Tag Archives: feature

Twitter Android App: Beauty is in the detail

I’ve been a Twitter user for about 6+ years and have started accessing Twitter via their Android app a few months back. Not surprisingly my usage of Twitter has grown manyfold since I’ve moved from Tweetdeck to Android app, and frankly the reasons are obvious.

1) Great app
2) Continuous availability/access

The android app for twitter is one of the most beautifully (think usability) designed apps. It has just the right buttons at the desired places, most intuitive functionality and easy on the eye. Here’s a little example of the nifty app’s detailing

Twitter Android App - Timeline

As you can see, the timeline view has app the possible things a user would want to do

General – Most Used (Excluding replies, discovery etc)

  1. Compose a tweet
  2. Search
  3. Follow someone

Pertaining to a tweet in Timeline

  1. Reply to a tweet
  2. Retweet a tweet
  3. Favourite a tweet

Now all these are great but an extra case comes for Retweets. Not only would I want to interact with the tweet but I might also want to follow the person whose tweets are being RTed


Yes, that little highlighted icon is what caught my attention. Here ‘Chris Messina’ who I follow, RTed a tweet from Samantha (whom I don’t follow). and Twitter’s app cleverly shows a tiny icon along these tweets which lets users follow the person whose tweets are being RTed. A quick click on this and you are done

Follow the RTed person

That’s a nice example of putting relevant features beautifully without affecting the user experience. I’d love to talk more about the app sometime.

Want to download a file from Scribd? Upload one – Part II

A couple months back I wrote about an interesting(weird?) feature of Scribd that asked me to upload a file in order to let me download another. I wasn’t the only one who found this ridiculous (read comments) and obviously it didn’t go down well with some of us. I happened to run into that feature (which I had almost forgot) again while trying to download one of the featured documents from the site. Here’s what I got after clicking the download link

scribd_presentations need an audience

Oh, so instead of a boring textual message we now have a graphic trying to convince us that in the benefit of community we should upload more presentations. I like most other users(presummably) on the internet didn’t let this deviate it from the goal I started with and clicked “Maybe Later” but folks at Scribd were equally adamant in not letting anyone download something from their servers without getting anything in return (who needs Attention, Engagement etc?) so I got this

scribd_subscribe or continue to download

Right, So if I am not uploading a file I might as well follow(or subscribe) to some people which Scribd feels match my needs(or their’s ?). For a second I can understand the upload presentations prompt, but prompting users to SUBSCRIBE to other users when all they really want is to download a goddamn presentation ?

O Scribd, what were you thinking ?

Apparently there’s another graphic that one gets to see while attempting to download a presentation

scribd_giving back to the community

Thankfully unlike last time Scribd has not only made it optional(maybe later) to upload a presentation before getting to download, they also tell you that you won’t be prompted to upload once you’ve uploaded two presentations or more.

scribd dont worry

(Footer of those upload prompts)

As mentioned in last post I don’t think that forcing users like this works well. Not only does it irritates users it also leads(or might lead) to people submitting random garbage just to get around the needless hurdles like these.

What do you think about these prompts?

Is there a win-win solution for such situations (for both site owners and users) ?

Slideshare Listens and Acts: Makes changes to notification email

Among many notifications mails like  Facebook comments and Twitter followers  that I got today one was from Slideshare informing of a new follwer. I was about to delete it almost as soon as it opened/loaded but then something caught my eye. Something had changed.  Here’s what the email looked like on 10th August when I took this screenshot.

follower email old

I had written about the use of both terms(follower and contact) in this email and how it isn’t the best thing to be done here.  In two days since I wrote that blog post, things have changed and I assume that post of mine might have been one of the reasons behind the change in email template which now looks like this
new format for follower email

The usage of term follow/follower/following is consistent now in all the three instances. Also, the profile url is now hidden under ‘here’, unlike being posted in open which is a good thing as it saves space and looks neat.

All in all good change, thumbs up Slideshare !!

Slideshare were you really listening ? 🙂

update: Slideshare acknowledged listening to the post I wrote

slideshare tweet

Slideshare: Follow or Add as a contact ?

Got a mail from Slideshare notifying about a new follower. Curious, I opened the email and here’s what I saw.

slideshare new follower mail

If you haven’t noticed what I mean, there are two different terms being used to represent an action i.e. Follower and Contact. While the subject reads ” lindamoodbell is now following you on Slideshare” the very first line in email reads “lindamoodbell added you as a contact on Slideshare”.

