What Taylor Swift and Kanye West can tell us about mobile user experience

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011 at 11:26 pm

How often have you opened a link on your mobile and been prompted to download a mobile app?

ABC News

It first happened to me on the IMDb. I remember my reaction — “yeah, IMDb app, great idea — I’ll use that all the time!”. I downloaded it and then I never used it again.

But this post isn’t about how pointless website apps can be if you have a perfectly good mobile website (Responsive design, anyone?)

Actually, it’s about a Kanye West-style attitude towards user experience on mobile websites.

Remember the 2009 MTV awards when Kanye West grabbed the microphone off Taylor Swift?

Kanye West UX
(And of course there’s also a gold mine of memes to go along with this.)

Kanye West was universally lambasted for this. Not only was it a bit weird, it was just plain rude. Although, to be fair, it did move the word “i’mma” into widespread use — for better or worse.

Going back to mobile UX, of course there’s nothing wrong with telling your mobile users you have an app. But how that’s communicated is often the problem.

Let’s consider Taylor Swift our content and Kanye West the promotion for an app.

Comparison: app promotion versus content

Now consider some real world examples, starting with Amazon.co.uk — a good experience:

Amazon mobile screenshot

Amazon have made their app prominent, yet not obtrusive. In fact the Kindle promo is probably the only potentially obtrusive feature of this design.

But let’s look at a bad experience — from the usually brilliant Guardian website:

Guardian mobile app

The worst thing about this pop up is that it’s also sale’s pitch. I totally understand The Guardian trying to make money off their app, but surely there’s a better strategy for this? I don’t feel like I’m being sold anything useful here: I’m just being harassed.

But the worst thing about this? We’ve been here before.


So please be a bit less Kanye, and think more about Taylor: it’s what your users would want.

One Response to “What Taylor Swift and Kanye West can tell us about mobile user experience”

  1. [...] but rarely do I feel Apple envy: except for when I was try to take screenshots on my Android for a previous blog post. In fact, I resurrected my old iPod touch from the depths of my ‘gadget box’ — [...]

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