When designing a mobile app, it is important to make sure you save your users as much time as possible. Google’s Android Market app, now called “Play” (which is a stupid name for it BTW) is a bad example of what not to do. Many other apps do it too, including the Apple App Store.
So, let’s say I searched for something on my iPhone or Android, I wanted to find a tower defense game I heard about online. I search for it and look through the options. Whether I find one I like or not, less than a minute later, I am done with that search. I either find what I want and download it, or I don’t and abandon the idea for now. Why then should I be assaulted by the same search the next time I visit the store, when my search will always be something new? I want the mobile apps to act just like Google’s homepage. It gives me a blank search box to type in what I am looking for now. It doesn’t bother with what I wanted last time.
This isn’t such a huge issue normally, but it starts to really frustrate me when it takes a while to load all the images and other assets from the last thing I looked at, and I have to wait for a while (especially with spotty wifi or 4g coverage) to get around to being able to search. Apps should never block me from searching or having to wait to get to what I want. There should be a feature in these “app stores” to ask me (unobtrusively) if I would like to load the last search again, or if I just want to search, I can without any stopping to wait for something I no longer care about. It happens 100 times a day and it is super annoying. What I am asking for is the ability to discard the continuity of my last search over sessions, when I would rarely ever care more than once. If I do, I will search for it again, and use the autocomplete features to re-search. Please don’t block me from my new obsession of the moment.
What would be great is if I could at least interrupt the loading of crap I don’t want to see with an etch-a-sketch like shaking motion or something equally fun. Still, just because this is mobile and we haven’t worked out all the kinks, doesn’t mean you should allow this annoying behavior happen.