The Power of Twitter. Maybe.

This morning, I visited a website of a company when doing some research for an upcoming website project. The website is ‘Nifty forms’ — it’s basically a website which helps you through claiming back tax for research and development purposes in Australia. It’s part of the PWC network.

I’ve visited the site various times over the last few months, and been very impressed by various aspects. Given it’s a ‘sub-brand’ and not part of the main PWC site, it seems they’ve had some creative license to do what they want, and done a great job with look & feel, as well as incorporate some really nice graphics and content.

In fact, I’d started to use it as a reference for a great overall user experience. Having went through their sign-up process and into the application, I had noticed some really great features. I was a fan.

Having spent almost a month on vacation, I came back today and stumbled upon this website again. Although I noticed something different — a new graphic on the home page.

Hmm… that looks familiar.

Being in the role I’m in, I do a lot of researching on tools to use, and straight away I recalled why this design was so familiar. A ‘little’ company that goes by the name of Intercom.

It’s one thing to ‘borrow’ an idea. In fact, in this age of the internet, it’s impossible not to be influenced by other sites, and competitors. But there’s a different between taking an idea and using it as a basis for something and taking an idea and blatantly ripping it off.

Being influenced by the idea = cool.
Just copying it directly = not cool.

In fact

I’ve no idea as to the decision makers involved here and certainly it could be a little more innocent than it seems. But it is telling that having sent them a tweet, I saw that within about 30 minutes they’d taken down the graphic altogether and returned to just the email sign-up.

I thought for a second — was that because of me…? Then about a half hour later the original graphic had returned. Hmm, maybe not.

Later this evening, I got home and had another look.

New graphic.

I have no idea what happened with this website today or why it changed. Perhaps by tweet wasn’t even looked at by PWC and perhaps it was a complete coincidence. They certainly didn’t reply to me on Twitter.

But either way - whether it was a tweet, or someone ‘coming to their senses’, - I think the current state of the site looks a little less Intercom-y than it did this morning, and I definitely feel a little bit happier because of that.

And to Intercom — keep doing what you are doing and leading in the field. Imitation, is the sincerest form of flattery.