Application developers like to think their app is the only one

Sometimes I wonder what app devs and UX designers think about when they decide to do the following:

  • Interrupting the user to review their app or fill out a survey at the worst possible moment when the user needs to quickly use their app,
  • Changing the UI sufficiently to confuse the user for inexplicable reasons, which can only be explained by the company hiring an overpriced team of UX designers who think they are reinventing a bicycle,
  • Changing the name and icon of their app making it confusing and difficult to find when one needs it most, or worse yet, deprecating an app and making users install a new one,
  • Demanding the user log on after months of not asking them to enter their username and password, all the while insisting on using 2-factor authentication,

Let’s address each point.

Asking users for feedback

I accept the fact that rock-and-roll would not be what it is today without feedback. Software, however, is not rock-and-roll.

Unlike rock-and-roll, the software has a practical purpose. No one has an entry on the bucket list to use a paystub viewing app at least 4 times a month or pay for parking using one of a dozen different apps at least once a year.

I really wish UX designers and application developers would put a sticker on their accountability mirror that reminded them of just how unimportant their app is. Despite their best intentions, their app will not solve peace in the Middle East or cure heart disease (I submit that some health-related apps just might).

The mere fact that the app is being used should be sufficient enough feedback for most developers. If no one gives negative reviews or complains to customer service, that’s just icing on the cake. Developers should be happy their app is being used at all. If it is a paid app, the payment itself is its own reward.

So, cut the crap, stop asking me for feedback. Next time you interrupt me to request feedback, I will purposely go to the App Store and tell you just how much I hate giving feedback for your insignificant, unimportant app that I use once a year.

Changing the UI

Please, for the love of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, would application developers please just use built-in widgets from the UI kit the platform provides?

But, Oleg, you might say, how am I going to apply branding and unique look and feel to my app? My answer is “Don’t!” When you create your own UI metaphors, you make your app inconsistent with all other apps the person might be using.

Renaming the app and changing the icon

Again, I feel like app makers need a reminder that their little app is not the only one people use. Renaming the app, changing the icon, and otherwise making it difficult for the user to find it next time they need it is a sure way to lose users.

Expiring user sessions

When modern phones use biometric scans to authenticate the user and encrypt the contents of their memory, what security problem are you solving when you lock the user out of their session after a period of inactivity?

Final thought

My pet UX peeves described above all seem to fall under the same category: each app thinks it is the only app running on my phone, and it is the only app I am using. It boils down to the developers’ respect for my time.