One of the worst things a company can do is to lose sight of the core competency of it's product. Version 5 of +PayPal
is a great example of this. It perfectly articulates why design should always accommodate the most-common use case, not the one the company most desires.
Things are immediately off to a bad start when you launch the app and are greeted with a splash screen. (1) A ubiquitous unwritten #AndroidDesign
principle is, "Don't make me wait". PayPal shows the splash screen while it logs in and attempts to acquire the device location, so that it's able to present shops nearby. This is egregious on two levels:
First, the main functions of PayPal are to transfer money to other people and act as a middleman for online transactions. My location isn't needed for either of those tasks. PayPal would like brick-and-mortar shopping to become part of it's business, so they made it the first thing you see. (3) I have no interest in using PayPal this way, but I must now wait for my location to be determined every time I open the app.
Second, even if the (overzealous) product designers insisted on "Shop" being the landing page
, there is simply no reason to prevent the user from accessing other parts of the app while the location is being fetched. What's worse, after waiting upwards of 10 seconds for the splash screen to go away, the list of shops is not even populated. The screen is empty and there is another spinner! (2)
PayPal also completely disregards the established patterns for the Navigation Drawer. Not only is the Action Bar moved with the sliding content (4), but the Drawer is opened by a back button press. These types of things may seem minor, but they throw off flow and confuse user's expectations.
As if hijacking the back button's natural behavior wasn't bad enough, PayPal then shows a "are you sure you want to exit" dialog when trying to back out (from the Drawer). (5)
A small annoyance: When you send someone money from the app, it now shows a ridiculous "Sent using the PayPal Mobile application". There is no way to disable this.
Perhaps the worst offense: PayPal is locked to portrait orientation. Come on people, this is getting old. It's pure laziness.
It used to be fast and easy to get in-and-out
of PayPal. Doing things like making transfers and checking balance were immediately available. After-all, that is it's primary purpose. It's too bad that it seems the company is more focused on what it
wants, instead of what users want.
There are many parts of the redesign that are nice, where Android patterns are used appropriately. Unfortunately, these aspects of the app are overshadowed by it's fundamental issues.
By +Paul Burke