Our first two blog posts touched upon the idea of an app experience versus a responsive mobile design experience and after reading my responses to each prompt, I realized that in one instance, I preferred the app experience over the responsive design, and in the other instance, I preferred the responsive mobile design. I wondered why this was and began looking into both and comparing my reasons for preferring one over the other.
Regarding paying my credit cards, I prefer the app to the mobile website because of how everything is laid out/displayed on the app. I find the apps much easier to use and to navigate in order to manage and pay my credit cards versus managing and paying them via the actual websites or through the mobile sites. On the apps, I can see what my pending transactions are, view my recent or previous statements, see what my minimum payments are, when they are due, see any alerts and warnings about upcoming payment due dates, as well as view offers for cashback promotions, pretty much all on the same screen. All of this can be done and seen on the website versions as well, but you need to click around and find them, rather than them being all in one place. Before I started using the apps, I frequently missed out on the cashback promotions and cut it much closer to making my payments by the due dates because I didn’t have any alerts set up on my laptop.
Regarding my second experience, shopping on Amazon, I prefer the mobile site to the app because each aspect of the site is separated into a different app (one for shopping, one for Prime, one for Kindle etc.), making it a very disjointed endeavor. In addition, there is the surprising fact that you can’t purchase from the apps and have to navigate to the mobile site to do so. On the other hand, the mobile site has everything in one place and I can find all of the aspects of the actual site on the mobile site, without so much additional clicking/searching. I prefer having everything in one place and not having to move back and forth between each app then having to go to the mobile site anyway at the end of my browsing if I want to make a purchase. Daniel Rowles, in his book, Mobile Marketing: How Mobile Technology is Revolutionizing Marketing, Communications and Advertising, writes how “the key point of a mobile-optimized site is to offer an experience that best suits the consumers’ needs and circumstances” and writes that a consumer “should be able to access the information or utility that your site offers, on the device they are using, in an easy and efficient way” (Rowles, 2017). In my opinion, Amazon achieves this goal with their mobile site, which is why I so often use it.
Analyzing both of my experiences proved interesting to me because in the one instance, the company provided me with a smoother, easier, and more seamless user experience with the app, while the other company provided me with a smoother, easier, and more seamless user experience with the responsive mobile design. Through the comparisons, I realized being able to access everything in one place and ease of use (having a seamless user experience/transaction across whatever platform I am using) is extremely important to me.
This reminded me of last semester, when we read Krug’s book, Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web and Mobile Usability, where he explains that his first law of usability is “Don’t make me think” (Krug, 2014). This is an important aspect of any site/app because if a user can’t understand what the app or site is about, or has difficulty navigating it or finding what they are looking for, they are less likely to click around to try and figure it out; instead, they will leave and visit another one that is easily understood, which is what I did in both of the above cases (by switching to a different platform).
Krug also writes how every question mark that appears above a user’s head adds up and how users don’t like to “puzzle” over things; that question marks accumulate in a user’s mind, which can lead to individuals not wanting to interact with the organization/brand/platform (Krug, 2014). Again, in my case, this proved to be true because I switched to the app to deal with my credit cards when I found it difficult to use the sites and I switched to the mobile site when I found it difficult to use the Amazon apps.
In the article, “Responsive Website vs. Mobile App: Comparison” it describes how “A mobile app is notably good when a person needs to complete some goal” and that a “well-designed app must give your client all opportunities to perform it just in few taps or scrolls” which is where I think Amazon misses the mark and where my apps for credit cards, (Discover, Citi, and Chase) hit it (“Responsive Website vs. Mobile,” 2019). Part of Amazon’s issue is that there are difficulties with Apple, which is why one can’t purchase from the apps, but since for me, in most cases, that is the goal, I am unable to perform it or complete it, which doesn’t make downloading the apps worth it. But with my credit cards, the ultimate goal is to be able to pay them and see offers, and “with a few taps” I am able to complete this goal, making the downloading and use of them worth it.
Do you prefer an app over a responsive mobile experience? Why? Does one achieve your end goal, while the other does not? Do you have companies that have both that achieve the end goals efficiently and effectively? If so, what makes you prefer one over the other?
Krug, S. (2014). Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web and Mobile Usability (3rd ed.). Berkeley, CA: New Riders.
Responsive Website vs Mobile App: Comparison. (2019). Retrieved from https://thinkmobiles.com/blog/responsive-website-vs-mobile-app/
Rowles, D. (2017). Mobile marketing: how mobile technology is revolutionizing marketing, communications and advertising (2nd ed.). Kogan Page Limited.