Crowdsourcing Applications : Thumb vs Formspring

We all seek the opinion of others, me especially, I’m constantly posting on forums and communicating with others on the internet. However, the disadvantage with forums is that responses are often slow. You will normally have to wait a few hours, if not days, until you get a reply for your question.

In the past few years, a different approach to forums has arisen and these come in the form of crowdsourcing apps where you can post a quick question and get even quicker responses. Of course, these are more trivial than forums, but their simplicity and immediacy attract a huge audience.

Two of the biggest apps to crack this market are Formspring and Thumb. Both are brilliant in their own right, but today on Android.Appstorm I am going to compare the two on key features to find out which is the best. Read on to find out!

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Creating an Account

The first obstacle after downloading an app is to create an account. This is a bit easier in Thumb as you have options to sign in with Facebook, Twitter and your standard email address with a password. In contrast, in Formspring you can either use Facebook or email addresses.

Personally, I’m more of a Twitter guy so I would have loved to be able to sign in with my account in Formspring. However, once you’re signed into the application you can link Twitter to the account — which did make me a bit happier.

Asking a Question

The most important feature you need (in an app of this genre) is a quick way to post your thoughts to the world and get a response.

Let’s start with Thumb. Clicking “Ask” at the top brings me a simple display which lets me quickly type my question and pick a certain category. I also need to add a picture, either by taking a new photo, picking an existing one from my gallery, or doing a quick search on the internet. I was testing Thumb on the 10th of June, a day before Apple’s big WWDC event so I just asked the question “Who’s excited for WWDC tomorrow?”

Asking a question is simple on Thumb.

Asking a question is simple on Thumb.

I picked the “Apps, Technology And Gadgets” section and added a picture of the WWDC logo — all of this took roughly fifteen-seconds. Almost 10 seconds later, a notification popped up on the results tab. Here, I saw that 22 people have voted, 29% are thumbs up and 71% thumbs down, with five neutrals. I can also see the users who have responded and add them as friends.

Results of my question after roughly thirty seconds.

Results of my question after roughly thirty seconds.

Now I’ll post the same thing but on Formspring. Again using the same question, I can choose to only send to certain people or share on my social networks. Similarly, I can add pictures, however, Formspring doesn’t have the fast web search ability that I loved on Thumb. Another thing I disliked was that I couldn’t choose a category to post the question in. Thumb had an extensive list that really helped me ask the most appropriate people. I would have loved something like this on Formspring.

Asking a question on Formspring isn't as enjoyable.

Asking a question on Formspring isn’t as enjoyable.

After waiting five minutes on Formspring for any form of response, there was nothing indicating the opinion of other users. The whole purpose of a crowdsourcing app is to have quick and helpful responses that help you make decisions or allow you to interact with others. Unfortunately, Formspring doesn’t seem to have an active and vibrant community and in turn really disappointed me. Thumb is a clear winner in this section.

Answering the Questions

Another aspect a crowdsourcing app should excel at is allowing you to answer others’ questions.

Again, on Thumb this is handled with flair. On the opening page, tap on “Give Your Opinion” and you will be taken to a random question that you can filter into a specific category. From this page, you can quickly thumbs up, thumbs down or leave a comment on the random questions which appear in front of you. This whole process is fast and effective.

Answering questions on Thumb is fun and fast

Answering questions on Thumb is fun and fast

On Formspring, this just wasn’t as straight forward. If you look in your Inbox, you will see some random questions but all you’ll be able to do is reply with is a comment. If Formspring really wants to compete with the ease of Thumb, they really need to reorganise their application.

The same process on Formspring doesn't really do it for me

The same process on Formspring doesn’t really do it for me

Additional Settings

I often find that it is the extra settings you can tweak that make an app brilliant or not. They usually give me the chance to customize and really make the app my own.

In Formspring, you can access the settings from the bottom of the page. Here you can configure Facebook and Twitter, change your profile picture and set up when you get notifications. These are all great settings, but they’re definitely not extensive enough.

The settings on Formspring

The settings on Formspring

In Thumb, you need to go into the “Me” tab at the top. As you can see in the picture below, I already have a profile picture on my page. This was automatically added when I logged in with my Twitter account — a nice little addition.

The profile pages are simple and clean.

This profile page is simple and clean.

Once you enter settings, you can change the same things as Formspring such as social network sharing and notifications. There are additional settings such as writing a personal Bio, setting your location and letting people know your relationship status. This makes the app far more personal and better at building friendships with others on the service.

The settings in Thumb.

The settings in Thumb.

The Interface

If you’ve found yourself reading my reviews in the past, you’ll know that the way an app looks is vitally important to me. When I find an unattractive app, it’s extremely doubtful that I’ll not uninstall straight away.

And the most recent victim of, in my opinion, an unappealing UI is Formspring. The whole app has a constant and bland light blue colour scheme and just seems bulky and not enjoyable to use. For example, the main page has four tabs at the top for navigating between different sections of the app, which are too big and stick out. This and the overall UI are absolute deal breakers.

On the other hand, Thumb is wonderful to look at. The developers here have chosen a dark black/grey background with green buttons and everything works perfectly together. Everything that is bad with the Formspring interface is far better in Thumb and that is one of the main reasons I would use it far more.

Everything, including the front page, is beautiful on Thumb

Everything, including the front page, is beautiful on Thumb

If you’re someone who appreciates great aesthetics and values them highly, you will struggle to resist the beauty of the Thumb UI.

Thumb or Formspring? Which Should You Use?

If you’ve read through this review, you would find it hard to point any aspect above where Formspring surpassed Thumb. While Formspring is a good app by itself and does allow you to enter the vast world of crowdsourcing, it isn’t nearly as good as Thumb.

Thumb has a fantastic interface allowing you to navigate quickly and an active userbase that is eager and fast to send you responses. And if I haven’t been clear already, if I were to recommend one app to you this week it would definitely be Thumb. After testing this app over the last few days, I’ve been blown away by its quality — I will definitely continue to use it in the future!

What about you? Which of these crowdsourcing applications do you use? Let us know below.