Two iPhone apps in a pissing contest

Talk about addressing a basic human need! Restroom finders Have2P and SitOrSquat are two relatively recent additions to the hundreds of thousands of apps on the iTunes App Store for iPhone. They both do the same thing (and there are others!), but each of these two has a very different attitude.

As a designer and as a marketer, I was interested to see how differently they treat their users.

Have2P is what I expected. Its interface is simple (a little ugly, a little funny), the listings are clean and straightforward. It seems to work fine and do what it says it’ll do. Just dandy for a free application.

SitOrSquat turns out to be a promotional app….for Charmin toilet tissue! Funny idea, perhaps even brilliant. Except the user experience is in-your-face annoying.

It has a well-designed, clean icon. But when you start the app, you’re presented with a mini-ad for Charmin, and then a registration screen where you need to give them a username and password. (You’re already trying to mine my name? I’m just trying this out!) You can bypass that, but then you get a banner ad for Charmin (again) and obviously-paid results with a big Starbucks logo. And that’s it. No other restrooms in my area! (Have2P found a dozen within easy walking distance.)

SitOrSquat feels like a semi-useless, aggressive intrusion into my personal space — my phone. It alienates me from both Charmin and Starbucks.

Have2P feels like a bargain. Happy to have it on board. If there were some subtle ads or a link to more information, I’d notice them and probably check them out.

The lesson here? Selling too hard, even if you’re giving away something for free, is self-destructive. We all have to remember that people have choices — lots and lots of them. Making something that is genuinely useful creates good feelings all around. Customers are grateful. They come back. They choose to choose you. You don’t need to scream and yell and get all up their face. You just need to be there for them.

Hyping yourself is mostly just annoying.

Okay, you get the idea. I’m stopping for today. I have 2 P.


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