Death Match: Android vs iPhone in User Experience

Join us for a death match unlike any you’ve ever seen before. 5 days, 5 rounds. What product help and support communities will prevail?

Due to popular demand, we’ve brought back the Death Match. This time around we’re putting two ultimate brands to the test; iPhone versus Android. Join us for a death match unlike any you’ve ever seen before. 5 days, 5 rounds. Which of the two product help sites will prevail?
We’ve enlisted two savvy content strategists & documentation folks to be our judges in this highly anticipated show down; Scott Abel and Maxwell Hoffmann. Here our two judges will compare the iPhone and Android product help sites against each other in the following criteria; User Experience, Social, Engagement and Findability. Each day is a new round and will focus on a different feature. Round 5 will take place on Fridays; Judgment Day. Judges will share their scores and crown a victorious winner for this week’s Death Match on Friday.
Each day we ask that YOU, the audience tweet and take our poll below and tell us who you think out of the two product help communities should win that round. The judges will consider your votes from each round when crowning the winner of Death Match.

Without further ado, let’s get started…

Round 1: User Experience





User experience is about how the user feels and what they’re drawn to when using the web application. User experience encompasses both physical and emotional perceptions that result from the use of a web app and/or product. To rate the sites in User Experience, our judges used the following principles:

  • Flexibility
  • Descriptive alt text
  • Interruptions to task paths
  • User experience is even and predictable
  • Enticement
Scott Abel,
Content Management Strategist
Maxwell Hoffmann,
Director, Document Globalization Practice


Scott: Overall, the Android User Guides provide a really good user experience. Sure, some things could be better. First, there could be an attractive call to action to “join” the site (become a member of the community). Members usually enjoy benefits once logged into the site and socially-savvy consumers know this. When I tried to login using my social networking accounts (, the site returned an error message: “Failed – Invalid Site Domain”. This error appeared when I tried to login using my Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook accounts. That could definitely be improved.

The same is true of the login process in general. It’s clunky and fails to provide any context designed to help the user complete the login process easily. To improve the site, the login fields (“user name” and “password”) instead of the “user login” link that appears there now. Also, when a user forgets their password, they are able to click the “forgot my password” link, as one might expect. But, the experience here isn’t as smooth as it could be. When clicked, that link takes users to another page where they are asked to re-enter their user name. The site could be more useful and remember the user name that was originally entered.

Maxwell: The site has information in logical, byte-sized chunks, with compelling screen captures. The site is also very readable on mobile phone (my DROID). I found it almost equally usable on my laptop.


Scott: There’s no doubt about the fact that Apple makes beautiful products (and content). Their website is alluring and graphically and typographically pleasing. But, the iPhone User Guides site is nothing more than a library for static PDF content. And, there’s nothing remotely sexy about that. Not only is the PDF library not as useful as the Android User Guides site (which presents each manual as a series of web pages, each topic a standalone page on which users can learn how to use a specific feature). The iPhone User Guides site not only fails to assist the user in finding answers to specific questions, they also fail to make the site content easily findable on the web. Exposing the guide content in the way that the Android Guides site does provides tremendous SEO benefits that Apple is missing out on. By making the content more findable through search (think Google) Apple would make it easier for customers to find answers to their iPhone questions.

Maxwell: I do not have an iPhone, so I could not test the content there. However, from either a laptop or a DROID, one is limited to “one-piece” PDF documents. Unlike Android, the iPhone documentation is surprisingly “text-heavy” with far fewer graphics.

Friday, November 4th