Starting something new begins with shipping the first version. I’ve been working on a social media campaign tracking app for a while now. It started early 2015 when helping the Detroit Grand Prix track their social activity leading up to and through race weekend. Although that initial version was launched, it left much to be desired in the codebase, which was thrown together in a weekend and hard coded for a single purpose.
The perfect storm
Over the past year I’ve taken over the Laravel Detroit meetup group and in my spare time continued to re-write the app, multiple times, to learn and use it for various other events. Late last year Taylor Otwell, the creator of Laravel, announced Spark, an addition that would make it easy to stand up a Saas app in Laravel. Jumping on board with the alpha, beta and now final release got me up to speed with Vue.js and gave me some time to think about the intended audience for this social tracking app.
Creator’s ship. This week I was traveling a bit with some more down time than expected, it gave me the excuse to write this up and ship the initial version of the app, version 0.1.
Down to the core, RT Reach is for small business and groups who run multiple events throughout the year and need to report the success and metrics of multi-channel social media campaigns. It tracks account posts, views, reach and most influential accounts per campaign on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube initially. Sums it all up with clear at a glance charts and daily summary emails.
Sound like you?
Initially I’ll be offering concierge onboarding to work with a first set of customers and walk in their shoes to refine the product for a wider audience.
Sign up for early access at https://rtreach.com/
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.
- It adds another click and wait to add someone to a list
- 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 twitter.com. 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.
Looks like Twitter just updated their “following you” email format. I haven’t seen a reference to it on the Twitter Blog yet so it might be pushed out slowly. I have included screenshots of the old and new layouts above for comparison. A few things have been changing:
- The subject now includes the person’s twitter handle
- Location is removed (personally I use it to determine if someone is spammy)
- Removed the “follows x users who follow you” (think this was a good removal, no value lost)
- No more “What’s Next?” to explain how to send an @reply or DM (is this assumed now?)
- Much more in line with updated Twitter homepage and overall look
- Not sure what that check box is doing up there in the top right (it is not clickable)
- The tweets/following/followers placement is far easier to scan
- The large blue “View @person’s profile” is hard to miss as a next step
- Underlines have been removed from all links. The link and text colors are a little too close for my comfort, I wonder how #a11y experts think about the change.
Overall I think Twitter is moving in the right direction but still has a little ways to go. I would love to see the location added back in, links being underlined and the addition of how many lists the user is on. I think the number of lists is a great indication of the impact the twitter has in their community.
Something that has been severely lacking in the official Twitter desktop app has been “multi-window” or multiple view ability. I recently moved from the official app (which I loved because it utilizes stream) to Twitteriffic because it was much easier to follow lists and saved searches.
Open in New Window
The newest update to the Twitter desktop app has completely changed that. Although it is not perfect, you can now take any view and “Open in New Window”. This pops it out of the app into its own fully resizable and movable box. It’s not yet to the point of Nambu’s multi view updating and unread counts but it is a step in the right direction.
I am now totally back on board with the official Twitter app again. Thanks for paying attention guys! 🙂
New Login Page
I also discovered a new download page when I logged out
The feel of the site is clean with far more prominent calls to action. Personally I like the direction they are going, focus on discovery instead of trying to spoon feed suggested topics to a new user.
What do you think?