Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Web Secret 596: Apps that suck

Way back in 2008 I wrote a blog post about an epic website: Web pages that suck.

Many of the websites I wrote about over 10 years ago or either obsolete or have ceased to exist. Not so "Web pages that suck" which though it ceased updating after Worst Websites of 2014, is still accessible, and as useful today as it was then.

In fact, I recently realized that their wonderful check list is as applicable to apps as it is to websites:

If you check YES to any of these questions, your app sucks:

1. It takes longer than four seconds for the man from Mars to understand what our site is about.

2. Our site doesn't provide clear instructions on how to perform tasks - gaming apps are the worst. Sample offender: Churchill Solitaire . Supposedly created by the great man himself, this is a complex game that is very difficult to win and takes a long time to play. How do you find out how to play it? You don't. I still don't know what campaign mode is or the difference between easy, medium and hard trial deals. I actually don't even know what a trial deal is. I have learned the game through trial and error and am pretty convinced there are aspects of it that I don't know.

3. Navigation isn't initially obvious. Sample offender: My Altitude, A relic of having partly grown up in Switzerland, is I like to know my altitude at all times - well often. The landing page on this app is chock full of useless info and the navigation symbols are obscure.

4. Our apps's content is not written for the app, but for print media (or other media) and we just transferred it to the app. If your app does exactly what your website does, you don't need an app. Sample offender: pretty much any retail store. I much prefer to order from Amazon's website - even when I'm on a mobile device. I know Amazon's website and can easily find what I'm looking for. Why would I struggle with an app?

5.Our app requires you to login before we even show you what it's about. OK, I made that list item and the next one up, but I can't even show you a sample offender, because if you ask me to do that, I delete your ass in a nano second.

6. We update our app all the time without explaining the difference from one version to the next. You know who you are. I get upgrade fatigue real quick these days and unless you are extremely valuable to me, I will delete you.

So before creating an app, look at the check list - substitue "app" for "web page" or "website" and the principles are mostly the same.

Don't suck.

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