Ever hit a shortcoming in a popular app and think, “Wow! Hundreds of thousands of people use this app every day, how has this not been implemented/complained about endlessly already??!”
Perhaps everyone has this exact same thought but no one bothers making reaching out to said app’s staff, but I digress…
We asked a couple of app entrepreneurs what changes they would make to popular apps (and threw in a couple of our own). Here’s our list, but be sure to leave a response below letting us know what YOU would add as well:
1. Instagram: Let people screenshot/share just the image from a post.
— Gene Caballero of GreenPal
For years, users who want to save or share an image they see posted on Instagram have two options: Screenshot it and manually re-crop the image, or download a third-party app and give it their login information in order to allow it to repost images to their account.
At its core, social is shareable, so it’s odd that Instagram has ignored the sheer number of people who utilize these workarounds every day.
2. YouTube: Let us play sounds/music from the YouTube app while it is minimized.
— The World.
The number of ad-laden third-party apps that have been created to let people hear the audio from YouTube videos even when the app is not open is staggering.
Be it for listening to music while working on other activities, playing soundscapes while drifting off to sleep but not wanting the screen on, or using YouTube videos like a podcast playlist while at work, people hit up Google every day asking why their favorite video app can’t support this very simple request.
Unfortunately for the world, YouTube does include this now as a feature of its YouTube Red service, so it is unlikely to ever be rolled out to free consumers. Womp womp.
3. Netflix: Shuffle
— Tom Cameron, president @ Digital Pudding Inc.
Tom wrote us suggesting that, when Netflix is being used as background and not just an I.V. drip of new-show-binge-watch, it would be useful to be able to make a list of approved shows and allow them to play an episode in any order.
For example, maybe you just want a random episode of Friends to come on in the background, rather than having to watch in chronological order or manually pick a new show every 20 minutes.
It’s a bit niche, but we see the appeal. Also, is Netflix’s Flixtape still a thing?
4. Facebook: Let us keep Group alerts separate
Admittedly, we don’t have a prototype for exactly how this would work already drawn up in our heads, but as it stands, joining various Facebook Groups can quickly become overwhelming without digging down surgically into your account settings.
I for one would love to see a separate feed or a daily aggregate of all Group post related alerts, rather than having to choose between (option 1) getting bombarded with alerts every time someone posts anything anywhere and (option 2) completely shutting off all alerts for various pages and having to head to them regularly to catch up on wherever it was I left off last.
I don’t have the perfect solution here, but something tells me Facebook has the engineering minds and clout to figure something out.
Did we just write this article to complain? NO! (Okay, maybe a little).
The point is that even gigantic companies with vast resources at their disposal can overlook functionality or UX issues within their apps, which means that you can, too.
We want to stress the absolute importance among app developers of having a close dialogue with testers (and implementing extensive testing to begin with) to give your app the best chance of meeting the needs of your target audience from the start.
We know that terms like “minimum viable product” and an emphasis on getting a core product together quickly have been popularized in the startup culture of the past five years or so, but if one of the features you thought was auxiliary or just “good to have when we can” is actually something that your users are craving as core functionality, the best thing you can do is find out about it sooner rather than later.
What feature or UX change would YOU like to see implemented in a famous app? Let us know, below!
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