For the sake of keeping this blog post brief, I’ll focus on things that annoy me specifically about social media. I took a simple survey of some of my friends (ages 20-25) and asked them what frustrates them about their favorite social media platforms. How is it possible that these companies spend millions of dollars on UX research and design but still can’t seem to get it right? I came across this article from 2013 in Complex Magazine. Although some of these suggestions have actually been implemented, some are extremely unrealistic (as they were meant to be).
I think Instagram ran out of good ideas so they began to just add other platforms’ functions to their own. Of the 400 accounts I follow on Instagram, only 2 accounts routinely use the Instagram story function. Snapchat built themselves on a niche and slightly weird idea. Taking this original concept and adding it on to an entirely different platform didn’t seem to sit well with its users. TechCrunch perfectly summarizes the flaws of Instagram stories.
“Instagram Stories lacks the quality of Snapchat Stories. There are no geofilters, animated selfie lenses, 3D stickers, speed effects or screenshot alerts. The camera isn’t the default home screen for spontaneous recording. And uploads don’t go as smoothly.”
Snapchat was meant for our low-quality posts that weren’t good enough for our high-quality Instagram.
A second Instagram complaint I received was their transition from “likes” to “views” on videos. No one on Instagram cares about “views” (let’s be honest, it’s all about the likes). Although you can click to see the likes, the default for videos shows views. For the unpopular Instagram accounts, it’s quiet depressing to see hundreds of views but only a few likes. Let’s leave the views to Youtube.
Facebook has implemented a lot of changes in the past few years that have really frustrated its users. But most of the time, we forget about these changes days after they happen. Facebook Messenger has been constantly evolving. For iPhone users like me who are always running out of memory, having to download a second app for messenger left me messenger-less for months. However, in the past year, Facebook has implemented a new method of messaging users when someone accepts their friend request. Why do I need two separate notifications telling me that someone added me? Why would I add someone on Facebook and then “Send a message to say hello!”. Unless you’re over the age of 45, I highly doubt this is how you’re using Facebook.
I was anti-Snapchat for a really long time. I didn’t quite see the point of it and it seemed like people were oversharing every small detail of their life. But I eventually caved and joined the Snapchat community. I use it mostly to send annoying snaps to friends and very rarely post a story. When I do send a snap, it’s typically to the same 12 friends. Another source of frustration: why can’t I create “groups” in Snapchat instead of individually clicking on the exact same names every single time? Let’s say I send 4 snaps in one day to 12 friends. That means I click on their names 48 times in one day! With a group function, that would only be 4. Snapchat has also rolled out some big changes in their story functions. The most common feedback I received from my friends was the continuous loop of snap stories. If I click on one friend’s snap story, it doesn’t mean I also want to watch all 20 stories following it. You end up in a vicious cycle of stories that you have to finish watching (mostly because the person can see that you stopped watching half way through).
This one is simple. Why can’t I FaceTime multiple people at the same time the way Google Hangouts can? I’m sure Apple has a reason for this but I think this is a clear area for improvement.
If I’m trying to decide between two restaurants, my immediate reaction is to check the Yelp reviews and ratings. But my friends and I are skeptical of the accuracy of the system. According to an article published in 2015, almost 17% of Yelp reviews are “filtered” out. The filtering works by its own Yelp algorithm. But how do we know these customers actually ate at the restaurant? It seems like there should be a verification process to filter out theses fake customers. Perhaps reviewers can use the Yelp app to scan their receipt as a form of authenticity. Either way, it seems that we rely on Yelp so heavily without really paying attention to it’s large margin of error.
Although my friend survey was far smaller than the research these big platforms conduct, I think there are some real pain points that these companies have an opportunity to improve. Hopefully at least 1 of these suggestions will be pushed out in a future update.
*Thank you Instagram for finally introducing a zoom function so my mom doesn’t keep telling me that the zoom is broken on my phone
images: Facebook Messenger, Zoom gif