15 Replies Latest reply on Sep 11, 2011 12:47 PM by brian.gil

    Why is the new mobile app UI the way it is?

    kljoyce

      brian.gil:

       

      I could not hold-back any longer, and have not found any information in the Jive community that will satisfy my itch (honestly, I did not look that hard).  Anyways, here it goes.

       

      While I know that many, at least within our enterprise, were not a fan of the iPhone app (stability issues, slowness, crashing, blah-blah), I certainly liked the UI layout & ability to easily navigate.  While we are excited about the new mobile module app, b/c of the wider range of mobile devices it supports, it certainly lacks the overall UX (w/o the afore mentioned issues) of the iPhone native app.

       

      Since a picture can mean a thousands words, and I don't want to spend to much time typing, see what I mean with my above statements:

      4.5.6-mobile-deviceapp-vs-mobileapp.png

       

      Here are a couple of items I am asking myself. Why did Jive:

      • not keep the navigation (tab) icons the same size in the iPhone app?
      • not make the navigation (tab) menu stationary like the iPhone app?
      • make it so much more difficult to create new content - it takes 6-steps to create content in a grp?

       

      And there is more, but I will start with the above.

        • Re: Why is the new mobile app UI the way it is?
          John Schwiller

          Hi Kevin - I have to say that everyone I have using Mobile 2 on iOS and iPad love it much better than the legacy app.

           

          Re icon size, I'm a bit confused. Here is a comparison:

           

          Mobile comparison.jpg

           

          And looking at the Connections / People icons:

           

          mobile people icon.jpg

           

          So whether you compare the label and icon (Mobile 2 on left, legacy on right) or just compare the people icon (Mobile 2 on left, legacy on right) - in both cases Mobile 2 has smaller icons than legacy.

           

          Re not keeping the navigation tab stationary - I think this is so that once you scroll down you are using maximum real estate for the content. And as Brian pointed out when I whinged about wanting to get back to the top when you have scrolled a long way back (on iOS) you tap the top bar (with the time on iOS). I'm not sure I need any of the stuff at the top once I'm browsing the content in the stream or place. 

           

          Also not sure about 'difficult to create content' - if I'm in a group the steps are:

           

          1. Press compose icon.

           

          2. Enter title

           

          3. Enter body.

           

          4. Press post icon.

           

          There are only more steps if you change the defaults or want to add @mentions.

            • Re: Why is the new mobile app UI the way it is?
              crossman

              So whether you compare the label and icon (Mobile 2 on left, legacy on right) or just compare the people icon (Mobile 2 on left, legacy on right) - in both cases Mobile 2 has smaller icons than legacy.

              I guess this falls into the category of "who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?" I too thought the new "tabs" were bigger. But you are correct, they are indeed smaller.

                • Re: Why is the new mobile app UI the way it is?
                  John Schwiller

                  well apart from advising a visit to Penn and Teller on Sat night at JW - masters of distraction, I'm not a GUI designer but:

                   

                  On the legacy app the menu bar is small and abutted by a big light grey or white screen, and it split its controls top and bottom. 

                   

                  On Mobile 2 the icons are all together at the top and therefore the icons have a large amount of black (or dark) above them. In addition the people icon itself is bright compared with the legacy app so that also makes it seem bigger.

                   

                  And at the end of the day it's what it looks like rather than how many pixels high it is.

                   

                  I also think Brian has intimated a number of new features are coming later which might offer a chance to rationalize the design, but my desire is for more controls (like abuse reporting) and the more that are added the harder it gets.

                   

                  I've already suggested one trick which is to use icons without text, then perhaps there could be a '?' to take you to a menu page where you see explanation of those icons if they are confusing to a user - you'd go there infrequently.

                    • Re: Why is the new mobile app UI the way it is?
                      kljoyce

                      On Mobile 2 the icons are all together at the top and therefore the icons have a large amount of black (or dark) above them.

