Tag Archives: use

Usefulness of Apps

As I continue to live in a world of both Android and iOS apps, I have a few observations. These should serve as lessons for would-be app designers.

The most useful apps are those that take a single to narrow range of tasks that can be accomplished conventionally on a computer browser and squeeze them down into a simple interface that fits into a small touch screen.

Speedtest is a free iPod, iPhone, iPad, iOS app that makes it instantly possible to check Internet connectivity speed. It’s certainly got snazzy graphics, but it’s basic functionality is excellent.

To date, the most useful apps I’ve found revolve around banking, bill-paying and finance. For example, with a few taps on my iPod Touch I can easily log into my local bank’s banking app and check up on the status of checking and saving accounts as well as transfer funds and even pay bills.

I can do the same for credit cards. It’s amazingly simple. Apps such as this are most effective and effecient when common actions taken are quicker, simpler and faster than handling them with a conventional computer and browser. The acid test comes if I reach for the app even though I have an open computer browser in front of me right at my fingertips.

Apps such as these should include all of the primary action-oriented elements present on the main website. If seemingly small elements are left out, it can reduce an app’s usefulness. For example, the iPod/iPhone/iPad/iOS GoDaddy app includes most of the action elements of the GoDaddy.Com website. However, the app neglects to include PayPal as a payment option which ends up forcing me to use the main GoDaddy.Com website anyway – a partial but serious fail.

In short, to make any splash at all, apps must be designed for accomplishing their tasks even better than a conventional computer and browser.

Do you have some apps you believe fall into this category? Let me know in the comments.

Hide what you want in Facebook

Working on Facebook everyday, I have been noticing more and more friends using the applications. They may be fun and enjoyable, but today I pulled up the program and about 75% of the posts were either Garden requests, quizes, high scores on some game or another program that bluntly, I just don’t care about.

I stopped using applications when Facebook changed their site around last year. I have a couple applications, like a birthday one and the origninal Hugs app, but that’s pretty much it.

The best part about this version of Facebook is that I can hide certain things. If someone is posting too much, I can hide it. If someone is being annoying, I can hide it (luckily I didn’t have to do that yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I’ve been hidden simply because of how I use Facebook).

Nonetheless, I can not only hide a person, I can also hide an application. Here is how you do it.

First, go down to the post in question. Place the mouse cursor on the right side and you will see a “HIDE” option.

A Facebook application
A Facebook application

When you see the “HIDE” option, hover over. It will give you options to hide the user or hide the application. In this case, I want to hide the “Sunshine Garden” app.

Hide the App
Hide the App

Once I select, the application is forever hidden – at least I would hope it is.

The only 2 downfalls to this:

  1. I have to do this process on every new program that comes across. Therefore it’s a constant battle. I really would like to see Facebook make a “Hide all notifications from applications” option.
  2. If I am accessing from an iPhone, I do not have an option to hide things. However, the newer version of Facebook for iPhone has set it so if you hide it on the webpage, it will hide it on the iPhone app. The previous version didn’t, so I had to endure with all those posts.

I emplore Facebook to look at these options. I am not an application user. I want to be informed on what people are doing. I don’t want to miss some good information simply because some people are tending to their underground garden or are virtually drinking heavilly.

After all, what fun is that?

Stanford Internet Study Details Most Common Online Activities

A report of Internet-related activities, published by Stanford University in 2000, asked 4,000 respondents to select among a list of 17 online activities. The results were not surprising. An updated report is forthcoming next week.

Continue reading Stanford Internet Study Details Most Common Online Activities