Twitter adds photo sharing… Better late than never.

What is blurry, noisy and shared on Twitter in the millions? Bad cell phone pictures! Photo sharing has almost single handedly helped propel Twitter it to 200 million users. That’s why it’s surprising that Twitter itself has never had that feature baked in, it’s always been provided by 3rd parties such as Twitpic and yFrog. On June 1st, Jack Dorsey announced that Twitter will be providing their own photo sharing service. It will start with the website and then propagate to their cell phone clients. Did you hear that sound? That was the sound of Twitpic and yFrog crying out in despair.

This is going to be great for users because it will streamline the whole photo uploading aspect of Twitter. You can just dump a photo into the website and post it. Viewing photos will be consistent and build right into or their mobile applications, alleviating the need to navigate to another page. It is also going to bring some slick features such as trending photos, where photos that are getting traffic will be displayed on Twitter. Now imagine if they add promoted photos, letting marketers pay to have a photo displayed on the side of users’ profiles. How much better will it be to promote a picture than a little text trend with a yellow text icon next to it?

Twitter has been slowly taking back control over the entire Twitter experience from 3rd parties; first with official mobile apps, then with their own URL shortener and now with photo uploading. Expect this to continue as Twitter continues to tighten their grip and find ways to fully monetize their 200 million minions.

Thoughtful Interruption

Just imagine you’re at your desk. I walk up to you, slap you on the back, ask you to read something and stick a piece of paper in your face. What are you thinking? It’s probably, “This better be good…” That scenario is what you’re doing every time you send something to your social media network. Whether it’s personal, professional or client-related, it interrupts your followers. They have to stop what they’re doing and read the words, visit the link, act on the call to action. They are giving you their time, which is a pretty slim commodity these days.

Often, marketers post things to their networks that ask someone to do something. Engage with me! Sign-up for me! Comment on me! It’s not hard to annoy people if you’re not considerate of their time and attention. Why do you think we all dislike telemarketing so much (LET ME EAT IN PEACE)? James Shelley puts it wonderfully, “As the sum total of digital content breaches the levees our attention, the act of subscribing to your feed is a sacred act of trust.” Users are trusting us to not drive them batty with 15.58 million tweets a day. Keep your content relevant. Keep it succinct. A perfect what-not-to-do example: The Auto-Direct-Message.

I come into work and fire up my Twitter client. Awaiting me is 11 direct messages from the night before. Each one says some form of: “Thanks for following! I’m really glad we’re bff’s now, literally. If you wanna be super-bff’s for extra forever, friend me on Facebook!” I don’t even let it annoy me anymore. I simply laugh and hit Mark All As Read. Just because your users haven’t unfollowed/unliked/unsubscribed doesn’t mean they’re still listening. Before every post make sure that it really is worth interrupting the people that will see it. If it is then your user will want to interact with you.

How Online Has Changed the Customer Experience

Online Consumers Shop Differently Now & Forever More

Over the years, we’ve all grown quite attached to our Internet. We can’t help but use it to find info, connect with friends, or to buy more stuff. You know the phrase “shop in your underwear” rings quite true. So while we move away from heading over to the store and move forward to buying it online, online retailers and companies are finding the importance of creating a comfortable online user experience for their consumers.

Online Consumers Shop Differently Now & Forever More

We all know that the web has become an instant gratification hub. We are so used to firing up Google, reading reviews on Yelp, or asking friends on Facebook for their feedback. Everything is at our fingertips, and we’ve become saavy enough to find pretty much anything we want. And while good ol’ word of mouth has always been part of the equation, the research and buying process has become quite snappy. As consumers, we’ve become spoiled rotten. We’ve got these ideas of what our experience should be like: fun, easy, flowing, visually appealing, and even segmented or customized to our direct needs. It’s no longer just about who’s offering the best product, but who’s offering it the easiest.

A Window into Customer Service

It goes beyond that, however. The customer experience is more than just the interactions that happen at checkout. Now we expect our favorite companies to be present online so we have a direct line should something go awry in any portion of the buying or experiential process (think @comcastcares).

It’s more than just just a tweet.

On the flip side, companies need to do more than just have an easy purchase process or a Twitter account for customer service questions. They’ve got to bring it all together and close that loop: integrate everything from their brick and mortar locations, ad messages, online presence, social network engagement, purchase process, and even post-purchase experiences. And as ad folk, we are continually learning the importance of helping these companies bring that brand experience full circle.

The Future of UX

Needless to say, focusing on creating a substantial online experience is the future. Company sites are going to become more personalized to your interests, needs, and desires. Even more so, companies should focus on creating an interactive experience that encourages sharing, reviews, and feedback. Consumers are already apt to share the things they love with friends and family, so making that an easy option will only encourage interaction with a brand message. To boot, consumers are continually inundated with online options, so companies that create a great user experience are going to have the upper hand amidst heavy competition. And frankly, to stay afloat, there is no other option than to create just that.

How have you seen the customer experience change? What about it excites or frightens you?