Since getting my Apple iPhone 3GS last weekend, it seemed like as good a time as any to see what all the fuss was regarding the Apple App Store available for the iPhone.
I open up Safari on the iPhone and navigate to a site to download an application that I want to install. Following the bouncing ball to install the application, then find out that I need an iTunes Store account. At this stage, I figure this must be a very common scenario, so persist thinking it’ll be super smooth and it’ll be over with in a minute.
After gonig through the iTunes Store signup process, I then find out that they use the common two phrase signup process – signup and then verify. A little annoying as I haven’t configured any email accounts on the iPhone yet but am determined to follow the process through. After configuring the email account, I open the verification email and click the link to activate my iTunes Store account and am then told that I can’t complete this action on my iPhone.
I’ve opened my email on my desktop and clicked the link in the verification email. The web page opens but I am not presented with the normal ‘your account has now been activated’ type of message and the page isn’t thinking, strange. There is some small text on the page that says if iTunes didn’t open, open it yourself – which I subsequently did. At this point, I assumed clicking the link again was going to make iTunes do something – alas that was an incorrect assumption. I was viewing the ‘check your email to verify your account’ page within iTunes again – strange. It wasn’t until I realised that below that message there was a ‘Done’ button just sitting there with no instruction associated with it. After clicking that button, something happened and my account was verified.
What would have made this process that much smoother:
- If a user is creating an account for the first time on an iPhone, it’d be worth telling them that they’ll be sent an email to verify their account up front. That way they know they’ll need access to email on their iPhone to complete the process.
- If the Apple iTunes account signup process cannot be completed on an iPhone, either inform me that I can only complete 90% of the process on the iPhone up front or don’t let me begin it at all. By allowing me to start the process, the expectation was set that I should reasonably expect to complete the process as well which wasn’t possible.
- When clicking the link within the account verification email and iTunes doesn’t load, provide better instructions on what to do next. The page that loaded within iTunes wasn’t clear enough and I was left wondering what, if anything I should click on next to try and get my account verified.
These are all just small things in the grand scheme of things, however go towards making the user experience of using an Apple service that much smoother and would leave a nicer taste in the mouth of a lesser skilled user.