Relify Usability Report


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Laser focus on creating relevant user experiences isn't as prevalant as it should be in today's mobile apps. Why not? I conducted an informal usability analysis on six popular apps. In this report, I highlight my findings (good and bad), and give my own suggestions for improvement.

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Relify Usability Report

  1. 1. Copyright 2013 Relify relify.comUSABILITY & RELEVANCE ANALYSISOF 6 POPULAR MOBILE APPS
  2. 2. Copyright 2013 Relify 1relify.comQuestions we askedIs the user experience personalized to me? Is it automaticbased on my e-mail/loyalty #, or am I manually entering info?Can I let the app know when I like something?Is it hard to find what I’m looking for? Do I have to search forcontent or click repeatedly to get to my destination?Is there a clear path of action for me to take? If so, is itpersonalized to me?Am I offered recommendations based on an initial search orpast history?INTRODUCTIONWhy usability and relevance?In today’s world, people expect relevance from the best web andmobile apps. And good usability and relevance make up the bestuser experience for your users. Personalization fuels incredibleuser experiences by guiding discovery, connecting people, andeliminating the paradox of choice. These intimate experienceskeep users coming back time after time to engage with yourbrand.Our analysisOur goal was to assess some of today’s most popular brands tosee if they were truly focused on relevance and personalizationin their mobile apps. Are they creating consistent, convenientvalue for their users or missing the mark completely? Here’show we broke down each mobile app:What are they doing well? (the good)What are they doing poorly? (the bad)What can they do better?Bottom line takeaways
  3. 3. Copyright 2013 Relify 2FAQsWho conducted the analysis?The analysis of each app was performed by Relify; no 3rd partieswere involved. We used an iPhone 4S to download and analyzeeach mobile app in March 2013.How did you choose the areas of focus?The five areas we selected represent important aspects ofoptimal usability within mobile apps.How did you determine the findings?With each mobile app, we analyzed the five areas of focus andranked them by three simple standards: good, so-so and notgood. We used the good and bad sections to outline areas ofexcellence and improvement based on what currently lives inthe app. In addition, we outlined specific app suggestions, whicheither directly relate to areas we analyzed, or are completely newfeature sets or recommendations for improvement.AREAS OF FOCUS1. Personalization(Is the UX personalized to me?)2. Preferences(Can I tell the app what I like or dislike?)3. Content search(Is it hard to find what I’m looking for?)4. Path of action(Does the path of action make sense for me?)5. Recommendations(Are recommendations offered?)
  4. 4. Copyright 2013 Relify 3WHY MOBILE?With over 50% of Americans using smartphones, mobile usabilityis an important aspect of digital strategy, and in some cases, themost important. For this analysis, we wanted to focus on onedigital channel, thus we didn’t review any social, web or tabletinterfaces.APP CATEGORIESWe analyzed apps in three categories:1. Travel2. Food/recipe3. RetailWhy did we choose these categories?The categories themselves are things people interact with everyday, therefore the apps in these categories should be among thebest in terms of ease of use and personalization.FINDINGS
  5. 5. Copyright 2013 Relify 4TRAVEL: SOUTHWEST( in the app store)Flight reservations and management, version 1.12.0I’ve entered my Rapid Rewards #,but the homescreen isn’tcustomized to me.It would be nice to see somethinglike: “Welcome, John! You don’thave any upcoming flights.Book now.”My DING! alerts aren’trecommending relevant flights,and I can’t let you know whichoffers I like or want to see more of.What can I get with my currentpoints? How many pointsdo I need for flights?What is A-List status andwhy do I want it?I clicked on past trips, but none ofmy trips are there.Why aren’t my frequent trips basedon my flight history? Right now, Ihave to re-enter manually.My e-mail alerts are buriedunder the “More” section.I’m not clear what I’m signingup for; and I’d like this section toauto-fill based on my login.
