User Experience and User Engagement

We’ve been reading up about a conundrum occurring between Apple and Android.  Yes, the companies are locked in battle for the most innovative, eye-catching software they can develop and users and sales number in the millions.  Yet, ultimately they both stand for different ideas and ideologies that are harder to compare than one would originally believe.  Apple supports a platform that drives user engagement in all forms of social media while Android’s platform enables user engagement but doesn’t focus their design around it.  The difference between these “driven” and “enabled” platforms is a chasm that Michael Schrage discusses in his article Don’t Confuse Engagement with User Experience by the Harvard Business Review.

So how does one compare the two brands?  First one looks at the numbers.  Android outsells Apple 5:1, and Android has surged ahead to account for 68% of market share, according to CNN Money, four times more than Apple’s share.  Yet Apple users are far more active in iOS e-commerce, browsing, and apps, from 2011 to 2012 Android online shopping growth only moved from 1.43% to 4.92% while Apple’s online shopping communities leaped from 3.85% to 18.46%!

So what’s the take away from this intersect of the cultural war between Apple and Android, and their sales numbers?  Schrage concludes with a call to UX developers for both parties.  The user interface and experience, a distinct feature on both phones, is not a polish you can add at the end of a project.  The user interface and engagement are a large part of the greater whole that need to be addressed in all aspects of the user interface design.  The “drive” vs “enable” discussion will continue to be an aspect of any Android vs Apple discussion, yet the question remains if Android’s engaged users will grow to reflect number of devices, or if Apple’s driven users will beat out Android’s interface.

Check out some infographics that support this idea of number of devices and engagement.

Source: WebHostingGeeks
Source: SiliconRepublic
Featured image via: VentureBeat

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