The outstanding, the bad and the useless

Thoughts By 6 years ago

Too often I am bombarded with the email “Download our new App” or “Find us on the app store”, only to find an iPhone App that does little more than the companies website. Big corporates have huge mailing lists and marketing clout meaning they can attract a very large number of users and downloads. But in reality many of these Apps don’t make life any easier for the user, nor do they provide anything innovative.

You rarely get a second chance in the App world, so don’t bother releasing Apps that aren’t revolutionary.

1. Qantas (The Bad)

In early 2010 Qantas released an iPhone application that essentially mirrored their mobile website. In fact the website was far more functional and useful than the App. Suddenly in March 2010 the App was removed from the App store, users commenting “I can understand why it was withdrawn: it was pretty useless”. Later in the year Qantas replaced the App with one dedicated to Frequent Flyer. Not bad, looks nice but again it offers so much less than the website and most of the features including finding where I can fly with my points are not necessary on the mobile.

A logical feature on the mobile would be boarding passes and check-in. Qantas now have hundreds of thousands of users, with a 2 star app rating.

2. ANZ GoMoney (The Outstanding)

Banks were quick to catch on to the App fad, and three of the big four created brussel sprouts. But ANZ kicked a goal with two killer features. First they realised nobody likes typing in ID’s and Internet Banking passwords. So they revolutionised banking by replacing all this information with a simple PIN linked to the phones unique indetifier, that allows a user to authenticate themselves in around 2 seconds.

Secondly they acknowledged that when you have a phone, why not allow a customer to “text message” money to other people including non ANZ customers. So you’re out for dinner, your mate pays as you don’t have cash, now you can use the app to enter their mobile number and text them the money you owe them. They receive a text with instructions on how to collect the funds.

Check out Jonothan Lochhead’s blog on designing the app here™/

3. Target  (The Useless)

Target have built one of the most useless App on iTunes. It provides a user with some of the products available in store. Users have commented that a simple search for a DVD player returns zero results. What is the point?

On the inverse lets look at Woolworths, one of the most notable applications in the last 2 weeks. It provides not only a full catalogue of products, bar codes and stores – it can help a customer navigate through the isles of their favourite store like GPS in your supermarket trolley. Brilliant!