I’ve had this one app on my iPhone installed for quite a while but I never really got to using it. Why? Because its account creation process is quite frankly onerous. I still have no idea what it really is supposed to do other than some life streaming stuff, and up front it asks me for a lot of personal information without explaining why.
This evening I sat down to actually count the number of screens that were between me and successfully completing my first actual post. I decided to use a fictitious name and email address. Let’s begin the fun!
1. Intro screen.
OK, not too bad. Good examples. OK, let me in! I’ll press Continue.
2. Choice for newbies.
I guess I’m making a new path. I can’t sign in because I’ve never signed in.
3. Type my name. Where?
Seriously, where? There are no keyboards that have popped up. There is no obvious text box. The camera button looks clickable but I’m being asked to enter my name. I’ll tap on the name.
4. Name prompts.
OK, I’ll enter my fictitious first and last name. I was thinking of Mary Poppins, but nah.
5. Tapping “Choose…”
After entering my name the screen just sat there. So I tapped “Choose…”. I don’t know what a cover is, but I’ll guess it’s my profile photo.
6. I take a picture.
I was at dinner. So a glass of water it is.
7. I don’t have a profile picture yet.
Oh. The “cover” was my background image. OK, so what do I do next? I’ll tap the Next button at the top right. I almost missed that by the way.
8. Warning! (Error message count: 1)
I’ve made my first mistake? Oh, fine, I’ll take a picture.
9. Choose picture-taking method again.
I’ll take a picture, again.
10. Take a picture.
Another water glass.
11. Still waiting for a Next.
Back to where I was. OK, let’s try hitting Next again.
12. Personal info.
So I have to enter a lot of personal info. I see a bunch of optional stuff, so I won’t enter that stuff.
13. Email required.
I probably guessed this error, so I’m not going to count it as an error. I’m in the process of creating an account it seems so email address, sure.
14. Basic info entered.
OK, email and password in there. Let’s tap Next.
15. Basic info entered. (Error message count: 2)
Yikes, I have to say what my gender is? Seriously, why. Marketing purposes?
16. Gender selected.
Fine, I’ll do it. It’s a throwaway account anyways. Poor person at Gmail.
16 1/2. Waiting…
… tick tock …
17. We’re in! Now what?
Yay! We’re all registered. Now what? There are no instructions on screen as to what I should do next. (This might be a bug.) I want to write my first post. Let me start tapping on stuff.
18. Setting a smiley.
I can do this. Neato.
18 1/2. Still confused.
I’ve made a smiley comment, but still no indication what to do next.
18 3/4. Left a comment.
I tapped around and apparently found a way to leave a note.
18 7/8. Still stuck. (App bugs: 1)
Still no indication what to do. I’m thinking I’ve really run into a bug.
19. Killed the app from the main iPhone menu.
I know about the double-tap to bring up the App Switcher and killing the app process trick. So I kill it. Then I relaunch the app.
20. Restarted the app.
Now I get a dialog box. I think I did hit a bug.
21. On the right path!
I think I’m now back on the right path (pun intended) to making my first post. I see all those little icons and they look tappable, so I’ll tap the photo one.
22. Camera app, but who is Diana?
Most of the camera controls look familiar, but who is that Diana in the bottom right. My name is Elmer Fudd.
23. Oh, it’s a filter.
No explanation that it’s photo filters, but I’ve used Instagram enough to know what each of those thumbnails does. Perhaps if Path is targeting the app-savvy users then it’s obvious these are photo filters. I get it.
24. Am I sure?
Yea yea, yes. I’ll tap the checkmark. Which is kinda weird because this is the first time I’ve really hit a symbol button that isn’t outlined like a button.
25. More info?
Wow, I guess I still have to enter more info. I’m going to guess I don’t have to enter something, but I will. There’s a ton of other options below. I did tap around to see what’s going on.
Finally! FINALLY! 26 steps to post my first post. At least one bug was found, several error messages popped up, and I was assaulted with a lot of options, not obvious which ones were optional! I know making apps is hard but this workflow just feels so heavy it didn’t fill me with ease of use or fun. I felt like I had to do a careful dance to get out the simplest of things.
Bonus round: I can post as (null)
Oh, remember how I had to enter my name in the beginning? I found the menu to change my name. Apparently if you set it to nothing it turns into “(null)”.