TikTok Mobile App Review
We’re obsessed with mobile apps here at Sneakers Apps and so every two weeks someone analyzes a mobile app from top-to-bottom and presents their findings to the company. In this TikTok mobile app review we take a look at the fastest growing social media app on the planet: TikTok.
We start out with their app store listing to better understand how they are marketing their app to users. Then we analyze app sign-up, onboarding, navigation, and features to see if the app is easy to use and intuitive. We also dive into whether the app supports things like accessibility and dark mode. Last but not least, we take a look at their website to see how well their website ties together their brand and their app/service.
App Store Listing Analysis
As of the time of this review, TikTok was the #1 rated app in the iOS app store in the entertainment category with 9.5 million ratings and an average 4.7 star rating. Aligning with the video first core, and 100% on brand, the app store listing includes screenshot previews that are vibrant and even includes a video in the first slot.
TikTok does a fantastic job of highlighting the fun nature that the product brings to users. It’s always a good idea to consider your app store listing as an important part of the early user journey. In order for a user to install your app, they have to start somewhere. Make a great first impression like TikTok does.
App Tour Analysis
Surprisingly, TikTok doesn’t provide any sort of overview of the app once you download it and run it for the first time. This might be a nice simple value add especially for users who might not be as familiar with what the app does and how to make the most of it.
Sign In / Sign Up Analysis
The sign-up process is straightforward with TikTok. Like many mobile apps the goal is to allow the user to create an account and then utilize the app’s main feature(s) quickly and efficiently. The flow looks like this:
- Sign up – Email, Mobile phone number, or Apple ID (now required by Apple).
- Birthday – Notes that your age is not shown publicly. There are age restrictions for the app.
- Create user name – Can change later. Can skip at this stage.
Being a video content, entertainment-based social app, TikTok relies on well-defined and ‘smart’ algorithms to create a personalized experience for each user. What does this mean? The more info the user provides about his/her interests while onboarding the higher likelihood of that user finding content early on that is pleasing to him/her. How do they do this? TikTok offers a common ‘Choose your interests’ type of onboarding. The more info the user provides the more likely the first videos they’re served up are intriguing to them. You guessed it, the engagement thereafter feeds the algo to create an even more personalized experience. To keep onboarding light and optional the user can ‘Skip’ this part, a common approach.
One of the things that TikTok does very well is the app introduces a key user action during the onboarding process. This is done with a simple screen displaying a coaching point as a tutorial. Although it has become common with mobile phone apps to utilize the ‘swipe’ action for up/down, left/right, translating to ‘Yes I like/want this’ or ‘No show me something else’ it’s paired up with getting dropped into an actual piece of content (a video), and also triggers a prompt to turn on app notifications. This is a great way to:
- Teach new users the main ‘thing’ to do
- Increase the number of users who turn notifications on (great for engagement)
App Navigation Analysis
As inconsequential as it may seem to some, one thing that really stood out too use during our TikTok Mobile App Review was the organization of the app. The TikTok app makes great use of a tab bar at the bottom of the screen to let users quickly switch between main areas of the app. The tabs are as follows:
- Home – View and scroll through TikToks as full-screen videos.
- Discover – Find trending topics and people on TikTok.
- Create – Click the + button to create a TikTok. Note how they make this tab stand out to drive users to create TikToks.
- Inbox – View and respond to messages that people post to your TikToks.
- Me – Manage your account and profile on TikTok.
Creating a TikTok
TikTok uses a small coaching card or tooltip to prompt the user to post his or her first video. This is displayed when the user first views his/her profile. You can see it below on the tab bar.
Recording a TikTok
As a social app, TikTok relies on user-generated content (UGC). What does this mean? Each time a user creates and posts a video the library for the world to see increases by 1 video. The more videos created, the more likely users will find something they enjoy watching (or even despise watching).
Tapping the ‘+’ button at the center of the tab bar triggers this feature and opens the mobile phone front facing camera. Then the user can do a variety of things:
- Record a video
- Start and stop the recording
- Utilize a timer
- Flip the camera to face the user
- Manipulate the speed of the video
- Add sound and visual effects
The user has complete control over the video before posting it. He/She can add captions or hashtags, auto-share to other platforms, turn off commenting on the video, or even save the video as a draft for use later.
Posting a TikTok
Once your TikTok is completed, you can add a caption and control whether people can comment, who can view it, add a comment, save it, and more.
The TikTok app makes use of a super clean, simple iOS layout for letting a user adjust various settings for the app. One thing we love about the TikTok app is its support for dark mode and its attempt to improve the user experience for some users who may have visual impairments via its Accessibility settings. You also get very granular control over push notifications which is a huge plus.
It’s probably no secret at this point that Apple is encouraging app developers to create home screen widgets. We encourage all of our clients to give this some consideration as it can sometimes help you get precious space on a user’s home screen. TikTok has a really nice easy to use widget that quickly shows you some top trending TikToks.
Other Cool Goodies
TikTok does a great job of making their product accessible to as many people as possible and offers a variety of settings to create an optimized experience for as many users as possible. The app supports and you can find settings and preferences and downloads for:
- Creator Portal (analytics tools for power users)
- Creator Tools
- Join TikTok Testers
- Family Pairing
- Digital Wellbeing
- Desktop app
As opposed to some other startups that don’t have much on the web, we were quite surprised to find that TikTok has a really solid website where you can watch TikToks. It definitely is not as nice of an experience as watching them on your phone, but kudos to TikTok for putting in the effort here!
TikTok Mobile App Review Wrap Up
As a result of our TikTok Mobile App Review, we give the TikTok app a 9.5 out of 10.
What did Sneakers Apps like?
One thing that will always stand out with the TikTok app is the main user experience of swiping up through full screen videos. This lends itself really well to watching videos directly on your phone in portrait mode and it also makes it easier to record videos as well. Another thing that TikTok really nails is how fast videos load in the app. This gives us the impression that they are preloading videos in the background so that you’re never waiting to watch content. Last, but not least, the core user want/need is entertainment. By offering a variety of filters and options when creating a video the app seems to meet and exceed that need/want.
What did Sneakers Apps not like too much?
Creating a really good TikTok can be an intimidating experience. It takes a lot of practice and ingenuity. It truly is a platform for creative people who want to express their talent and humor and not so much a platform for just posting average or mediocre content.
What would Sneakers Apps do differently?
The TikTok mobile app is without a doubt outstanding. Great design, great engineering, and just an incredible overall strategy. Based on our TikTok mobile app review, we’d likely suggest that TikTok do a bit more with their onboarding experience since some users may be a bit overwhelmed by TikTok at first.