About 90% of the time I am on my phone, I am using one of these three apps. They are my favorites, and they are favorites of some other people too. All three of these mobile applications have 4.8-star ratings in the app store, but they all have significant problems that designers need to solve to have an overall better user experience.
To get to the bottom of these issues, I have put together two Point of View statements for each app based on user reviews found in the app store.
What are Point of View (POV) Statements?
During the second stage of the design thinking process, defining the problem is critical to guiding the team to solving the right problems. A method of documenting the current problem is by writing a Point of View problem statement.
“A Point Of View (POV) is a meaningful and actionable problem statement, which will allow you to ideate in a goal-oriented manner. — Rikke Friis Dam & Teo Yu Siang
A POV is a combination of three elements: a user, their needs, and insights.
[User…(descriptive)] needs [need…(verb)] becuase [insight…(compelling)].
These POV statements are important because the designers are taking the information for users (needs and insights) from the previous Empathy stage of the design thinking process and turning it into an action that the designers can solve.
I choose to look at the three apps I use on a daily basis. I love Goodreads and Shop, but Instagram has been getting on my nerves for the last few years. From shadowbanning me to “insta-jail,” it has been incredibly frustrating to use Instagram, and I know I’m not the only one. On the other hand, I have only had pleasant experiences with Goodreads and Shop, so I was eager to look at the reviews.
One of the most popular apps for avid readers, Goodreads allows its users to track, review, and find new books. My biggest problem with the app is the amount of bullying and negativity directed at authors and other users and unhelpful reviews. There is no policing or ways to report trolling reviews and often pop up first when looking at a book. I wondered if the app’s reviews would mention the same, but I found I was wrong.
Most of the reviews steemed from inaccurate page tracking and the lack of a rereading option for books. I have seen the wrong page tracking before, but I never found it a pressing issue. I also don’t often reread books, so I didn’t even know this was an issue.
Users who like keeping track of the books they are reading need a better page tracking system to track which page they are on accurately because the app sometimes displays an older number, incorrect number, or the number of a different book they are currently reading.
Users who like to reread books need to be able to reread books because to add books to their current reading challenge without taking away from their previous reading challenge or having to go in and change the dates manually is frustrating and time consuming.
Instagram is a photo and video-sharing social media platform where users can create content and connect with friends, family, or a community.
I have been an active user on Instagram for almost ten years, and I have seen significant changes over the years. As an influencer, the most frustrating part about using the app is the constant change in algorithm, where it is challenging for new people to find my page. If I engage on too many posts within an hour, I will be flagged as a bot and shut down for two weeks. It is very disheartening to be punished for using the app throughout the day. So, I was interested to see how other people felt.
While looking at the reviews, I immediately noticed that even the positive reviews had suggestions for improvements. It seems like all users can agree that Instagram is far from perfect and could use many improvements for quality of life instead of adding content and moving buttons around. The most prominent suggestion was fixing the randomized main feed to chronological order or adding the option.
Users who use the app regularly need an option to change their timeline to chronological order because the current algorithm doesn’t show all posts and buries most photos, reels, or IGTVs in the timeline or doesn’t show them at all.
Active users on the platform need fewer updates because the constant changes or moving, adding, deleting, and changing buttons is confusing and frustrating.
Shop, or Shopify, is a package tracking app that allows the user to track all packages in real-time. One of the most fantastic features shows a world map and exactly where your package is located in the world. From my experience, sometimes the app doesn’t update or says that a package is delivered when it was not. Other than that, I have had no problems with the app and looked forward to seeing some reviews.
The most challenging part about looking at the reviews is that most negative or suggestive comments blame the Shop app for delayed packages when it actually reflects the postal service and not the app itself.
Users who want accurate tracking need faster in-app updates because sometimes the carrier website shows changes before Shop.
Users who like precise updates on their packages need a notification to let them know there is no current change where the item(s) is located because they are frustrated when there is no change or update.
Writing point-of-view statements was challenging at times but an eye-opening experience. I needed to put aside my own problems or optimistic view of the app and address a larger audience’s concerns. For Instagram and Goodreads, I felt like I could write a few more problem statements based on more feedback from the reviews. There were also times I had difficulty deciding if a review was positive/suggestive or suggestive/negative. I also tried to go for reviews that were critical in their analysis instead of reviews that said “good app” or “it’s terrible.” Overall, I learned how to see the bigger picture and pick out each application’s significant problems.