Daily Dose of iQ: WSJ Mobile App's Bad User Experience

Aug 08, 2011 — Cheryl Chung

Jakob Nielsen of Useit.com recently identified (July 5) a design flaw in The Wall Street Journal's iPhone app.

The popular app received only a 2-star rating in Apple's App Store.

"As a rough estimate, a 2-star average across across 68,418 reviews means that 40,000 users gave the application a 1-star rating. Given the 90-9-1 rule for social design, most users never bother reviewing products, so 40,000 low scores represent at least half a million dissatisfied customers," wrote Nielsen.

What did the WSJ do wrong with this app?

Bad intro screens confused WSJ.com subscribers into thinking they are required to pay a second time to use the WSJ mobile reader app when they already have access (see above photo, left).

Nielsen suggests an alternative landing page (above photo, right). Users want to weigh out the benefits and costs when deciding if they want to use this app or not. It's good to highlight this, immediately on the first screen, which Nielsen does nicely.

What does this example demonstrate?

It shows the importance of usability (clarity and up-front info) in making a good first impression. Service and product are often evaluated based on first impressions. It's difficult to recover once you've had a bad social rating.

How does this apply to your work as an Interaction Architect for RQ4?

First impressions are key. If users have a pleasant experience on their first interaction with our product, then they're likely to continue using it, provide positive reviews, and recommend others use it. Therefore, if something will make the user's life easier, we'll do it even if it takes more effort to build.

Topics: RQ, Wireless Trends, Mobile Industry, Customer Experience

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