I wrote an article a couple weeks ago about design issues for the first-time user experience with mobile apps. The latest version of the ESPN app for iPhone is an example of the things you probably want to avoid.

When you launch the app for the first time, the first panel of a tutorial fills the whole screen. It isn’t clear whether you are in the app or in a tutorial. The only indications are the breadcrumbs and the Skip text at the bottom of the screen.¬†The default should be to show the app and have a text link offering a tutorial.

Each of the next three panels in the tutorial use the whole screen to show one UI feature. A single image could show all three UI tips at once. If you are going to use a whole panel for one tip, then you might as well increase the text from squint size.

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The tips are followed by a panel asking the user to sign in/register. As a user of the app, I know it is helpful to register because you can get customized alerts. However, this isn’t the place for it. I always think it is better to introduce this after the first few times someone has worked with an app.

Finally, after leaving the last tutorial panel, you get to the actual app. What do you get? A blank screen with no news or scores. This one is a puzzler. I don’t know if it is a bug or what. I deleted the app and relaunched and it happened again. This definitely isn’t what you want to show off for your first-time UX.

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