Twitter has 99 problems and UX is one of them. The roles of Advanced Search, Analytics and Moments in its ecosystem are uncertain. Therefore, using them is complicated and confusing. In this blog post I am looking at each feature, its malfunctions and how they can be improved. Feel free to join the discussion.
I am not sure whether it is worth anything to complain about Twitter. At this point, it seems like talking to a brick wall (not that wall). The company's financial results are as disappointing as is the average engagement. Yet, little has been done to overturn this.
Jan Rezab, the founder of Socialbakers, suggests pre-filtered feeds for sports, news, etc (this is something Facebook has been contemplating over the last year under the name 'Trending Topics'). He is also against the notion the company should sell - because there's so much room for improvement. And indeed, there is.
All the more so it comes as a surprise Twitter user base grew more than 4 per cent. A lot of this has to do to with US elections. Thanks to president Trump's activity it has become major source for journalists to report on the new administration. People have recognized this is where the debate takes place and they want to be a part of it. This is the first of Twitter's many problems. There are bots and trolls among these users. They have to go. The site has become too important to let bots and trolls spread fake news and incite [cyber] violence. I spend most of my work days on both Facebook and Twitter. The former is doing, or at least is re-assuring the world it is doing, something to combat fake news and its sources. The latter is...trying to sell us 10,000 characters in a post and the Moments. It's a mess.
Twitter has recently announced they are combating low-quality tweets. This means less relevant replies will be hidden. You will be able to see them, but only after you click on them. Discouraging bots and trolls from spam and abuse is the first step toward stopping them. Read more about the news here.
One of the things Jan mentions in his vlog is User Experience (UX) on both desktop and mobile. Let me go through a few examples to demonstrate the effort it takes to use Twitter on a desktop.
Social media managers who manage brands presence on Twitter must use this. It's the best way to find relevant conversations, tweets and accounts for targeting and talking to.
It takes 3 clicks to access Advanced Search:
- Click the Search box
- Write something. It doesn't have to be the thing you are searching for since you're doing this just to access Advanced Search (sigh)
- Ignore the search results and click 'Show' next to 'Search filters' on the left
- Click Advanced Search. You're in!
If nothing comes up in your Advanced Search, or you just want to tweak phrases, sentiment, whatever, you have to fill in the information all over again! It's like filling in tax forms!
The fact there's no way of editing Advanced Search is painful. It hits especially hard when you fill in all 12 search fields.
My suggestion: put Advanced Search in the top bar. The Search is already there. Why would you hide this useful feature?
I love this feature, but... Analytics is available to everyone. This is the place where you get to see data about your activity. Which is nice, but if you are not a company, brand, or maintain a personal brand chances are you are never going to use it.
Twitter should start distinguishing between business and personal profiles.
Hence, make Analytics only available to those who really need it and upgrade it to their preferences.
What I don't like about this feature is that when I click on a tweet in Tweets tab I can't get to the tweet. It does show the data, but I want to be able to see it on my profile. There might be replies that need my attention, the RTs may come from influencer accounts, maybe I just want the URL or include the tweet in Moments.
Another amazing set of stats Twitter provides for everyone (again, why?) is Audience. This is where you can see interests, gender, demographic and lifestyle insights on your followers. Pretty neat. But what I really want is to see how much my audience grew over a set period of time. This I can't because Twitter only shows you the last 2 months. Users should be able to select a date range just like in the Tweets tab (and do an export on Audience as well).
My suggestion: start recognizing business and personal profiles, allow businesses to access their tweets from the Tweets tab, and provide further data on Audience growth.
Discussion point: Twitter introduced, and killed, Dashboard last year. Could it have been a success story if it was integrated as business profile option?
I get Moments. I really do, and I think it could be a solid part of the site. If it wasn't so disintegrated, of course. The same goes for Analytics. Both of these are somehow foreign to Twitter ecosystem.
Analytics open in new window, and there's no way of locating tweets on your profile from Analytics.
In Moments, you have to find tweets manually if you want to include them. You can choose from Tweets I've liked, Tweets by account, Tweet search, Tweet link.
Moments are supposed to tell stories by combining a bunch of tweets. What I would like to do is go to Twitter Analytics -> choose the best Tweets I want to combine -> add them to Moments.
This is impossible since I can't access the tweets from Analytics (nor can I add them to Moments straight from Analytics) so I am left to scroll my profile and look for them. The good thing is you can add them to Moments right from your profile (once you find them, of course).
One more thing Twitter needs to deal with
Still, it feels like Twitter is rolling out new features like Moments and forgetting to educate users on how to use them, let alone gather feedback. There's almost zero promotion and communication of new features. Which is a shame, because storytelling function such as Moments is exactly what social media needs these days.
If there were elections for Twitter CEO I am sure one of the candidates would be boasting with "Make Twitter Great Again!" kind of a slogan, but just like in the real life - this is not what Twitter needs. It is already great, it just needs integration. Advanced Search, Analytics and Moments need to play bigger role in its ecosystem, but first they have to be a part of it.