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Best Practices : Article

One of my favorite travel apps is TripIt. It does a great job organizing my travel world. According to TripIt, with the flight I’m currently sitting on, I have 241,745 miles flown since January 1, 2013. By comparison, the moon is 238,900 miles away. So I made it there.

And that gives me a lot of experience with various travel apps.

In fact, it’s made me an unofficial usability expert.

And here’s my conclusion. Many app designers are thinking about what users want to do on their app. But not thinking about when they will do it.

Case in point—Uber vs. US Airways.

Uber’s app design works well with a single thumb. That’s pretty important when I’m standing by the side of a road trying to get a car.

By contrast, the US Air app is a bit of a nightmare. It has requirements to re-enter info every time, strange processes for downloading your boarding pass, and any number of other usability shortcomings. All this is aggravating sitting at your desk, but I’m often trying to access the US Airways app as I bounce around in the back seat of the Uber I just called.

So what’s the lesson here? If you’re producing any apps for your organization (and if not, why not?), pay extra attention to usability. Don’t just think about what users will do on the app, think about where they will be when they use it. Is your meeting app designed to be used when networking? If so, try to use it with a drink in your hand. Heck, that kind of testing could benefit users and developers alike!

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