Earlier this year a friend of mine invited me to try out donating blood with her. It’s something I’d been meaning to do for years, but always put off because I didn’t know anything about the process, and needles are never a comfortable experience. A simple phone call makes getting your first donation appointment setup easy – and after that the GiveBlood app by Canadian Blood Services gives you some nice tools for future appointments.
The app itself is very simple and well organized within the side menu. However, some of the features seem just a little off in their functionality.
For example, entering the My Account screen shows you a number at the top of the screen. My best guess is that this is the current date? But it doesn’t include the month, or day of the week, or anything else to show it really is a date. But today is November 16, and it says “16” at the top of this screen, hence the conclusion I arrived at.
Underneath that is a date (much more obvious this time!) which seems to be your next eligible donation date. This isn’t made clear however. Often, your next donation appointment and next eligible donation date may be the same, but often it’s not. I assumed it was my next appointment, but upon entering the Appointments screen, my next appointment isn’t until the week after! Clarity in what the user is looking at is important, and this isn’t very clear at all. But at least there is a place where you can see your next appointment, which means you don’t have to keep track of it yourself elsewhere.
There’s also a Book Now option on this screen, but it doesn’t actually do anything, just shows you a phone number you can call (and you can’t even click on this phone number to place the call – you have to remember the number and type it in yourself).
Also under My Account is the option to see your previous donations – but actually it shows you nothing. It looks like it’s supposed to show you your blood type and number of donations, but my blood type shows up as N/A, and number of donations as 0, both of which I’m certain are inaccurate. There’s a share button on this page, which is usually great advertising, but since the feature doesn’t work, I’m not sure what I’d be sharing anyways. At least the profile management section seems to show accurate information, and even lets you update your contact information.
There’s a handy locator which shows clinics and blood drives run by Canadian Blood Services. It appears you can search by city and by date – a useful tool if you don’t already have an appointment booked.
The rest of the app is more of a pamphlet than anything else. It includes information for contacting Canadian Blood Services, donation eligibility, and a home page which advertises current campaigns being run by Canadian Blood Services.
One minor grievance I have with the app as a whole is that almost every time I press back it just closes the app instead of going back to whatever I was looking at previously. The “back” functionality of most apps is pretty standard, and breaking this standard is jarring and makes for a frustrating experience. While writing this review I found myself constantly reopening the app because I kept accidentally closing it. However, since the actual usefulness of this app is so small, that probably won’t be a problem for most people anyways.
You can install the app from the Google Play Store, and hopefully with more users, they’ll be able to put more time into making it a better experience.