People are spending more time with smartphones and apps. The phrase “people are sleeping smartphones” is no longer just a phrase but a hard reality. How much of this time is really worth spending with the smartphone? That we might not know but a rough back of the envelope calculation tells us that people are spending an insane amount of time on just getting to the app.

Thanks to the narcissistic apps people are spending more time to just get through to the app. The time I am referring to is the elapsed time between the time you pressed the app icon to actually getting ‘productive’ with the app. This is the time app developers display the app and app makers logo. The time this logo appears range from less than a second to 13 seconds.


So which apps are the most narcissistic?

Before we answer that question, let’s be aware that all apps are narcissistic. It’s the degree of narcissism which actually separates the apps.

Flipboard and Pocket (formerly Read it Later) go straight to the page where you left off, which is what I expect of these apps. I have never seen logos of these 2 apps after I click (or touch) on the app icon. Zite, spends time on its logo under the garb of refreshing the magazine, which is fine. There are apps which have no reason to spend a lot of time on their logo/splash screen.

Google apps for example spends close to 3 seconds on the splash screen the first time you open after a long time. For the subsequent uses, it spends 1 second on the splash screen. I would rather have it go directly to the app section as I have seen Google logo enough times during my adult life.

Angry Birds spends close to 8 seconds the first time you open the app (after a longtime). After which it directly goes to where you left off. Same goes for Evernote, Dropbox and other popular apps. Paper toss  spends more than 10 seconds to get to the paper. Cut the rope spends 9 seconds to get to the rope.

India apps

India news app, Mint, spends an insane 13 seconds on its splash screen and its lousy animation which peels of a paper to display the word Mint. This is the height of narcissism and probably a bad use case of power point animations. Probably no one ever told the app makers that we don’t use animations in power point now.

Times of India spends 6 seconds on its splash screen and its pretty logo. IBN Live also spends 6 seconds. Unlike Times of India though, IBN Live pretends that it’s actually refreshing the paper. Firstpost is the best of all the India news apps. It spends less than a second to bring you up to speed. Which blows off IBN Live’s excuse of refreshing the paper.

All these apps used the same iPad and the same WiFi connection and were measured in the span of few minutes.

What’s the big idea?

Don’t make your logo stand-out, make your app stand-out.

Even if I use 10 apps on a regular basis and I spend 5 seconds looking at the pretty logos, I have wasted 50 seconds if I have used the apps only once. Imagine the pain one has to go through if they are using these apps more than once.

If the app has been installed for a while, even when I am coming back to it after a long time, I would rather go straight to the point. In fact it gives the app developers all the more reason to take their users straight to the point instead of forcing the users to spend more time on mundane things like watching the splash screen.

1 second should probably be the maximum time any app should spend on its splash screen. Beyond that it would just be narcissism.

This is small stuff but it matters.

Have you found any less narcissistic apps off late?  Let us know in the comments.

Image via Flickr user bneumann

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