Don’t let your lack of mental math skills embarrass you when the bill hits the table. Whip out your smartphone and fire up Gratuity for iOS or Perfect Tip for Android; they’re simple enough to work quickly and gorgeous enough to be the talking point.
Some people are able to look at the bill at the end of a meal and quickly calculate the right tip and how much everyone owes. Of course, that ability is directly affected by how many drinks you’ve had! Regardless of that, these apps are meant to relieve you of any cognitive stress—go play some mental math games if that’s what you want—and come up with the right amount to pay.
How Perfect Tip Works
Perfect Tip provides a visual clue to your tip calculation, just in case those numbers appear blurry to you right now. The greener your background gets, the better the tip is. The closer it gets to red, the worse the tip is.
This simple, minimalistic interface is one of the reasons to love Perfect Tip. The large keypad makes it easy to type numbers, no matter how inebriated you are, and the amount is displayed in a big font. Put in your total amount, the percentage you want to tip, and how many people there are. Perfect Tip will instantly give you the cost of the tip and the even split of the full bill for everyone.
You can find some great apps to split the bill on the iPhone, but Gratuity is the best I have seen. It also sports a minimalistic design that looks gorgeous and will immediately catch the eye of the whole table. To make things simpler, the app requires a bit of setting up.
There are three standard food bill sections you have: dining, bar, and delivery. And there are three smiley faces, each corresponding to a percentage you get to set in the app’s options. The smiley faces correspond to excellent, satisfactory, and terrible — and it’s your choice as to what percentage that means for what type of food bill.
Once everything is set up, Gratuity gets super easy. Enter the bill amount, choose the section, and rate your service by looking at the smiley faces — it’s a nice touch, where you aren’t dealing with numbers directly but emotions. Add the number of people and you’ll get your total amount and the final split of how much each person owes.
The problem with both Gratuity and Perfect Tip is that they don’t take into account one common element of splitting a bill—rounding off. If the calculation says each person owes $92, chances are most people at the table will give a full $100 and forget the $8. And just like that, you will have tipped more than you intended to.
Gratuity even tried to accommodate this with an option to round off the tip, but that only rounds off the tip, not the even split. These apps, in my opinion, fail to factor in that crucial aspect of splitting the bill. The perfect, even split is important when you are in college and these apps are great for that, but as you grow up, you don’t split hairs when you split bills.
Where Both Apps Succeed: Design & Free
Given that both these apps are free, it’s surprising that they have been designed so well. The flat style and big numbers make it easy to use, and gives an overall sense of the app being zippy.
I also think that design can influence your willingness to show reliance on technology. You are happy to show off your sleek MacBook but don’t want to plonk your clunky and heavy old laptop on the table, right? It’s the same with any technology. A good-looking app is something you are happy to put on the table to calculate your tip — people will actually like how technology is helping them. An old calculator app makes it seem like an effort and people will start wanting to do some mental math instead.
How Much Does Design Matter?
That said, there isn’t any scientific evidence to this and I am saying this based on my own observations. Functionality being the same, how much does form matter? In fact, does design matter enough for you to more readily show off or rely on technology?