[NOTE: This post has been updated to include issues I forgot in the original version and to make corrections that were pointed out by commentators. The order of the issues has also been changed. Thank you to those who took the time to leave comments. It also explains how resolving these issues saves Twitter money by reducing demand on their system resources.]
Have you considered either hiring someone with expertise in usability or hiring a usability consultant? Perhaps you’re leaving lots of areas for Twitter apps to grow on purpose? No? Just in case someone at Twitter might be listening, here are some obvious issues you may wish to resolve:
- SEARCH: Why isn’t there at least a link to search.twitter.com – or better yet why not put it in the right sidebar the way Power Twitter has done?
- More about SEARCH: Why isn’t there a link back to Twitter from the search page?
- It is VERY confusing to new users to receive a Direct Message but not be able to reply to it.
- When replying to Direct Messages please leave us in the INBOX when we send the reply instead of flipping us to SENT and forcing us to click back to INBOX. This is confusing to new users, can result in Tweeters failing to see messages, and every additional click puts additional demand on your resources.
- Tamar pointed out another issue with DMs. She commented, “I’m dependent upon using DMs and every DM sends me to the /sent page. When I click on the person’s name on that page (to possibly follow up), it tries to send ME a DM. Duh.” This should always default to send the DM to the other person and not yourself.
- The Lovable Rogue reminded me that we need a way to bulk delete direct messages.
- Why can’t we unfollow accounts that are suspended? They’re taking up valuable follow space and some of us don’t have any to spare. Delete those so we can follow others!
- Which brings us to the 2000? follow limit. Can’t you use an algorithm that can tell the difference between growing organically and autofollowing? Could we have a way to appeal the limit for very active Twitter users who are supporting your service?
- When we try to follow someone on THEIR Twitter page and we’re at the 2000? limit we don’t get any response when we click on follow: no error, no message, no nothing. This will confuse many.
- Couldn’t you regularly automatically remove suspended accounts? [User Tip: Block them so you don’t have to see them any more.]
- Why must we page through followers pages one at a time? Standard usability calls for a way to AT THE VERY LEAST jump to the last page and ideally click on a number to select a specific page.
- Would showing us whether someone is following us back on our following page be so much to ask?
- Why do we get this error when trying to cancel a pending follow request: “/friend_requests/cancel/10152271 This method requires a POST.” [User TIP: You can’t cancel from your followers page. You have to go to the user’s profile and cancel from there.]
I do want to comment Twitter for offering a service that has become so important and loved to so many. They’ve also done an exceptional job handling a scalability challenge that must be simply enormous. The cute overcapicity whale page makes what could be a negative experience something to smile at instead. That is a great idea.
While some see posts such as this one as “whining”, the real reason we share our frustrations and suggestions is because we love Twitter and want it to improve. What many are not aware of is that these issues have an ENORMOUS impact on the demand on Twitter’s system resources:
- Every unnecessary click that is eliminated is one less call on the servers.
- Making DMs easy to delete reduces how much storage media Twitter needs.
- Simplifying how Twitter works to make it easier to use reduces more erroneous clicks.
- Correcting the error message that most won’t be able to decipher will reduce more clicks.
Less clicks and less stored direct messages means fewer system resources are required which saves Twitter money or allows them to support more demand with existing hardware and software.
This post is not about whining; it is about helping Twitter be the best they can be. I’ve done many posts supporting the use of Twitter including the popular Twitter FriendFeed Quick Start post. I’ve even suggested the best way for Twitter to monetize.
While many prefer not to think about it, a way to support themselves is necessary for any system to grow and survive.
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