When watching movies, it is mandatory for the movie to waste 90 seconds of your life showing you logos of the movie companies. After that, you spend the opening few minutes reading the names of the movie studios as you are introduced to the movie. Television shows do this too. Not ones to get left behind, this branding craze bled into software products.
I have been part of product development teams where management demanded that every single screen in a software product must show the company logo. On one hand, you are struggling with limited screen real estate. Now, you have to break every design rule and guideline you know to stroke executives’ egos. But this article is not about that. We are gathered here today to talk about wasting users’ time.
Animations for the sake of animations
We will start with the Cell C app. (Cell C is a large Mobile Network Operator here in South Africa). They have an app you can use to manage your account and the services they provide. Their service includes questionable network coverage for a company their size. Then there is this:
Did you see that? The app User Interface loaded (UI), then the app logo is animated on top of the UI before you can use the app. The animation is not even required nor is the app loading anything. It is ready to use but they want me to waste my life watching their logo. That is a whole 4-5 seconds of your life wasted. Are they aware that the world only spins one way and once seconds are spun, they cannot be un-spun? If I have been a Cell C customer since 2015 and have been opening the app twice a week, I have spent 5 seconds x 2 times a week x 52 weeks a year x 7 years = 3,640 seconds. In 7 years, I have wasted 1 hour of my life looking at the Cell C logo for no good reason.
Oh what is that you say? I am crying over a few seconds that I would have wasted doing something else pointless? How about this then:
TymeBank is a South African bank. TymeBank’s app shows me 8 seconds of animations from the time I click the app icon to when I can login. Applying our previous calculation, 8 seconds x 2 times a week x 52 weeks a year x 7 years =1.6 hours. Every 7 years you spend 1.6 hours of your life watching the TymeBank logos and animations when you just want to transact.
Imagine if shops did this. Before you can get into McDonald’s to buy greased up death, they make you stand outside for 10 seconds to look at the shop’s logo. It add ups over time with the number of apps you use. In a day, I would say I open 5 regular apps maybe 15 times a day. Those 4 to 8 seconds will stack up in a day to become a significant amount of time. Time is the most precious resource a human being has. Why waste it for no apparent reason.
Animations for the sake of animations are bad design
Google’s documentation for Android discourages splash screens for the sake of having them in your app. They are just bad product design. If your app is not loading something, either the UI or fetching data from a server then you have no business adding a splash screen to your app. Just let people enter the app and start using it. If you focus on making your app good, then users will give you praise for having an awesome product. Nowadays, mobile devices are so fast that if your app needs to load the UI behind a splash screen, you have very terrible app design.
Do not be like Cell C. After showing me their logo for 5 seconds, they then want me to login to the app. Using a password that contains a special character and a numeric digit. In TymeBank’s defense, it is a bank. Cell C has no excuse. And no shame.