  6. 6. Copyright 2013 Relify 5SuggestionsCreate my personal experience from the initial homescreen(based on e-mail and/or Rapid Rewards #).Send me a push notification to remind me to check-in.Add paperless ticketing/sync with Passbook.Add “?” icons to explain clearly what I can do with the app/Rapid Rewards program; link to site FAQs.Sync “Check-in” and “Flight status” sections with myupcoming trips; eliminate need to re-enter flight info.Rapid Rewards offers synced with DING! alerts; prefilled fieldsbased on e-mail.Customize DING! alerts based on flights I take frequently andpreferences I indicate.Send flight recommendations based on points I have accruedie. Redeem your 10,544 points for a one-way to Chicago – flythru June! Book now.Allow me to rank recommendations (thumbs up/down) toincrease relevancy of what’s sent to me.TRAVEL: SOUTHWESTThe GoodFlight search is intuitive, easy to navigate.The BadOverall experience is not personalized to me or the flights Ihave taken.After my Rapid Rewards # is entered, the app doesn’trecognize my flight information.DING! alerts only pull from my home airports and aren’trecommending specific fares.I have to re-enter flight info or Rapid Rewards info toedit/cancel flight or check-in; no automation.No clear path of action; segregated feel between sections.Bottom LineSouthwest needs to focus on small usability features to increase understanding and ease of use. In addition, by integrating more relevantDING! alerts and specific recommended flights, I’ll be more likely to purchase and keep coming back.
  7. 7. Copyright 2013 Relify 6TRAVEL: GATEGURU( in the app store)Travel management (flight status & airport info), version 3.4Only nearby airports display onthe airport list; not my destinationor frequently flown airports.I’m flying into Chicago and wantto know what’s available at theairport. Give me personalizedrecommendations for what Imight like to do while I’m thereduring my layover.The map is great, but how do Iknow where I am, and where I amflying out of next after my layover?Also, point out recommendedplaces on the map.I like that I can e-mail itinerariesto and itautomatically loads under myjourneys; very user friendly.
  8. 8. Copyright 2013 Relify 7SuggestionsPull airport info based on my flights (departure anddestination); sync journeys and airports.Let me set preferences for what I want to be notified for(before, during, and after travel).Ask me to sign in with Facebook/Twitter (instead of burying itunder “Account”) so that the app can learn more about mylikes. ie. If I liked the Lacoste store on Facebook, let me knowwhere the Lacoste store is in the Atlanta airport when I’mthere.When I land at an airport, send me a personalized welcomemessage like: Welcome to Atlanta Hartsfield Airport! You havea 2 hour layover and will be flying out of Gate B5 at 5:45pm.Then allow me to select what I want to do next: “See terminalmap” “Find food” “Charge Up” “Shop” “Bathrooms”.When I land at an airport, based on what I want to do(eat, shop, map), offer me recommendations based ongeolocation, ie:- Eateries near my terminal- Shops I like on Facebook- Services I tweet aboutTRAVEL: GATEGURUThe GoodInitial walk through of app shows the value and what toexpect/how to use the app.The reviews and tips of eateries and shops are helpful.User engagement is a focus (eateries/shops/services reviews,airport tips, airport check-in).The BadMy journeys don’t sync with my airports; I have to manuallytype in my destination airport(s).When I add an airport, there’s no option to save it in my listtherefore I’m adding airports each time I open the app.I see car rental deals for nearby airports; I live here, whywould I need a rental car?I see a whole section on my account asking me to login. Whatare the benefits of me logging in?The airlines notify me of flight changes faster than GateGuru,making GateGuru’s functionality less valuable.Bottom LineGateGuru has a lot of opportunity to personalize airport travel by using features like geolocation, social sign-in and personalized recommendations.
  9. 9. Copyright 2013 Relify 8FOOD/RECIPE: COUPONS.COM( in the app store)Coupons and savings, version 1.3.1I love to save money, but I don’thave a baby, so why is the “babyand toddler” category the first thingI see on my homescreen?Allow me to dislike or hide so youlearn more about me and can showme relevant coupons.Clipped my coupons, YES! Butwait, I have to print them? 1- I liketo save trees and 2- printingcoupons is inefficient andinconvenient for me. I’m on the goand need coupons ready to redeemon my mobile phone while I’m inthe store.I like that I can add offers to myPassbook, but I want the app toknow what’s relevant to me andonly show me those offers.I want to make sure my savingscards are synced with my coupons,but I don’t see any of the stores Ishop at on the list.If my store isn’t listed, I want tonotify you that I would like to see itadded. Otherwise, I’ll likely never“check back after the next update”.
