UX | Mobile Apps
  July, 2014

How not to design your app: Mobile UX design

Hari Nallan

I'm conducting an audit of Glasgow CWG app to write a tutorial on "How not to Design your App". The intention is not to criticise a particular agency or designer, but to point out how people go absolutely wrong while designing even something as prestigious and important as this. So, here you go...


That's how the landing page looks like. Windows like tiles on an IOS app? Well, for a moment, lets forgive that.

The way things are organised and labeled, think for a moment and say... does it compel anyone to click on that "shop" button, or that "share" or for that matter, that "the buzz button"... things are wrong from the very beginning.

There is a clear lack of information structure and architecture. This landing page is designed to be the one page that leads to several pages in architecture and it doesn't provide enough compelling reasons to click many of those buttons (or tiles) and go in... for example, under "What's on today", couldn't they have shown couple of highlights that would compel me to go in?

This page is meant to show the schedule. They've used grey to show events that occurred (rather, dates), green shows the current day and blues are the ones that show what follows. I'm sure there are many better ways of showing that ... timeline, for one.

The "All sports" label on top is supposed to be a drop down and I thought it will let me filter and see what sports I would like to see...

You see this after you click on that "all sports" bar. You are expected to click the rows that are grossly inadequate in size to be clicked (affordances, dear). And breaking them into so many several individual sports take my interest away and I'd rather let it be. At this level, search to filter would have helped, but that's just a small thing that could have saved it...

The icons on left are not helping at all and titles in all capitals and centre aligned make matters worse.

So I give up filtering and clicked on a date and this is what I see.

Can you guess that Sport, Festival, Type and Time are clickable filters (or sorters)? It takes time to figure that out and its absolutely useless.

Once you are here in this page, you'll see many more blunders.

Did you ever see back button to the right of home button in any app? ever? This one's definitely very unique!

You could horizontally navigate dates (Monday, 28 July) and that further throws few more arrows at you to decide.

When you hit search button, you'll see a entirely new (blank) page with a search bar and mind you, that bar doesn't have cursor already and doesn't launch keypad already. You'll have to click inside search bar again to launch keypad.

This is a descriptive view of the events (and shows when you click on time sorter). You could favourite each event. Once you favourite it, it gets added in "My games". I would have liked had it shown the number of games I favorited in "My games" tile on home page. Atleast some indicator that I have some inside to help me click.

Each row shows a sport (title), number of events, venue and timings. There is no link to map either here or after you clicked that and went inside. The venue however is shown as a hyperlink in the detail page and clicking that launches another page that asks you to accept terms and conditions first.

I gave up here.

Now, coming to the worst of all: the content pages.

I understand that some branding agency worked hard to develop guidelines, but guys, user experience has to be dealt with, carefully.

First of all, they've used geometric fonts everywhere (Futura, I guess) and geometric fonts aren't quite right for readability. It may look good on Television and Print, but screen readability is a different ball game altogether. Secondly, whoever decided to full justify the text, hats off to you! Just because you want all paragraphs to appear like bounding rectangles, don't force fit content. You'll see text with varying spacings to force justify and that makes reading experience horrible.

They could have used hierarchy and spacings more judiciously and fit more content in same space. For example, "Commonwealth Games 2014" in one line, "Review-Day 2: 26 July 2014" in another. As a user, I wouldn't care much for "07:59" out there.

If you are a User Experience Designer, you must install this app and experience it to understand "How not to Design an App". I'll assure you, you are going to learn lots more through your own experiences; and do share yours.
Hari Nallan

Hari Nallan

Founder and CEO of Think Design, a User Experience strategist, Designer, Speaker and Educator. Think Design is a Leading Design consultancy with offices in Denver, New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru; and collaborates with visionary organisations to identify, build and materialise innovative products and services.


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