Can Your Customers Use Your Product Without An Internet Connection?

Posted By Debbie on May 27, 2014

The night before as 6.5-hour cross-country flight, I was on hotel Wi-Fi when I bought 3 books for my Kindle app.

I downloaded each book to my android tablet. I watched as a progress bar told me the book was mine and on my device.

I opened each book to make sure it downloaded, and there they were. The first few pages of each book.

2 hours into my flight, I’m awake and thinking about reading my books. I DO have 4.5 more hours to kill without internet or comfort.

I opened the Kindle app on the same tablet. I noticed each book was missing its cover… Just the name written in white on a blue background. Weird!

When I went to open each book, I was told I needed an internet connection. Having used the Kindle app many times before, this was a surprise. I thought it was download it and go.

So instead of reading $30 of books, I’m writing this blog post in my WordPress app.

It’s a serious UX failure.

Either the books are downloaded and available to read or they’re not. I had all the visual cues that would tell me yes, you bought this and it’s been completely downloaded to the device. Why can’t I read it?

A similar thing happened recently on another flight. A mah jongg tile game I got didn’t want to work without internet. Why? Why can’t I play that on an aeroplane without Wi-Fi? What is so important that your game has to connect now and can’t just report crap to your servers later?

Scenarios help you imagine how and where your users use your product or service. Next time you’re writing those, find out if your customer might use it where there’s no internet.