So is lindamoodbell following me on Twitter oops Slideshare or has she added me as a contact ? And if they mean the same thing why are these terms loosely used for each other?

Interestingly the email also mentions that I can too add her as contact on Slideshare(no mention about following her back)

I wrote about the changes from term contact/friend etc to follower in both Scribd and Slideshare here and mentioned how exisiting users might find these changes in terminology confusing. A look at lindamoodbell’s page on Slideshare confirms this.

slideshare profile page

Not even a single mention of word follow/follower by users. While Slideshare might want its users to follow each other, its users seem happy adding each other as just contacts.

What do you think about these changes ?

Add your mobile number for Gmail’s password recovery

If you know it already, good, but if you don’t, here’s the thing

Now you can also add your mobile number as one of the password recovery mechanisms for Gmail


So now there’s another option to retreive your Gmail password and what’s cool about this is that you don’t need to depend on your seconday email anymore  . I think this should make life a simple in case someone looses their Gmail password.

Forgot your password ? Go to password assistance page and enter your username/email. Google will sms/text you a code on your mobile which you can use to get back on track.

Here’s a test for the new work flow

Step 1:


Step 2:

I just added my mobile number and went for the recovery option.  Contrary to what Google says, I haven’t received any sms, though I did get an email on my alternate email account. So for now we can’t say it this option is working for India but in any case the new feature/change sounds good(and safe) and I think we all should  go for it

Facebook adds choice to not see new friend’s posts on your home page

While there are news about bigger updates from Facebook I saw another new feature. While accepting friend requests now you can choose if you want to get their (new friend’s) posts on your home page. This is a nice li’l change that lets you be proactive in deciding what appears on your home page as opposed to what does not appear on your home page.

A small yet useful change, what say ?


Also, if you happen to be in this pic, I suggest you share a bit about yourself to help me with ‘Confirm’ or ‘Ignore’

Want to download a file from Scribd ? Upload one

It’s been quite a while since I used Scribd and it will be a while till I use it again. Why ? Because of this

In order to download “HEADSET BROS – SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY”, please upload at least 1 more of your documents first.

In order to download “HEADSET BROS – SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY”, please upload at least 1 more of your documents first.

Yes, this is what I ran into while downloading a document from Scribd. It’s pretty ingenius of Scribd guys to ask you to upload a file before downloding one. Since there are no visible checks on the file you upload, I am not sure how many junk files would have been uploaded on Scribd since they launched this fantastic modification in the download feature.

O Scribd, what were you thinking ?

Update: Scribd has made some changes to the feature that are covered in a post here

Changes in Twitter’s notification emails

A Twitter Phishing Attempt ? This was the first thing that came to my mind when I saw this email in my inbox


Not used to seeing a new twitter follower mail like this ever I was a bit alarmed, to find out more I checked what URL were the hyperlinks pointing to and as it turned out the hyperlinks were all pointing to twitter.com. Then it occured to me that maybe twitter has changed the format of it’s notifcation mails, which as it turns out is the case. Here’s what the older follower notification mail looked like.

The new format of notification definitely looks better and adds value by sharing more information about the “new follower” like their profile picture, number of updates, follower and following count. Also, a small extention to this change could be to also share the one line user bio, that’ll further assist users to know more about their new follower and in turn be helpful in deciding if they should follow them back or not.

Let’s see what the change could mean

1) Reduction in number of clicks/visits to the site: Needless to say, a lot of views which twitter was getting due to new follower notification will go down as the details in many cases would be sufficient for the person being followed to not follow back(not popular, newbie, bot etc)

2) Increase in usage of block feature: Since identifying bot/spam users will become easy and the notification now also has a block button, the usage of block feature will rise and might lead to more cases of spam account deletions.

3) Better Tracking: Since the new notification mails have hyperlinks with analytics tracking code, their usage metrics will be recorded and can be improved

These are some of the possible implications of this change, there would be some more interesting patterns that’ll emerge with time for ex: peope might start to decide if someone is worth following back by just seeing their following/follower ratio(which isn’t always right) or people with beautiful/interesting pics will get more follow backs.

What do you think about these changes ? Do you think the service should notify its users about such changes ?

PS: Did you notice the order of user stats in the mail with their follower count on top ?