website. This gives them a chance as display revenue and possibly convert new readers to come back.

Here is the failure: 

First it does not include the LA Times Twitter Handle in the Tweet automatically. This is a big fail and they are missing an easy way to earn new followers. Secondly is if I want to type anything added to the tweet when I open my keyboard it does not rotate to match horizontal. Seriously, it stays fixed so you are typing on one plane and the box is vertical. Lastly there is no send button. I have to do it from the keyboard. All that money spent and they have a huge fail in my view.

Next is the Guardian UK:

Their APP geez where do I start. First off it requires downloading. Why? I have no idea. No other news APP requires me to download the issue. The are all cloud based. This is very bizarre and shame on the 3rd Party Designer or Agency. But now it get's even more bizarre. It loads articles for the Web not Mobile. So when fit to the screen the font is so small you can not read it! Yes a News APP that you can't read! So what is their solution? You get to open it in the Browser which then it is formatted perfectly. Which brings me to my next question. Why not have the articles automatically open in the browser then? And why do you not have a settings option for this?

On a positive note the Guardian does have an excellent Share Feature which it uses the Droid Software for. But if I can't read an article how do I know I should share it?

So basically two very good news companies are hamstringing themselves with their mobile APP. If an APP is hard to use or frustrating you will not use it.

What APPs are you frustrated with or have major design flaws?


  1. Great post! It's amazing with the resources both of the apps you mention have, they didn't go the extra mile when creating them. the rotating issue on the times app is incredible. Although part of the problem i feel is the liberal standards the android marketplace has on it's apps. For the Apple app store, this would never fly. I have personally had a App rejected because it didn't rotate with the device. I wanted it locked vertically, but apple said nope, has to rotate. Apple can be very frustrating in many ways, but i have to give them props for trying to have a standard.

    The guardian's app is just lazy on their part. Looks like they just threw something out there just to say they have an app. Major fail.

  2. Dave thank you for coming and commenting. I am in mobile marketing for strategy/marketing vs the doing the Apps or Content.

    I like a news APP that if I lay down sideways it stays vertical. But when that keyboard slides out it has to rotate.

    I wonder if this comes to poor design or penny pinching. Again why pinch when you have these resources.

  3. I want a phone with real apps; I have a company crackberry and just found out today I could actually download app for QR codes..........duh....

    I blog out of frustration; why isn't anybody paying me for this stuff. Maybe if I put a PayPal thing on my site and ask for donations.

    I'm sorry I don't have anything intelligent to add to this. I truly do have a company crackberry so I don't have a lot of bells & whistles.

    That is all.....

  4. My guess is the developer who coded it didn't have a phone that the keyboard slid out on so it never occurred to him.