App Police Episode 4: USPS Informed mobile app and the frustration of poor on-boarding

App publishers naturally want to collect data up front from people using their app. And there are use cases where capturing data at the beginning is necessary in order to use the app. There are right and wrong ways to take the user through this process.

The USPS Informed app is an…UNInformed and disappointing experience. The premise of the app is that it’s supposed to show you the products that USPS is delivering to your door. However, the set up of the app is terrible. First, they’re using an obvious hybrid approach by – at the beginning – displaying a responsive web page that obviously wasn’t designed to be used inside an app.

Adding to the frustration is a challenge that most responsive form pages face when placed inside web views – the horizontal scrolling nightmare. Yes, as you move throughout the fields, you have to use your finger to scroll horizontally back and forth to enter text in just the right place.

A much better approach would’ve been to take the time (really, this is just laziness) and build the on-boarding process natively and divide the questionnaire into sections. They also could’ve easily created a contextual data entry process by asking questions at specific points in the app when they are needed. Asking so many questions at the beginning only frustrates users who just want to get the feel for an app.

Visit InnoviMobile, if you want to learn more about this topic.

The video below shows only a few screens of the on-boarding. Believe me, it gets A LOT worse as you go through a long questionnaire. It’s not surprising that the app only has a two-star rating.