software thoughts

Twitter UI hates lists

Today I noticed some changes to the Twitter list UI. Upon viewing a profile I thought to myself, hmm, this looks cleaner. I then realized a button was missing, the list selection. Looking around I couldn’t find it anywhere. Clicking around I noticed they moved lists into the options menu, where I would normally go to Block or Spam a user.

This make logical sense especially if they are planning more features to go in this menu. But I have two problems with the change.

  1. It adds another click and wait to add someone to a list
  2. Previously that button was always associated with the negative actions for a user

Neither of these problems are earth shattering but it changes how I use I put every person I follow (and some I don’t) into a list. Some of my lists are overflowing and a change like this leads me to believe Twitter is moving away from lists. Over the course of design changes, originally you were to be able to access lists on the right column directly as links. Now they are hidden above the main stream and even then it doesn’t show you all your lists in one click.

Less and less emphasis on lists

Changes like this can make a large impact on how users interact with a service. Although Twitter isn’t publishing future plans things like this are great insight into what they think are important.

Lists show expertise and authority

For me, seeing what lists a user is on tells more about them then their bio, the number of followers, or even who we follow in common. Twitter lists are like crowd sourced tags for users. It’s an objective way to tell people what you are all about. The harder Twitter makes it to list people the less they will get used and harder it will be one less way to determine the “authority” of a user.

3 replies on “Twitter UI hates lists”

The worst part of the Twitter list redesign is DELETING accounts from a list. You have to select “Add to list” and then uncheck the item in the list. Reminds me of Start > …. > Shut down in Windows…..opposite of how my brain works…..

You bring up a great point. The entire experience isn’t taken in to account with the visuals or the labels for lists. I think they are missing huge opportunities with lists.

But then again maybe they have such low adoption of them that it isn’t worth making the experience for. If that is true tho, I still think they are taking the wrong direction to convince people to use them.

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