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I am currently assisting in the development of an app for mobile and the web. Someone recently pointed out that we haven't discussed the "About" view yet. My first reaction was, "Do we need one?"

An example of what I am talking about:

Chrome's About view

But that's a desktop application. Though SE sites have them too.

Are "About" views necessary in web and mobile apps? If so, what should they do? Is there any information out there about how often users actually look at these screens? Should it be easily accessible? Do users care or is it mostly a legal thing? (It took me a while to find it when Firefox 4 came out because they moved it to inside the Help menu)

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Related: what to put in the about box? –  Patrick McElhaney Dec 4 '11 at 0:45

4 Answers 4

Yes. While there is no standard for what the About should contain, it is in fact very useful. I especially think this holds true for popular applications.

The "About" in terms of an application will normally contain a summary of info about the Application itself, such as:

  • Summary of what the app does, why it was developed.
  • Version info, which comes in handing when the user needs support.
  • Developer and contact info.
  • Support info.
  • Legal info.

This is just an example of what can be added to it. And some will find if very helpful for you to store that info with each version of your app.

And since almost any website you visited contains an "About", because most user may want to have some basic information on the person, and or service the website is for; The "About" page is just for that. And rightly named so.

In my opinion, it is VERY important. Also I find it annoying that on the iPad; I have to leave the App and go into the App Store, or log-in into my apple account, just to find the version info. Although some iPad App developers were smart enough to put it in various places, like in a pop-up screen when you click an info icon on the main screen of the app. However, I would like to see a more standard place like with desktop Apps and websites.

Even Google has one on their home page on the lower right corner, check it out.

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On desktop apps the about window is mainly useful to verify which version you are currently running (at least in my experience).

On web apps it is useful to find contextual information about the idea behind the site, It is useful since visitors could came from different sources to different parts of the site.

On mobile apps it is not so useful since most mobile platform (e.g., iPhone and Android) manage this basic information on their app stores.

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On the iPhone a common solution to displaying this information is to do it via the device's global settings instead of from inside your app (go to settings and scroll to the bottom).

If you're using open source libraries etc. this is usually the best place to credit them. It is also always good practice to include a license agreement and copyright information.

Keynote 'About' information in Global Settings page

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These screens are crucial to establishing and reinforcing trust in your application.

Who built it? If I am having a problem, what technical information can/do I pass along?

These areas are a great way to remove content that would otherwise clutter up the UI (release notes, terms & conditions, legal info, etc).

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