Posted January 22, 2017on:
Last year I outlined how the poorly designed McCafe app could be used to learn design principles. Missteps and mistakes are often the best sources of learning.
My StarHub is an app that I use to check my data consumption and it is a wellspring of lessons on how NOT to design a mobile app.
The app claims to let users customise what they see. Currently, there are four fixed cards and six selectable ones. The latter are selected by default.
One cannot actually customise as 1) there are fixed selections (including ads), and 2) if deselected, the optional cards return after restarting the app.
The people behind the StarHub app might have forgotten (or do not care) that the customer likes to customise. Perhaps they need to adopt a new custom and repeat it as a mantra.
The app also breaks the old web page three-click rule. This is the rule that states that a user should be able to find what they need within three mouse clicks. In the mobile app universe, this should be a one or two tap rule given the nature of the platform.
Once I open the app, I need to make six taps to know how much data I have consumed in detail. I need to tap on:
- My Account.
- Mobile usage.
- The filter option (I manage and pay for my family’s numbers and mine does not appear by default and I have no option to choose my mobile number as default.)
- My number in the filter.
- The done button.
- Data usage to view current usage.
The app offers a minimalist graphic on main page that looks nice, but 1) it does not always appear, 2) when it does, it sometimes happens after a delay, 3) it is not detailed enough for my needs.
All this puts form over function and the needs of the designers over that of the user. This makes for a terrible app experience and I am reminded of it every time I use it.
Designers of user interfaces should be familiar with the concept of user-centric design. I wish more were passionate about the practice of the same. This is particularly important for designers of educational apps, especially those that provide access to content and learning management systems. No one wants angry, frustrated, or anxious users even before the learning begins.