Feeling Like An Unwelcome Guest on medium.com

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I have a short­cut to medium.com on the home screen of my Android phone. It’s there because I browsed the site a cou­ple of times and Chrome’s app install ban­ners prompt­ed me to add it to my home screen, so I did. Some time lat­er I launched the site from the short­cut icon and it opened and loaded so quick­ly that I actu­al­ly thought it had retrieved a copy from an offline cache. But it hadn’t, it was just very well opti­mised. So ten points to the Medi­um team for that.

Today I launched the site from the short­cut again – but this time the expe­ri­ence was some­what dif­fer­ent. So dif­fer­ent that I have to take away all the points I pre­vi­ous­ly award­ed to the team. The prob­lem is that when I launched the site today, I had the door emphat­i­cal­ly slammed in my face.

Doorslam message on medium.com

“Medi­um is bet­ter when it lives on your home screen”, they say. Well, it does live on my home screen; that’s where I launched it from. What they actu­al­ly mean by these words is: ‘you should install the app’. And I know they mean this because it then shows me a but­ton, urg­ing me to ‘con­tin­ue in app’, which takes me to the Medi­um app install page on Google Play. And just below that is an app install ban­ner which lets me skip Google Play and install the app direct­ly. Also, there seems to be no way to con­tin­ue with­out installing the app.

The message ‘no thanks’ with secondary priority

Wait… my mis­take – there’s a small, some­what apolo­getic, sec­ondary ‘no thanks’ link hid­den behind the app ban­ner. This makes me feel a lit­tle guilty and sil­ly for want­i­ng to take what I under­stand to be the appar­ent­ly dumb action of view­ing medium.com con­tent on the web.

Still, once I took the sucker’s option of click­ing ‘no thanks’, I could at least see the sto­ries on medium.com. So I clicked the top one that was rec­om­mend­ed for me.


And the first thing on the page is anoth­er ban­ner, this one telling me to “change my mind” and install the app – with a con­ve­nient link to install from Google Play.

Team at medium.com: I am very dis­ap­point­ed in you. After two actions required to vis­it the web­site (close the app install ban­ner, click ‘no thanks’), you still think I might not want to read the con­tent in my brows­er? May I ask: are you get­ting paid by the app install num­bers? Because to spend so much time mak­ing your web­site ‘mod­ern and mobile-opti­mised’ — which it real­ly is — and then to slap on such a frus­trat­ing user expe­ri­ence… I don’t know, maybe I should give you the ben­e­fit of the doubt, pre­sume your mar­ket­ing peo­ple told you to do this. Because oth­er­wise I’d hate to think any­one could do some­thing so self-sabotaging.

I made the choice to vis­it your web­site, and you not respect­ing that choice leaves me feel­ing like a very unwel­come guest.

I’ve cross-post­ed this arti­cle to Medi­um, because I enjoy the irony.

Update: Cara Mever­den, prod­uct man­ag­er for Medium’s Android app, has respond­ed with an expla­na­tion of what hap­pened.

5 comments on
“Feeling Like An Unwelcome Guest on medium.com”

  1. I feel you, man. Don’t get this “install or die” phi­los­o­phy. Some­time it seems teams think their app/site is the only one in our lives…

    Props for the irony!

  2. Google find it annoy­ing too : http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.ch/2015/09/mobile-friendly-web-pages-using-app.html

  3. What I don’t real­ly under­stand is that why does every blog-news relat­ed site needs a ded­i­cat­ed app? The web brows­er (or a feed read­er) IS the app for read­ing online arti­cles, there should­n’t be any need for a ded­i­cat­ed app to do that.

  4. […] Feel­ing Like An Unwel­come Guest on medium.com – “I made the choice to vis­it your web­site, and you not respect­ing that choice leaves me feel­ing like a very unwel­come guest” by Peter “Not ‘Alf!” Gasston. And a reply from a Medi­um prod­uct manager. […]

  5. […] Feel­ing Like An Unwel­come Guest on medium.com […]