I downloaded two iPhone apps this morning: Oink & Stamped. Both are well-crafted, simple mobile apps with a similar goal: to share reviews for things. Both have been getting a lot of attention lately.

Although they serve a similar purpose, the first thing I noticed is that they have a very different first-time user experience. Here are the first screens you see in each app :

With Oink, you see an intro and two big buttons to let you sign up easily through your Facebook or Twitter account. The intention here is clear: they want to get you into the app as quickly as possible.

Stamped takes a different approach, the initial message is clear though: just one sentence, and it helps to reinforce their brand: “Put your stamp of approval on the world.” After that, you can go through four well-designed slides to learn what the app does. The emphasis here is education, to explain to new users what Stamped is all about.

In my opinion, Stamped offers a better design for their introduction – but I wonder how many people take the time to go through the slides. As an application, what you want is for people to use it, and the biggest obstacle between a user’s interest in an app and getting them to actually use it is the sign-up form. Oink lets you sign up directly via Facebook and Twitter. Stamped makes you fill out this form:

It’s short, but enough of a hindrance to prevent me from signing up this morning (maybe I’ll do it later, if I remember).

Both Oink and Stamped are created by smart and proven teams, and there are a lot of interesting, custom UI patterns in both apps (I’m particularly amused by Oink’s little loading bar on top). I’d highly recommend that you give them a look, if you’re an iOS user!