Refining Needed on Refinery29

Refining Needed on Refinery29

Karen RoguskiThursday,11 February 2016

Refinery29 has spent the past 11 years building a web following that caters to a younger female demographic, where it utilizes feminine color schemes and a card-like main page to help entice readers. Earlier this month, Refinery29’s This AM app launched for iOS. It follows a combination of both of those styles seen on the website, card-like and ranking style. The app is based on the site’s popular web franchise, “8 things to know this AM,” as a way to grab the attention of Refinery29’s current mobile audience, as well as to gain new readers.

In that aspect, they hit the mark perfectly as the app also uses the same soft color schematics as well as card-like screens, with each card representing a single headline or story. However, unlike Refinery29’s website, the app does not use the (read more) format. The AM App uses sub-headlines as tappable links to the stories featured in the app, which is far from an intuitive experience. Users are left fumbling around the card/screen in the hope of finding the link to the article or information the headline speaks. The only other item offered is the customary forward box in the lower right corner.

I downloaded the app the same day that Refinery29’s last app update push occurred, and my experience has not been fun, friendly or informative. I receive the artful cards daily at 6am ET, but, that is all I get. When attempting to locate the article to read or learn more, the app gives me one of two white screens or simply crashes. Thinking I could outsmart the issue, I attempted to email myself the information to open outside the app. Swing and a big miss. The app just crashed. I deleted and downloaded again just to have the same results.

Finding it rather hard to rate a product that will not allow access to any of its functions or options, I thought long and hard searching for a new plan of action. So after a little persuasion and the persistence my husband, my niece and a couple of friends stopped over and downloaded the app in order to help me out. We discovered that I had wasted my persuasion and persistence skills on Refinery29 This AM, as each person had the same crashes and white screen issues that I had experienced.

This also must explain as to why the app has only received about 100 reviews total since the original launch date. If you are looking for a morning headline tease, then this is the app for you, as it falls way short of the curated morning news it claims to offer. As of the time of this writing, I have yet to learn more than a headline.

Criteria Scores: Usability: 1/10, Design: 3/10, Utility and/or Joy: 1/10, Performance: 1/10, Onboarding: 1/10, Overall Score: 1.4 of 10.

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Image Credit: Barn Images on Flickr

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