Thursday, June 25, 2015

Why is the SuperShuttle app so bad? The dangers of "condensed" apps

I was reading the information for a company's upcoming conference, and I noticed that the company had chosen SuperShuttle as its official shuttle provider. The material noted that SuperShuttle has an iOS app. Since I happen to have a SuperShuttle account, I figured that it would be a good idea to get the app.

While the app was downloading, I noticed that the review ratings were pretty low on the app, and I wondered why.

The first problem is that there is no way to log into account.

Ouch. So much for establishing all of that information in my SuperShuttle profile.

I figured I'd see if the app was usable anyway, but when I did, I encountered the problem mentioned by another reviewer:

When you select My Profile a message comes up saying "You don't have any profile information yet. Profiles are created when you book a new reservation.

After I removed the app from my phone, I began wondering how this could come to be. The app has apparently been out for several monthsyears, but still doesn't have a lot of functionality. And it's not a beta app, either; its official version is 1.8. So, what changes did SuperShuttle make in version 1.8 of the app in January 2015?

What's New in Version 1.8
Modified font for terms and conditions.

Well, that's important.

Still curious as to how this happened, I ran across a lot of material from 2010, when the iOS and Android apps were released. The problem is highlighted in a comment made by a SuperShuttle executive back in 2010.

“The target demographic is any iPhone or iPod touch user who travels,” said Ken Testani, senior vice president of global marketing and partnerships at SuperShuttle, Scottsdale, AZ. “We’re trying to provide a much easier way for folks to book their ground transportation and also track where their vehicle is when it is their time to be picked up.

“App users can book reservations, cancel reservations and it allows for folks to earn airline miles,” he said. “It pretty much mirrors the capabilities of our Web site’s booking engine, but I actually think the process is much easier using the iPhone app, because it’s a more condensed version."

Catch that? Because the app is "condensed" - a nice way of saying it doesn't have as many features as the web version - it's better.

“Any kind of travel service is really going to mobile, and we’d be missing the boat if we didn’t have a mobile app at this point—for the travel sector in particular it’s key to be mobile right now.”

So SuperShuttle has a mobile app - and over four years after its release, the mobile app won't let you log into your account.

Of course, part of the problem may be the partner that was used to complete the app. The 2010 article included a link to MobiLaurus, the company that worked with SuperShuttle on the app. I clicked on the link to, and got an error 404 from HostGator. A web search indicated some restaurant information at, but when I clicked on the site's index.htm page, I got errors also.

If MobiLaurus can't manage its own website, it's understandable why the app that it developed has so few features.
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