Going to choose an app to start with, one that I know quite well- here’s who’s in the runnings
I’m going to select an app by using an online random selector
The App that I’ll be recreating is:
currently one of my favorite new apps, which offers an alternative to jailbreaking iOS 11&12 phones without the need to access the root of the device. The app bypasses the need for root access by installing configuration profiles to iOS. This method offers users a slew of free, tweaked and hacked apps and games, that would be previously unaccessible on your device. Being a tweak, you have less control than a fully jailbroken iPhone, you don’t have access to altering your springboard and you can’t manipulate already downloaded apps - but on the bright side, your phone is not as vulnerable to a software hack - unless of course, one of the profiles you’ve installed is malicious.
The TweakBox process:
STEP ONE -> Download
In order to download tweakbox, it’s free and simple. All you have to do is open safari on your iOS device navigate to TweakBoxApp.com and hit the large “Install Now” button on the page, right after you will get a notification that states “The website is trying to open Settings to show you a configuration profile” hit ALLOW. This will open up your system preferences and the install profile page. A few details regarding the app to follow (the app is verified somehow) a small description will give you a better idea of what your newly installed webapp will accomplish. Once you hit “install” the profile downloads to your device and you will find a new web app icon on your home screen, it’s cute logo and recognizable name will make it hard to miss.
Here’s where things get ugly
Step two -> Open TWEAKBOX
You can open Tweakbox in two ways - either by accessing it from your springboard (recommended) or by searching in the notification center - for some reason when you open the app through search, it doesn’t function as well, so I recommend placing the app on your springboard somewhere easily accessible. When you first open tweakbox you’ll find that safari automatically gets opened and ads start getting thrown your way – it may even seem like your phones being hacked, but don’t worry, you can close out of the app and reopen - it takes a few tries to get to the Tweakbox homescreen, but once you do you’ll feel accomplished, almost like getting a perfect score on the SAT’s, but slightly better. The beauty is maybe some of the ads are real and you can actually win giftcards by filling out surveys, but the chances are slim. I don’t know why Tweakbox needs to come off like a large scam - maybe it’s too deter too many users – if they want to include ads why don’t they just show them in a traditional manner? So that’s problem one, annoying as heck ads that take you away from the app itself.
Step THREE -> Open TWEAKBOX AGAIN
If you are blessed to have opened the app -kudos hopefully you can access everything you want on your first try before getting deterred by ads for giftcards or free vacations for two. You may notice the app doesn’t revert to safari, but instead opens up like a traditional iOS app. Quickly the app’s homescreen fades into the background and another ad - a promotion for tweakbox - starts playing – blocking you from accessing any additional functions, until you watch it for a few seconds and hit the ‘X’ on the top left of the screen. There are a few issues here - the first being the promo clip. It’s unclear what the advertisement is trying to accomplish, there is no branding or text, just a bunch of app logos and an iPhone with a download logo on the screen changing colors - it sort of seems like an informational screen. The second issue is why the advertisement playing every time you open the app. And lastly, why is it placed in an advertising format - if it is not an ad? Overall this screen really deters users from a cohesive user experience. Also I just realized if you by accident click the ad instead of the ‘x’ button you are taken right back to the online scam.
STEP four -> Tweakbox homepage
If you’ve made it past the second advertising barrier, kudos, you made it to a good place.
The app itself
Along with main navigation, the app also includes a ‘Useful links’ section, which includes ‘Latest News’ (news regarding the app), ‘Donate’ (since the app is free they strongly encourage donations and a column for FAQ. Donate actually links you out of the app - making me, the user, frustrated once again.
Solving the ad’s
Before critiquing the layout, I would like to acknowledge that if the donation section was more prominent in the app - and more donations were received the owners of the app wont have to focus as much on ads and would be able to provide an overall better experience. So step one, would be enhancing the donation component of the app.
I went through some of the apps main screens and pointed out some of the persisting issues I faced while using it.
The UserFlow for the current app
Referencing the above image
When opening the app, an advertisement opens right away, any clicks will take the user directly to an external link ad that also seems scammy
In order to go back to the app you need to quit tweakbox from the multitasking menu and re-open again through the springboard
The homepage has company branding taking up the majority of the space
The top tool bar functions don’t even work
The ‘Useful Links’ area seems like a lazy design choice for including more information about the app - but most of it is non-functional and irrelevant
When clicking into ‘apps’ you are served with ads masked as advertisements that send you to external links
The categories page is unnecessary because there are only 4 categories. The categories are also unclear
The info button is too prominent in the hierarchy, next to ‘home’ and ‘apps’
On the homepage, there is a misleading hashtag link
The donate button is hidden and should be displayed more prominently
Confusing titles, make the user unaware which apps are under each category
The search function should be universal throughout the app
Many external links, mislead the user and make it hard to get back to previous progress
The app list includes a lot of not-needed information
The app page lacks in hierarchy and includes a how to use button on each page
Recreating the App
Starting off with new user-flow, simplifying the app into 2 categories browse and donate.