  10. 10. Copyright 2013 Relify 9SuggestionsAllow me to scan one mobile barcode that gives me all clippedcoupon discounts at register; no printing!Allow me to add any savings card to the app by scanning mysavings card barcode.Prompt me to login with an e-mail upon first use so that youcan learn about me.Show me only relevant coupon categories based on mypreferences (either inferred or indicated).Show me recent coupons based on my clipping history(what products relate that I’m likely to clip?).Serve me recommended offers based on my likes/dislikes andpreferences.When browsing, allow me to click a link “More like this” to letyou know if I like something.Ask me to “hide” coupons and offers that aren’t relevant to me.Send me weekly alerts when items I have clipped go on sale(can use certain threshold for alert).FOOD/RECIPE: COUPONS.COMThe GoodOffers are easily integrated with Passbook; easy to use.Calculation of total coupon savings value is powerful.Sorting of coupons helps me view relevant categories(although I still want to hide categories that aren’t relevantto me).The BadI have to print my coupons in order to redeem. Even worse,I have to connect a certain type of printer (HP) if I want to printstraight from the app.I want to store coupons on my savings cards, but I don’t seeany of my stores listed.Why are you telling me to fan you on Facebook or follow youon Twitter under “offers”? Where are my offers? This sectiondoesn’t make sense to me.The types of coupons that I want to see aren’t highlighted.Bottom has great content and good usability features (with the exception of the printing coupons), but doesn’t take advantage of usagedata, which can be used to personalize coupon listings and increase user savings.
  11. 11. Copyright 2013 Relify 10FOOD/RECIPE: BIG OVEN( in the app store)Recipes, grocery lists and menu planning, version 4.11I searched for chicken dishes thatincluded avocado and bacon.The first one that appeared on thelist is a spicy dish, but I can’t eatspicy foods.Allow me to dislike or filter on thisscreen. ie. Thumbs down to spicydishes but thumbs up to WeightWatchers dishesCompared to other grocery listapps, this list is user friendly, andeasy to use in-store.Under “My Kitchen” I love mypersonalized items, but I’d also liketo see recommended recipes that Idon’t need to search for.I’ve saved a few recipes to try; I’dlike to see “goes well with” recipesthat work well with my favorites or“try soon” list. ie. If I want to try amango salsa recipe, recommenda Mexican dish that goes well withthe mango salsa.
  12. 12. Copyright 2013 Relify 11SuggestionsDuring account creation, prompt me to fill out informationabout my cooking habits and lifestyle to make personalizationeasier.Allow me to include flavors or ingredients I like (shrimp,cream-based, etc) when searching for recipes, which wouldincrease relevancy.Deliver recommendations based on nutritional info I set ie.Send me low-fat recipes with chicken or recipes under400 calories.Under “Recipes to try soon”, include recommended dishesbased on my current saved recipes (either stand alone or“goes well with”).Allow me to add people to my account for collaborativeshopping and grocery list sharing/editing.Add filter options when a long list of recipes displays ie. Sort byname, calories, ratings, etc.FOOD/RECIPE: BIG OVENThe GoodThe calls to action and navigation on the homescreen arerelevant to me, ie. “My Kitchen”.The recipes in the background highlight mouthwateringdishes, enticing me to click “Make this tonight”.Adjusting serving size allows me to customize my ingredientslist and menu planning.Allowing me to uncheck items I already have as I add them tomy grocery list from a recipe is helpful .Use up leftovers is a valuable and practical feature.The BadI searched recipes for chicken as a main dish, includingavocado and bacon. My first result was a spicy dish, which Iwould never make because I can’t eat spicy foods.The process to fill out my profile info was clunky and slowto load.Bottom LineBig Oven does a great job with small usability features that add up to a winning consumer experience. With additional personalization efforts,this app could be a game changer in the recipe and grocery industry.
  13. 13. Copyright 2013 Relify 12RETAIL: JC PENNEY( stars in the app store)Lifestyle/Shopping, version 2.3There’s no clear path of action forme to take from the homescreenother than to shop a collection Iknow nothing about.I logged in a few days later andhave a different homescreen. ButI’m not a junior and don’t want toshop junior clothes.I’m looking to shop via the appbecause it’s convenient, but I onlywant to see relevant categoriesfor what I like to buy.(ie. Not kids or men)I searched for “black dress” andgot back over 1700 items thatweren’t relevant to my search (’s trousers). I also would likethis massive list to automaticallyfilter for me and only displaydresses relevant to The ones in stock in my sizeor brands I like.
