User Group: Adolescents, Adults
Available on: iPhone, iPod
About the App: The idea behind creating this app is to solve the problem of “noise” when trying to discover something new online, whether it be a restaurant, book, movie, song or app. There are umpteen reviews but can we trust ratings of strangers? Generally, people turn to friends for recommendations as they can trust their opinion. A gourmet friend knows a lot about restaurants, for instance, and a film-buff friend knows all the best movies.
The app lets users find and “follow” people they know or reviewers they trust, as well as the ability to personalize their own “stamp” of approval. Users are provided a limited number of stamps (100) to start with and thus must be careful while making recommendations, since additional stamps are provided upon the users’ followers re-stamping or liking the things they have recommended. Recommendations can also be shared on Twitter and Facebook. All recommendations are retained that shows up like an inbox rather than a feed, so that previous recommendations can be searched at any time. It is also integrated with Google Places. Tapping on the earth icon at the top right lets user see Stamped recommendations nearby or search for specific locations.
What we like: We really like the neat interface and the overall design which makes the app intuitive. The ability to customize stamps or choose from given ones adds a personal touch to the recommendation and gives a feeling of having a personal signature.
The app is also tied into OpenTable, Fandango, Amazon and the iTunes Store so that the friends can conveniently follow up on recommendations if they wish directly through the app. Stamped has an affiliate relationship with each provider. When user sees a recommendation for a restaurant for instance, they can click through to book a reservation on Open table. Likewise, user can purchase movie tickets through Fandango, books through Amazon and songs through iTunes.
The app is well structured as recommendations fall under relevant categories. It is easy to share things, browse by category or location.
It is also a good idea to give the users a finite number of stamps to begin with and that the only way to increase this number is by getting positive feedback from other members of the community. This is mainly to encourage qualitative recommendations.
What we suggest: The navigation is confusing as the user repeatedly taps the back button in order to return to the main screen. The new version has incorporated the functionality of swiping the navigation bar to return to the main pane.
Overall experience: The execution of the main idea behind the application is quite satisfactory. Stamped is only for favorite recommendations; low and average ratings aren’t supported. So instead of attempting to amass a huge catalogue of ratings from the crowd, Stamped is designed to shrink the decision process by focusing only on the trusted opinions of close friends.