For my example of what I find to be a sub-par design, I had a feeling I wouldn’t have to search farther than Bucknell’s Mobile App. I would have chosen the “Bucknell Alumni” app, but it doesn’t seem to even run on Android 7. Anyway, let’s start take a look at the home screen.
Typically on the home screen of a mobile app, we can find quick and easy access to some of the most common features. However, we can see here that there is absolutely nothing but a “sign out” button as well as a “hamburger button”. While this does allow us to see a nice full screen picture, one might say it starts to drift into the “kitsch” category, being pretty, but non-functional.
Instead of finding what we came to the app for in the first place, we find a screen with yet another button between the user and their goal.
Here, under the hamburger button, we can see what users are actually looking for. While the categories here are relatively easy to look through, it would likely be easier to navigate if there was simply a list or grid system on the home page. If users are coming to Bucknell’s app in the first place, it is likely because they are in a hurry or looking for a faster way to access information on a mobile device than simply using a browser. If quick access is the goal, the home page should be better utilized.
To the left is the screen that a user finds themselves viewing after selecting “directory” from the menu. While it seems like this button’s link is not currently working, it appears that the original intention was to simply redirect the user to a mobile view of the bucknell.edu directory. While this method is functional, it provides the user no reason to use this app over simply viewing the directory in their phone’s browser where they know it will work. In addition, one of the draws of phone apps is a smooth mobile experience designed specifically with mobile devices and finger touch control in mind… something that this method is completely lacking.
Simply loading a mobile web page within an app seems like poor design.