                      I certainly like this approach better also.  But, it is not fixed like the legacy app.  Therefore, when I scroll down, and want to get to a different stream or perform a different action, I must first navigate to the top, which is a simple tap for the iPhone.  In the legacy, I would simply click the other view or action I wanted.

                       

                      Less taping you have to do on mobile, the better.

                  • Re: Why is the new mobile app UI the way it is?
                    kljoyce

                    Regardless of the actual icon size, the obvious to me is that there are 3-tabs on the mobile 2, which seems to indicate no room for an additional tab vertically.  On the legacy app, you had 5-menu (tab-like) items going across your mobile screen.

                     

                    Re: creating content: I counted 6-steps to generate content within a specific place from the home page:

                    1. click the create new content icon
                    2. click drop-down menu to select type of content
                    3. select type of content
                    4. enter partial/full title of the place you want to create content (awful ux)
                    5. select search to find the place (awful ux)
                    6. select the place (awful ux)

                     

                    Have you look at how many <Back> clicks you need to make to get back to the "home" page (activity stream view)?  With the legacy app, I would simply click on the Activity icon to immediately get back to my activity stream.  I don't believe there was a <back> concept in the legacy app.

                     

                    Furthermore, you actually have to already be in a given place, you have to take several steps to get there via a search approach. To do a search to get into the places you follow (assuming you remember them all), you have to:

                    1. click the search icon
                    2. enter partial/full title of the place you want access
                    3. select search
                    4. select place when the search is completed
                    5. scroll thru a list of places that may have not be what you are looking for
                    6. select the place you want to enter once you've found it

                     

                    In the legacy app, I simply click on the places icon, (and assuming my places), I will have a list of places to select from.  So, one go potentially from 1-step to 6-steps when comparing legacy to mobile 2.

                     

                    To me, there is certainly a regression in the user experience via the UI.  While the mobile 2 is may be better for getting technical updates & hopefully better response time & stability than the legacy app, the UX has no real improvements to "write home" about.

                     

                    As I said, the greatest benefit is coverage.  But Jive missed an opportunity to improve coverage, along with a great UX with their current UI design of mobile 2.

                     

                    Message was edited by: Kevin Joyce - finished my thoughts given my abrupt stop.

                      • Re: Why is the new mobile app UI the way it is?
                        John Schwiller

                        Hi Kevin

                         

                        A couple of extra points, I think the intent is to move towards tabs that are more like the 3 categories of Jive What Matters. There is certainly room to make the tabs narrower if more than 3 are needed - and one way to assist this might be to drop the legends and just use icons - perhaps even the same icons used in the conventional UI?

                         

                        Re my step count, I had as a prerequisite that I am already in the group - I think I would typically want the context of what is happening in the container before creating more content in it.This has the advantage that the type of content is set by default (removes your step 3).

                         

                        Re searching for the place (step 4) I'm not sure why you feel the UX is awful? And I've just noticed that the place defaults to the last used place (which may be relatively new). Useful if you are posting multiple content into a place.

                         

                        And Re:    

                        Have you look at how many <Back> clicks you need to make to get back to the "home" page (activity stream view)?

                         

                        After I post the new discussion I'm taken to the published content. I press 'back' just once to get to the activity stream (home page).

                         

                        Perhaps other users of Mobile 2 might like to comment on how they find the UI / UX? - I think it's pretty slick as I said before.

                          • Re: Why is the new mobile app UI the way it is?
                            kljoyce

                            John

                             

                            My perspective comes from being a heavy user of the legacy app, even with it's limitations.  So, when going to the new one, even with some functionality missing & newer functionality existing, I would still want a UX that is minimally the same or better than the legacy.

                             

                            For me, it would be a regression if the UX.

                             

                            I certainly don't discount your perspective and appreciate you keeping me honest on the <back> button.  It's just one of those things I never had to do, or remember ever having to do in the legacy app to get do a different view.

                             

                            I hope the the enhanced features will make me stick a sock in my mouth.  But I'll have to wait until that day comes.

