If you’re not familiar with TweetDeck its an “Adobe Air desktop application, currently in public beta, that looks to capture the abundance of social media and display it in a unique columned user interface.” Basically its a great way of handling your Twitter account on your desktop.
Hello my name is Paul and I’m a Twitter addict. There I said it, I feel better know. Seeing as I am a smidge addicted I end up using TweetDeck throughout the day and really like they way it works. One of the things I like about it is that you can hover over someones profile photo and gain extra functionality really easily for example the ability to DM or reply to someone as well as the ability to RT (retweet) the entry.
The image above shows the functions as they are represented within TweetDeck in addition to the 3 mentioned above there is a fourth function, the ‘other actions’ menu. This is a relatively recent addition to TweetDeck and adds lots of extra functionality including the ability to ‘view profile’, ‘translate’, and ’email Tweet’ as well as many more.
The extra functions are great but I’ve always had a problem with the way the menu is structured and its inherent inconsistancies.
The above screenshot shows the existing menu and highlights the inconsistencies that have been bugging me. I think the problems and solutions are really basic but would help improve the user interface alot.
- Follow/unfollow. If I’m already following someone why give me the option to follow them? Surely if I’m already following them just show me the ‘unfollow’ option. If I’m not following them then show me ‘follow’.
- Translate/Untranslate. Same as above really, why show both features along side each other?
- Favorite. At least the 2 issues detailed above are consistent, I get that, but one of the things that bugs me is the ‘favorite’ option (apart from the obvious spelling mistake!). This function works in a completely different way. I haven’t marked the selected tweet as a favourite so I am given the option to, thats fine. However, The option doesn’t then change to ‘unfavorite’ once a tweet has been marked as a favourite. To unfavorite a tweet you have to click ‘favorite’. Make sense to anyone? This is straight out of the Microsoft school of UI design (start menu to shutdown – genius).
- Search. Its a minor issue but I think the term search is ambigious in this context. What it actually does is add a new column to your interface that shows search results of all tweets that include the users profile name e.g. willcarling (see example below) . In my opinion the wording of the call to action could be improved slightly.
- Order of importance. Next is the order in which the functions are displayed. I don’t think this is a major issue but surely ‘favorite’ is a pretty popular function, arguably more important than view profile or translate?
Re-aligned action record menu
I’ve mocked-up a version of the action record menu including solutions to each of the issues mentioned above.
- The ‘other actions’ button has been extended to act as a title bar and allow the menu to hang off it.
- As I’m already following @johngoode I’ve removed this option and focused on the relevant action of ‘unfollow’.
- ‘Favorite’ has been moved up as, in my opinion, it as far my likely to be used than most of the other actions in the list.
- ‘Translate’ has been moved further down the list for the same reason.
- ‘Search’ has been extended to ‘add a search’. I’m not sure this is the best way to describe this function but hopefully you get the idea.
- Dividing lines have been added between each action to increase affordance.
Hopefully this is an improvement to the UI, personally I believe it is.
Before I started writing this post I thought I’d check the TweetDeck feedback forum on UserVoice to see if anyone else had picked up on these issues. I subsiquently sat back with a smug satisfaction when I found that I was the first, well at least the first to bother writing about it. Shortly after the smugness followed the nagging sense that this is a really petty issue and that in reality no one else will care one way or the other!
I hope in some way this post has been of interest to someone. If you agree or disagree with my proposed changes or think I’ve missed something out I’d be really interested to hear your opinion, even if its to ease the nagging sense of extreme geekness flowing over me right now. Feel free to leave a comment below or chat to me on Twitter about it.