The Device: iPhone 4
The Prices: Free
The Basics: Although many of us at Rocksauce Studios are total political junkies, we try to keep things nice and apolitical here at Tapsauce. This completely neutral policy will extend to this special edition of App Spotlight: I will not be reviewing the candidates, I will simply be reviewing their respective mobile apps. Who has the better app: Barack Obama or Mitt Romney? The general media consensus seems to be that President Obama won last night’s debate, but who will win the Battle of the Apps? Let’s find out.
The Showdown: We’ll do this in the style of a debate. I’ll examine one app’s qualities and then the other’s, deciding who wins on each category as we go.
First up, let’s take a look at design. Both have a similar layout, but there are enough little changes to make them feel hugely different. First, the Obama app.
It’s sparse. Clean. Very simple. Maybe even a little too simple, but sparse is always better than busy. The colors are muted, the text is large and the who thing is easy on the eyes without being eye-popping.
Now, the Romney app’s response.
There’s a lot more going on here than in the opponent app. The colors are deeper, the pages are busier, the text is tiny and goes on and on and on. The chaotic business of the app allows it to have significantly more content than Obama’s, but it loses the war of aesthetics (and loading times).
Now, let’s move on to functionality. Which app offers the superior user experience? Which one is easier to use? Let’s start with Romney this time.
For the most part, the Romney app handles fine. Navigation is simple enough and it’s incredibly difficult to get lost. However, that above-mentioned business means that this is a much slower app than Obama’s.
And now, Obama..
Like Romney’s app, this is app is built to be navigable by anyone and everyone, so using it is an absolute breeze. However, the lack of extended loading times gives the President the edge, once again.
And now, a big one: content. Which app offers the bigger bang for its non-buck? Which app has more substance? Which one gives you more to read while you’re sitting on the toilet at work? We’ll start with Obama.
Everything in Obama’s app is boilerplate at best. There are the expected buttons at the bottom (info, events, featured, action and donate), but each section only offers barebones information about the president and his policies. Take the issues page, for example. Eight platforms are represented with each one divided into various issues, but each issue is accompanied by only a sentence or two about Obama’s stance and beliefs. Like the design, the content is completely bare bones. You can get the basic gist of his platform, but in order to learn more, you have to follow external links (which open in your browser and take you out of the app).
Now it’s Romney’s turn.
One of the reasons why Romney’s app is so cumbersome is that it’s loaded with all kinds of information. While it’s sheer number of buttons and graphics makes it more troublesome to navigate than Obama’s, it also means that there’s a lot more to read here. Like Obama’s, the Romney app has the usual donate and events buttons, but it’s the info button that makes all of the difference. There are far more topic categories here than the President’s and each of them is accompanied by huge amounts of text explaining Romney’s position. Also, Romney’s app has embedded YouTube videos, which look really ugly, but hey! Videos! Read Romney’s app and feel like you know the candidate (for better or worse) — read Obama’s app and feel like you don’t really know him.
The Results: Although Obama won two out of the three categories, Romney’s decisive victory in content means that this showdown is tie. As for grades, I’d give them both B’s.