You raise some excellent points in your post.
I’m the Product Manager for the Android app. Some, but not all of this is was my doing. Our promos are clearly a bit in conflict with each other. You see what happened is…
The full page promo on medium.com has been on for iOS users for months now and has been well received. We turned the same promo on for Android users last week. We wanted to let users who visit medium.com know that we have an app because the app has all sorts of features that we don’t support in mobile web like writing, responding, and highlighting. The promo doesn’t say that, though. Also, “No, thanks” is very tiny.
Meanwhile, Google recently launched a new version of Chrome that allows for App Promos. Previously, Chrome supported a promo to add the mobile web page to the home screen (which you probably used). Also last week, we decided to change this Chrome native promo to promote our app instead, which is probably why you saw it again. We did not test the two promos together. I didn’t realize that the App Promo actually covers up the “No, thanks.”
The large majority of our users only visit a story page. Most of these users are in an in-app browser like Twitter or Facebook. We want them to know about the app, so we have our own “INSTALL” button instead of just relying on Chrome’s. If you are a Chrome user, this starts to get weird.
There’s a lot of room for improvement here. I am going to review these promos and see if we can resolve some of these issues in the very near future. I’m also curious why you prefer the mobile web over the app. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thank you again for raising this!