Finding the right words
Today we worked on a new feature but the challenges were more about what to call it than the functionality.
One of our main objectives with the platform right now is to make it friendlier, more user-centric, and try to make it feel like a collaborative space. Today we were working on a new feature, a views counter for your latest updates so that you know if people have seen your latest update. Mocked up, it looks something like this:
Once we've built the backend, the visual element of this is fairly simple. It needs to convey two pieces of information: How many people have seen the latest update, and who those people are. Simple!
We pride ourselves on how fast we can build new features and constantly improve. We ship a lot and often. It helps keep the product feel alive and fresh, while also getting more useful feedback from users, rather than building something in the dark. This leads to some missed details, so we try to sweat them as much as possible at the design stage.
The difference between "Viewed:", "Seen:", "Seen by", or "Read". They're all applicable to this action we're trying to build but they all have their pros and cons. I think a lot of people would be familiar with the term "views". It's in your social media feed every day, Instagram labels video views as "### views." It's also exactly what it is; we are tracking views. But it does sound robotic and too data-driven. Seen is maybe a term that fits the action better. "Have you seen my latest update?" is a term that we thought better fit the action in our context. Perhaps "read" could work too, the sort of action you would see on an email or a notification. Perhaps we skip this whole conversation and we go with an icon.
Like I mentioned earlier, we move fast, we ship fast. In fact, a version of this is already in product. LIVE. But we're still working out the kinks. Though we spend as much time as we can on the details and getting every term right, we don't get them all and sometimes things just don't always age well. We realized in context to the whole product, the icon with the eye is already in use. It's used as a way to "watch" a goal or page, in order to subscribe to notifications and/or updates. Watch seemed like a no brainer when we were building that feature a year ago, but now it doesn't make as much sense. Having both a "seen" and a "watch" action is confusing. Even if they're different, if those things would theoretically have the same icon to represent it, it starts to muddy the definition of both.
Ultimately, we've decided to move on from watching, and opt for a new term: Follow. These small details are crucial in building a good holistic product experience that your customers love. Every word you choose can mean so much to how a feature is used, how your app is used, or even how your brand is perceived.
We realize these changes can be confusing for some who are used to the platform already... where did that little eyeball go!? Our hopes is that overall this will help clarify things, and we're taking the time to make sure things make sense and that the changes aren't too jarring. We hope that the care we take in our product shows in a positive way, and you continue to enjoy the product.
Stay tuned over the next few days as we plan to roll out these new changes. As always, please help us out by shooting us some feedback at email@example.com, or take our short feedback survey and let us know what you think 💬