September 27, 2011

717 words 4 mins read

How NOT to inspire faith, the mobile app for Ike's Place

As of last week, I’m now officially a resident of San Francisco. With this comes many benefits (like delicious food from crazy places) and many detractors (I have to sell my truck). Let’s ignore the down sides of living in the city and just focus on one thing, a sandwich place in the Castro called Ike’s Place. Their sandwiches are delicious and the place is AMAZINGLY busy. It seems that they’ve taken this as a sign that the food gods are pleased and invested a little into their technology. Normally this wouldn’t anger the tech gods, but Ike’s has invested just enough in their mobile app to be embarrassing.

If you go to the Ike’s Place website, it’s fairly nice. This is probably because it is hosted by a company called

The Spoke To Go. I don’t have much to say about the website, as it is pleasant, Web 2.0 fanciness and conveys the information I desire. I will say this though, any company who’s contact page suggests you email them @gmail.com… is just fail. People, Google Apps is free, embrace it.

But let’s move on to look at the Ike’s Place app for Android. The only reason to even bother with the mobile app is because you can order with it. You can’t order from the normal website; you can’t order from the mobile website (because there is no mobile website); BUT you can order from their app. So I downloaded it; I tried it… and it makes me sad inside. The app, in a word, blows. It locks you into portrait mode (hello… slide out keyboard here). Yet if you change orientation, it reloads the screen anyways. The app also force quit on me each and every time I loaded it up. Last but not least… it is obviously just a wrapper for a mobile website.

Then I looked up the application developer… and I lost even more faith. It is made by a company called SPCheckout.com that seems to specialize in mobile food ordering. Their website is a freaking disaster. I could put together a more professional setup in about an hour (granted I’m not an idiot). Visit just spcheckout.com (no www) and you get… yea… a GoDaddy parking page. Ok, well go over to WWW.spcheckout.com which actually loads a page that looks fairly decent. They advertise themselves as the makers of “Ike’s Place” for Android and iPhone… except if you mouse over “Ike’s Place” the alt text says “Link Example” with a link that goes nowhere.

You can click on every link on that site, but you’ll find out a few facts very quick.

#1 — There are only 3 pages (Products, Testimonial, & Contact Us). But that’s okay, they don’t have to have a huge website. It would be nice though if they didn’t have a smattering of “Read More” links that all go to the same page.

#2 — This company is so awesome, they have exactly one app out — Ike’s Place. Every screen shot, testimonial, etc is all for that same app. Plus the dipshits used com.spc for their one app on Android, rather than something smart like com.spc.ikesplace

#3 — Almost every single link on that page go to http://173.201.26.138/wordpress/ . Seriously? You can’t even manage to keep a domain name?

I’d also like to take a second to point out what bullshit their Testimonials are. Several of them say things to the effect of “Makes ordering fast and easy.". The app has ZERO search functionality because it is a poorly designed webpage wrapper. Ike’s has roughly 80 sandwiches on the menu and the mobile version has no ability to search, nor are the entries sorted in any logical manner. They are not shown by number nor are they shown alphabetically.

In short, this app inspires ZERO faith in me. I gave my credit card information and I’m a little scared now that I did. I will run the app through a packet sniffer later, but I’m willing to bet good money that the system uses no encryption. If you ask me, this app should be pulled as dangerous malware. If the front end (that I can see in 5 minutes of running about) is this shoddy, I cannot even imagine how poorly designed the backend will be.