  14. 14. Copyright 2013 Relify 13SuggestionsUse the homescreen to highlight 1-2 products from categoriesI frequently shop; create personalized paths of action.Allow me to sign in with Facebook to show me brands I maylike, or let me indicate my favorite brands.Narrow search results with items that pertain to my purchasehistory; ie. Show me items from brands I have bought before,or are in stock, in my size.Organize my shopping categories by what I like and buy, and letme see what my friends buy.Let me know what reward points I get for shopping and what Ican use them for.RETAIL: JC PENNEYThe GoodNumerous customer service options I can access throughthe app.Easy to browse products, manual sort and filter based on mysearch.Customer reviews on products are helpfulThe BadApp crashed multiple times when trying to use it and searchload time is too long.Wasted real estate on the homescreen; path of action isn’tcustomized to me,Search results don’t pertain to my search (ie. A search for“black dress” resulted in 1785 items, the first two being men’strousers).What’s new’ section doesn’t apply to what I buy; I’m not surewhat these brands are.It takes too many clicks to buy something.I can’t figure out how to leave a review.Bottom LineThe usability of buying JCP products is difficult and not personalized to me, or my searches. The messages and paths of action need to takeinto account my purchase and user history to make this app worthwhile.
  15. 15. Copyright 2013 Relify 14RETAIL: GIANT EAGLE( in the app store)Grocery and circulars, version 2.0.4I’d like to view weekly deals basedon what I like and buy; organizethis list by relevance for me.My eOffers aren’t relevant to mypurchase history. And once I clipan item, how do I redeem it?I can’t add ingredients from arecipe to my shopping list. Thisdefeats the purpose of includingrecipes I could make in the app.Why is my shopping history blank,and what can my historyhelp me with?
  16. 16. Copyright 2013 Relify 15SuggestionsCalculate total of my shopping list based on my saved store(s).Calculate total of my savings with eOffers; allow me to redeemwith my advantage card.Allow me to sign in with Facebook so that you can sync weeklydeals to my likes or preferences.Allow me to scan my advantage card upon account creation,instead of manually entering.Tell me errors I need to fix when filling out account oradvantage card information.Improve shopping list (allow recipe ingredient adding, delete,edit, add options).Merge the Giant Eagle app with the Get-Go (Giant Eagle’s gas stationand convenience store) app to offer one consistent user experience.On the homescreen, offer me recommended products based onmy purchase history.Organize my weekly sale items by relevance based on mypurchase history.- Allow me to rank recommendations (thumbs up/down or“more like this”) to increase relevance of what I see.Recommend recipes to me based on my shopping list items;allow me to add items from recipes to my list.RETAIL: GIANT EAGLEThe Good“My Perks” section lets me know exactly how many perks Ihave to apply to my next visit.Intro screen gives me pointers to get started.I can create multiple shopping lists which is practical.The BadThere are too many navigation options and sections in the app;there’s not a natural user flow.App crashed when trying to use it.Weekly sale items aren’t personalized to what I buy, stillshowing generic items.When I add an item to a shopping list, it doesn’t tell me that itwas “Added”.My verification failed when trying to add my advantage card tomy account, but I have no idea why.If I’m on the homescreen and click into the weekly sale,there’s no way to go back; I have to return to the menu.Bottom LineThe overall navigation and user flow is confusing and inconsistent. A reworked user flow and personalized weekly deals can be powerfulbecause this app then becomes my shopping companion that knows me and helps me get my shopping done faster, while discovering newthings, and saving money.
  17. 17. Copyright 2013 Relify 16ABOUT RELIFYWho we areRelify is a recommendations as a service provider. We make it easy tointegrate personalized recommendations into any web or mobile app.How we can helpIncreased conversionsIncreased page views/time spent in app or on pageIncreased salesImproved user experienceCloser personal relationshipsIncreased level of customer happinessWhy RelifyWe eliminate the need to build a custom recommendation engineAny data source can plug into our API to deliver recommendationsWe use data to personalize your customer’s experience automaticallyWe’re flexible and easy to work withWant Recommendations?Anyone can start using the Relify API instantly.We also offer custom solutions that fit your needs.Developers: Get started with a single click: managers/marketers: Contact us todiscuss your needs and how we can
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