Splash Screens

Its not Branding, Its Annoying


Post intended for Mobile App Designers & Developers, UI & UX Strategists, App Owners and Splash screen lovers. The post shows how I usually explain my clients to avoid annoying splash screens.

Its been almost a year, I started out as an android developer after my graduation. Since working as Freelance Android Designer and Developer apart from my full-time job, I usually face this critical situation. All my clients when briefing their requirements usually start with this requirement.

—“Show a screen with our logo/icon for five seconds while opening app”

—“Oh! A Splash Screen.. But, why?”

—“It will make the app look professional..”

I don’t understand what they mean by ‘professional’. But that’s not the end of it. I try my best to explain them that Splash Screens are evil. But they usually end the conversations with following one.

— “You probably wont understand our marketing strategies”

Now before addressing the issue here, lets start with basics.

What is Splash Screen?

A splash screen is just an empty screen which usually shows branding information about the application (logo of the company, icon of the application, etc.) for few seconds during start-up.

Splash Screen From Umano App Source: Android App Patterns

Why Splash Screens?

Splash screens are generally shown when some background tasks are being executed by the app. Instead of just showing a blank page or loader, we use splash screens. Generally Gaming Apps uses splash screens a lot to load the graphic resources into memory.

Splash Screen from Popular “Subway Surfers” game

Most of the cases, splash screens are used for no reason at all. Except clients have their own reason. They call the reason as “Branding”.

“You probably wont understand our marketing strategies”

“He is just a young kid. He wont understand our marketing strategies. Just ask him to put the splash screen”

I’m sorry. May be I’m young but i’m not a kid, atleast not anymore. All your marketing strategies boils down to one thing — “Branding”. Lets get to the basics again.

Marketing 101 — Why Branding?

Branding is done purely for two purposes.

  1. To gain new users/customers.
  2. To make your brand more reliable for old users/customers.

Above campaign, successfully achieves the purpose of branding. It successfully conveys to the new customers that drink named ‘coca-cola’ is available in the market. And establishes strong reliable bond between old customer and the brand. This is branding.

And back to splash screens. Splash screens are shown only to the users who are already using the app. So you wont get any new users from it. Purpose #1 is failed.

Does Splash screens serve the purpose #2? No, not at all. Read on.

Why do we want to make our brand reliable? So that customers use our product again. We want to remind them about our product. We should make the users tempt, make them buy/use the product again. Consider coco-cola’s branding scenario for existing customers. They should do the branding to make people drink coke. There is no point of branding while drinking coke. Because the customer has already bought the product.

Now apply the scenario to splash screens. User has actually launched the App. Hence your brand is already remembered by the user. So splash screens wont fulfill the purpose #2 too.

Apart from their uselessness, splash screens annoy the users. Splash screens break the UX. At first glance, splash screens will look good to users but as times pass by people will be bored by it. They will definitely hate it. Still not beleiving me? Just switch off your mobile and turn it back on.

Then why use Splash screens. Branding? No its Annoying.

Wrap-up

I would like to thank my employers Tertium Quid for encouraging and allowing me to write the post.

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