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iPhone App UX Review: Gowalla vs. foursquare
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iPhone App UX Review: Gowalla vs. foursquare


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A screen-by-screen comparison of the Gowalla and foursquare iPhone apps.

A screen-by-screen comparison of the Gowalla and foursquare iPhone apps.

Published in: Design

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  • 1. Gowalla vs. foursquare: iPhone App UX Review @suzanneginsburg 1
  • 2. Thanks for your interest! Please switch to full-screen view for optimal viewing. 2
  • 3. What are Gowalla & foursquare? Gowalla and foursquare are location-based social networking apps that let users do the following: • Discover where your friends are hanging out. • Add photos and comment on places you’ve visited. • Collect badges and other awards when visiting places. Gowalla also allows users to create and share “trips” which are essentially lists of places. Trips can be viewed via the app but they must be created on the Gowalla web site. 3
  • 4. UX Review Goals • Review design strategies & patterns emerging among location-based social networking apps. ✔ Used to indicate best practice • Suggest which of the above are working well & which could use improvement (Note color coding to ✖ Used to indicate right). area that can be improved • The goal is not to suggest that one app is better than the other. 4
  • 5. Brief app intros 5
  • 6. Gowalla • Created in late 2009 by Alamofire which is based in Austin, TX. • Version 2.01 is included in this review (March 12, 2010). • Ranked #38 in App Store Social Networking category as of March 29, 2010. 6
  • 7. foursquare • Created in early 2009. • Version 1.7.1 is included in this review (March 13, 2010). • Ranked #15 in App Store Social Networking category as of March 29, 2010. 7
  • 8. Screen-by-screen UX review 8
  • 9. Splash screens ✖ Both apps could provide more info for new users. 9
  • 10. Sign up screens ✖ Asks for a lot of info. Would be nice to know how it will be used. 10
  • 11. Activity/Friends: Shows places you & friends have visited. ✔ Users may add friends from this view. ✖ Must go to profile tab to add friends. 11
  • 12. Spots & Places: List of nearby places ✖ Leads to alternative ways ✔ Search is to find “Spots.” handy given Better if these that the list were integrated below may into this screen. get long. ✔ Current location ✖ Address helpful since would be connection helpful here. may go in and out. 12
  • 13. Spots & Places: Detailed place information ✖ Tasks hidden under control. ✖ Address ✔ Tasks are should be prominent & tied into map discoverable, which is though last icon hidden under is unclear. “Details” 13
  • 14. Check-in Screens ✔ Character ✔ Hint within limit is form is helpful. helpful. ✔ Big buttons on both apps ✖ Doesn’t won’t be seem missed by possible to users. link Twitter & FB accounts from within the app. 14
  • 15. Passport/Profile: Shows places visited & badges earned ✖ Can edit my photo by tapping on it ✖ Goes to but there’s no info screen affordance! but icon is typically used for grid menu navigation. ✔ Compact design allows them to show more content. 15
  • 16. Find Friends ✔ Good to disclose this privacy info. 16
  • 17. Support / Info Screens ✖ Neither app has rich support content. 17
  • 18. Error Messaging: Loss of Network Connection ✖ Text is neither helpful or friendly. ✔ Friendly tone and playful icon. 18
  • 19. Add Spots / Places ✔ Open keyboard means one less step for ✔ Map users. feedback and tip are valuable. 19
  • 20. Other Gowalla Screens 20
  • 21. Gowalla Trips: List of places to visit Trip list view Trip detail view ✖ I created this trip: should indicate that it’s mine. ✖ Love the trip concept but how do I choose? Ratings could be helpful. 21
  • 22. Other foursquare Screens 22
  • 23. foursquare: Tips & To Dos Tips tab To do tab ✔ Tab pointer ties in well with content ✖ When empty nice to explain how ✖ “Tips” tab is to add to do disconnected items. from “Places” but they are related. 23
  • 24. Recommendations 24
  • 25. Recommendations # 1 Provide product education within context Instead of showing a blank screen or “no results” the apps could use this space to explain feature benefits and usage. Additionally, new users could benefit from more information about the pins, badges, stamps, and other awards on both services. 25
  • 26. Recommendations # 2 When appropriate, strive for feature parity between web site & app There are a few web-only features which would be appropriate in the mobile context. For example, Gowalla allows users to bookmark and share spots online but not via the iPhone app. Similarly, foursquare users can only mark “to do” items on the web site but not on the iPhone. Tasks supported on Gowalla site 26
  • 27. Recommendations # 3 Keep users within context as much as possible Both apps have cases where the user has to hunt for features or pogo back and forth. As much as possible, try to keep relevant tasks within context. For example, foursquare should place the “Add friends” feature within the Friends list or at least link to it. Right now it’s hidden under the user’s profile. foursquare profile screen 27
  • 28. Additional thoughts Not long ago, Yelp introduced check-ins. The feature is buried on the detail view but it could make an impact given that Yelp already has a large community and extensive reviews. Another potential problem is check-in fatigue--Gowalla, foursquare, Yelp & who else? Recently, a product called has attempted to address this issue, but it’s still unclear if users want a separate app when they already have Twitter, FB & more. Yelp detail view 28
  • 29. Thanks for viewing! • That’s all for now! • There are many other notable design details but I’d like to keep these reviews relatively short. • Suggestions for future reviews are welcome. Please send email to 29
  • 30. Buy my book on Amazon: Designing the iPhone User Experience @suzanneginsburg