Still on break, with plenty of time to think about and use various forms of social media. The commentary below is relevant to the most updated versions of the respective Android apps as of today’s date.
Note: Some popular apps are not listed because I don’t use them often, not because they have no quirks.
Note: The following articles talk about what I find troublesome from a user perspective. In many cases, I will have no suggestions on how to improve the app, as I don’t have the appropriate ui/ux background. I apologize for this in advance.
1. Facebook Messenger
I gotta say, Messenger has come a long way. There were the days in the transition phase when we resisted having 2 apps for one Facebook experience, but through trial and error it was indeed for the best. The modern Messenger has become its own master, and I have friends who use it exclusively, preferring messaging to posting statuses anyway.
- Quirk A: Phone / Video button placement
No less than five time have friends or I accidentally pressed the phone or video button while (i) trying to minimize chat bubbles, (ii) dragging out the Android notification panel, or (iii) trying to press the corner settings button for more settings. Only one of my friends uses the phone functionality, and none of my friends use the video functionality – we choose Hangouts or Skype. Perhaps Facebook wants its users to use phone / video functionality more by putting it in a more prominent place, but for users who are already loyal to other apps, this is unwanted, and it is rather frustrating to accidentally call other people because of how easy it is to accidentally tap. I’d prefer it be in a less prominent area, such as in the side menu.
- Quirk B: Emoticons, chat colors, and nicknames
It’s super cool that Facebook manages to ship out so many updates, fixes, and new features in such short spurts of time. However, I wonder what kind of process is held whenever a new functionality is being proposed. I never wanted chat colors or nicknames to be added – perhaps this is a test for more user feedback? I find these features to bloat the Messenger experience, instead of complementing it.
Emoticons, on the other hand, have been very welcome in my friend groups, but it doesn’t add much to existing conversation. The good old thumbs up meant anything and everything, and all these emoticons that can now replace the thumbs up are being interpreted in roughly the same way. But with so many options, with no clear distinction over why I’d pick one over the other – it’s overwhelming.
Not to mention, that the thumbs up has 3 sizes, and the rest of the emoticons have only 2. That was hard to get used to.
- Quirk C: Search
Whenever I have to recall a particular snippet of conversation, I need to go to my browser version of Facebook, access Messages (fb.com/messages), and then type in my Search query. Perhaps Search isn’t used enough to warrant its place in the mobile version of Messenger, but it’s disorienting to have functionality present in fb.com/messages that isn’t present in messenger.com or the mobile app.
Spotify is a huge part of my work and play life, and is extremely valuable to me as a student. I adore the Discover Weekly functionality, having trouble setting aside time to dig around and discover music all the time. However, my prolonged usage has exposed some irritations I currently have with the layout of the app.
- Quirk A: Playlists
Spotify thrives in its playlist-centric focus. From Discover Weekly delivered in a playlist, from the easy way to follow and make playlists, from being able to use the API to embed Spotify playlists on sites – it’s incredible, and its one of the reasons I love Spotify.
It is due to this that I have a hard time understanding why the Spotify landing page does not more prominently feature my playlists, but instead displays my Recently Played.
Users don’t use the History function in the desktop version of Spotify (in fact, I didn’t know there was a History until recently), so it’s strange that something like Recently Played is given such a hot spot on the landing page in the mobile version. I believe it would make more sense to have recently played playlists displayed instead. As for Recently Played albums and songs…
- Quirk B: Recently Played
I once wanted to add the last 10 songs I played onto a playlist. This was impossible, because the Spotify mobile app only keeps tracks of the albums, not the songs. It would be great to have some kind of History playlist.
- Wish A: Playlist Genre Organization
Based upon the success and accuracy of Discover Weekly, it seems that Spotify has accumulated enough models and data to be able to predict what songs go better with each other. I’m a huge fan of visualization and would absolutely love if Spotify provided a dynamic view of your playlist in terms of how songs relate to / are similar to each other.
For example, I have a playlist of “feel-good” songs, but they go across many genres. It’d be great to have a way to somewhat put these songs along some spectrum, so I could listen to dance-pop “feel-good” and then country “feel-good” within the same playlist, and have this kind of control.
In addition, being able to sort playlists by song release date would be handy.
- Wish B: What Playlists include a Song
I have a good collection of playlists after 4 years, and sometimes end up adding duplicates across multiple playlists. Spotify tells you when adding songs if the playlist contains it, but given a song, I’d love to have a list of what playlists contain it, instead of having to add the song in order to know.
I’ve been using Pinterest on and off over the past few years. I recently reentered the fray this break, and discovered a new plethora of things to enjoy, as well as things to question.
- Quirk A: Following Users and Boards
If you follow a user, you automatically follow all their boards, and auto-follow new boards they create. You add 1 to their follower count, as displayed on their profile page.
If you follow a user, and later on unfollow some or all their boards, you still auto-follow their new boards. The only way to disable this auto-follow phenomenon is to unfollow the profile.
Also: Say a user has 100 boards. You want to follow these boards, but you don’t want to auto-follow their new boards. You’d have to manually click “follow board” 100 times.
In terms of design there is not enough distinction between a board profile and a user profile, as the follower counts on each mean different things. On a user profile, it is the number of users who follow your entire profile and auto-follow new boards. On a board profile, it is the number of users who follow the board, who many not necessarily follow your profile. It would be more intuitive to have the user profile act like a superset of the board profiles, and have follower counts represent the unique users who follow any portion of your profile, including boards.
- Quirk B: Pinterest Feed Unfollowing
Sometimes when you’re browsing your feed and you choose from the menu to then unfollow a board or a person, it’s not clear which one is the person and which one is the board. Icons would be nice.
Thank you for reading this far!
Let me know what you think in the comments, about whether you agree or disagree with my thoughts and why. This is the first article I’ve posted that acts as a criticism, so if you liked it or not, I’d appreciate feedback.