Three Chances the WordPress for Android App Absolutely Needs
For any blogger with an Android smartphone, the WordPress app is a must-have. It provides you an easy way of maintaining your blog even when you’re not in front of your computer. It’s one of my three or four most frequently used Android apps. Yet at the same time there are a few areas where it can stand to improve. Surprisingly, the Android app would be a lot better if it resembled the WordPress for BlackBerry app. Here are the three main problems I have with the app.
1. Commenter avatars
On your blog, commenter avatars can be great. Commenters can use them to put a face to the comments, or they can add amusing images. They really do add a certain life to a comments section. But on the mobile side that doesn’t work too well. On most mobile sites you’ll see stuff like avatars stripped away, to make for easier viewing. Why, then, are avatars present in the WordPress for Android app?
When you load up your blog in the app, it starts you off on the comments screen. Here you’ll see the commenter name, information, the post on which the comment appears, and a two-line preview. Yo’ll also see a big, honking avatar next to the user’s name. Even if the user has no avatar, it shows you a kaleidoscope-type image. That serves no purpose other than to take up room.
On the BlackBerry app it’s much more streamlined. There are avatars, yes, but they’re small and don’t interfere. If a user has no avatar, it’s just a gray box. The BlackBerry app’s comments section has the user’s name, plus a one-line preview. That makes for an easy list, which you can easily scroll through. It’s a much better experience than the Android app.
2. Comment moderation
Honestly, I use my mobile WordPress app for comment moderation more frequently than I do for editing posts. Sure, when there’s a typo I’m thankful that I can correct it even when I’m not in front of the computer. But when I’m checking my WordPress app I’m usually looking through comments for spam that made its way through, or comments that got picked up by our filter, but aren’t actually spam. Here’s where the Android app falls short.
As you can see in the screenshot in the first section, unapproved comments are familiarly marked in yellow. You can easily approve these. But you’ll only see these comments if you scroll by them. There is no way to filter the comments for unapproved ones. This is a pain, as many of my blogs these days have tons and tons of unapproved comments. Some of them are a bit further back, too. The BlackBerry, as you can see in this screenshot, lets you filter for Pending comments. That makes the moderation process much easier.
3. Quick access to my Dashboard
Here’s one area where I expected the Android app to come out on top. The default Android browser is excellent, and there are a number of good third-party browsers, such as Dolphin HD. Your Dashboard actually renders decently well from these browsers. But you cannot access your Dashboard right from the app. Surprisingly, you can from the BlackBerry.
This feature doesn’t work as well on older BlackBerry models, since the browser isn’t very good. But for models such as the new BlackBerry Monaco, a.k.a the Torch 9650, you get a much better browsing experience. As you can see, the BlackBerry app brings you right to your Dashboard, where you can access any option you’d find on your computer. Best of all, it automatically logs you in, so you don’t have to re-enter your user information. This is great feature, especially when I want to do something like add a new user, or edit a comment.
It might seem odd to show how an Android app can improve by comparing it to a BalckBerry app, but there is no denying it in this situation. The WordPress for BlackBerry app is superior to the WordPress for Android app. Thankfully, it takes only a few tweaks to bring the Android app back up to speed.
This is a guest post by Joe Pawlikowski, editor of BBGeeks, a site that helps BlackBerry users get the most out of their devices.