Twitter Has Its Moment
Is Twitter Moments the natural next step in the evolution of news consumption?
It’s been a rough year for Twitter. Worrying stock prices, sluggish user growth, and recent significant layoffs. As co-founder, Jack Dorsey, comes back temporarily to try to turn things around for the company the first major initiative has been launching Moments, a new service that aims to change the way people interact with the platform. Moments is a collection of current stories, each comprised of a curated list of tweets featuring the best videos, images, and text. Designed to be simple and digestible, each story is marked with the time of the most recent update, only a small number of tweets are displayed, and when you get to the end of the list, that’s it—you’re done.
From Delivery to Discovery
It’s a lot like Snapchat Discover except instead of following publications, users follow stories, and although the two services are very similar, it’s an important distinction. Organizing by publication, as Snapchat does, makes sense in terms of business development but not necessarily user experience. Regardless of its quality, an isolated publication won’t lead you to the best possible content for every story, and ultimately the format was designed for paper, not mobile. Ben Thompson points to the fact that in a digital space where we can access any story from any publication and consumers no longer need to be reached geographically, power shifts to those who control discovery. Think Google, but search engines are really about intentional discovery not browsing—you need to know what you’re looking for. Moments represents news drawn from the best sources in a mobile friendly format that is simple, learnable, and built for browsing.
Learnable here is a key word. Twitter has traditionally been the place that news stories break first, and for savvy users it’s a platform you can customize completely to your interests, hence its huge popularity. The issue is that it is far too difficult for new users to learn the product. With Moments, people can gain access to the experience of discovering an event in real time, without doing all the work to prepare. The bottom line: Twitter is striving to deliver its value faster and more simply. Interim CEO Jack Dorsey commented, “you should expect Twitter to be as easy as looking out the window to see what’s happened.”
Closing Your Newspaper
The new service is part of a larger plan aimed at rescuing the floundering social network and it has huge potential on the business side in terms of advertising. What is immediately obvious is that it’s hitting all the right notes on the UX front. User experience design is really about empathy, about being able to see through the eyes of your user, understand their frustrations and design products that solve problems, simplify and improve lives.
While technology and design have in many ways made our lives more convenient, they have also flooded our day-to-day with new digital products to navigate along with an abundance of information and choice. As screens have become ubiquitous, the never-ending onslaught of a 24 hour news cycle is exhausting. Although it may not provide the tangible satisfaction of closing the last page of your newspaper, Twitter Moments creates finite experiences that simplify the product and hopefully your day.
Got you hooked? Here’s more:
State of the News Media 2015
A mobile majority: explore the current state of news media
What happens when distribution becomes free
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Designing spaces to help people get away from the stress of constant stimuli