Is it so hard to put a notification icon on the top menu bar?
Thank you. Sincerely,
I mean seriously, there are too many inconsistencies going on with the Twitter web interface that confuse the users. But the most annoying (at least for me) is the lack of discoverability regarding their notification system. I don’t know why I still use the web interface, but I always seem to return to it and trust me, I’ve tried many other applications and software (MetroTwit, Twitterrific, TweetDeck or Echofon to just name a few). That certain lack made me reply late to mentions or even direct messages.
There are many ways to skin a cat, but why chase the rabbits?
If we take a simple look at the interface, we can depict different forms of notifications: for starters, there is the blue underline coloring on the top menu bar under the icons; secondly there is the row dedicated to new tweets, interactions or mentions; thirdly and not least, the message icon on the user profile page. This defragmentation leads to an increased number of clicks per task and can lead to frustration. Good thing we rely on other software or mobile applications to do our tweeting, but that doesn’t excuse Twitter’s moral duty to try as much as they can do to deliver a satisfying and personal user experience.
When "less is more" kicks in
Why depart all notifications in separate sections and not simply gather all into one simple, easy to find/access block? Users will know where to click in order to find the information they need and most important they will make just one click to achieve it. Call it a notification center or whatever suits the consumer well, but creating one icon in the menu bar to access them, seems like a logical and instinct driven thing to do. Notification categories can be easy to recognize using small and direct icons (e.g. for retweeting or favoriting) combined with short and smart copywriting. All of this done with the same tone, look and feel of the current Twitter interface.
Moreover we can think of popup alerts displayed at the left/right bottom corners to inform users about the latest feeds or replies. Here, we must be very careful because alerts can become intrusive and annoying as well.
The solution is not revolutionary. Hell, you’ve seen patterns like that on Facebook or on the other Twitter clients and as it may seem common and “been there done that”, why hesitate applying them? Users often react quickly and easily adapt based on prior experiences and this idea may come in handy.
There is still hope
I think with a little more commitment and attention, a few tweaks can improve the quality of the interaction with the web interface. And Twitter can do it. I’ve come up with a design solution to a problem I feel is pushing which each use in just 30 minutes, so what’s holding their design team to do the same thing? My solution is not perfect, but at least I’m raising some awareness.