                             

                            btw - we are planning to move to the new mobile module with a week.  I am little sad, but think it is directionally correct for our community, in general.

                              • Re: Why is the new mobile app UI the way it is?
                                crossman

                                For me, it would be a regression if the UX.

                                But comparing the native app to a browser-based mobile interface is (pardon the pun) comparing apples to oranges, no?

                                 

                                I don't disagree about specific aspects of the change, such as the Places functionality from the iPhone app. But some of this UI can't be as rich in a browser vs. a native app.

                                 

                                I do think that Jive's investment in a platform-agnostic solution is the right strategic direction.

                                  • Re: Why is the new mobile app UI the way it is?
                                    kljoyce

                                    From an end-user perspective, no it is not apples and oranges.  An end-user really does not care about the underlying technology.  Granted there may be some technical limitations in one versus the other, which will translate to differences in rendering a functionality, but a typical end-user would not know those nuances.  And I believe my original post, compared with the feedback from Brian, reflects that the technology has limited what functionality can be delivered within the mobile interface.

                                     

                                    I don't question the technical strategy & the reason's why.  But what has been the cost in the UX for doing so?

                          • Re: Why is the new mobile app UI the way it is?

                            Hi everyone,

                            Wow, I really appreciate the passion expressed here!  Certainly validates that we're working on something important when I see customers debating so actively about our product.  Anyway, here's the rationale behind the design:

                            1. While we certainly evaluated the feedback about the prior app, we really strove to begin with a fresh perspective when we embarked upon developing the new app.  Jive itself had advanced greatly from the old app's 4.0 origins and we had the evolution into 5.0 to keep in mind.  We also knew that a standard native iOS design like the old app would not translate well technologically to the mobile web (e.g. fixed headers and footers especially given that we wanted infinitely scrolling lists) and it would also be awkward for our Android and BlackBerry users.
                            2. We also followed the tenets that less is more while mobile, search > browse, and that people are the greatest input to providing context.  As such, we initially just focused on quick contributions of status updates, replies, and likes as those actions add value to the conversation but aren't overly complex or time-consuming to do via a mobile device.  We also implemented federated search to return people, places, and content with one query rather than provide deep browse hierarchies.  We also designed our streams to prominently display the item author and provide a direct link to their profile.
                            3. As Kevin points out, creating content in a place is a bit more involved.  But, we knew going in that creating discussions is a critical Jive feature and needed to be added. The old way required you to think of the place first and then initiate the creation process.  You can do that in the new app too by searching for the place and then tapping on Post.  As John noted, in that scenario we default you to a discussion in the place to make the process faster.  Alternatively, you can directly initiate a post from the home screen.  In that case we default to status update as that is the most common mobile content type.  Then we offer the ability to switch to a discussion and then look up the proper place.  Regardless of how you begin the discussion process, we will store the recently used Places for you in a list so you won't have to search every time.  We find that most people post into the same places repeatedly so this is a real time saver.  We apply the same logic for @ mentioning users.
                            4. Regarding icon size, rather than debate which design consumes more space, I'll just ask if people are having trouble accurately tapping on the tabs or other touch targets in the new app.  We certainly follow best practices guidelines for mobile design so hopefully they aren't difficult to use.  We've also debated about whether an icon is sufficient for the tabs but I have received feedback that the accompanying text is quite useful.  Plus, as a preview, when Communications comes to the 5.0.1 version of mobile in a few weeks we'll make good use of the space devoted to tabs by including a count of your unread Communications items.

                             

                            All that being said, we are constantly optimizing the app and hopefully have proven to you all that we are both responsive to feedback and able to push out enhancements quite quickly.  We will certainly take this to heart as we enhance our ability to navigate places and add new capabilities all while striving to not introduce clutter & complexity.

                             

                            BTW, you shouldn't have to click Back multiple times to get to the home screen.  The quickest way is to just tap the logo.

                             

                            - Brian