Emotional Intelligence and the Uncomfortable Side of Design
It was awesome, but as soon as the day was over the animation was gone too. Some people don’t care and some didn’t even notice but those who did were left with a void. I’m not exaggerating; hear me out. The heart explodes with confetti, it bounces and is jolly and colorful. Overall, it makes the mundane tasks of liking or favoriting a tweet much more interesting and fun. When you take that away it’s a little sad and underwhelming.
Since it’s birthday, Twitter did update the heart animation to be a little but more than just a color change but it’s still nothing compared to the confetti explosion. All in all, this is a silly complaint yet people are disappointed enough to blog about it on The Next Web. It actually bummed people out, which is rude and awful.
Taking a Step Back
Let’s also talk about the aspect of hearts versus stars. If you recall, late 2015, Twitter changed its UI from stars to hearts. “The heart is a universal symbol, it’s a much more inclusive symbol,” said Casey Newton. Check out Twitter’s gif for what the new heart UI is all about. (No, it’s not the same as the confetti explosion from their birthday.)
The decision was business oriented because Twitter was excited for increased interactivity due to the change. Again, that’s all fine and dandy but what happens when you have a negative thoughts. How is a heart at all an appropriate response for a negative remark? It’s not, it’s insensitive and unhelpful. A star is also unhelpful, for what it’s worth.
It’s Not Just Twitter’s Problem
I am not picking on Twitter. It happens to be a great source of examples. What if there is breaking news of a terrible incident?
Dean describes self-regulation as being smart about numbers. Just because analytics go up doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. The example she used was a website spamming a user’s contacts in order to increase engagement. Of course, the engagement went up, but trust in the company went down as soon as the user found out they reached out to her contacts unwillingly. That’s why when you log into somewhere via a social network like Facebook, Google or Twitter you see the message “we will not post on your behalf.”
Motivation, Empathy, and People Skills
Motivation is a bit tricky to explain but it boils down to the experience of users and their unique backgrounds. It’s all about trying to be understanding toward all of your target audience and not being rude to those who are not. You don’t want anyone to feel rejected by your app. When it comes to empathy a little humility can go a long way. Is your website asking someone about their deceased relative?
That leaves us with people skills. What an interesting term to talk about when dealing with software, don’t you think? People skills refer to the overall tone the product is using and the vibe it’s giving out. It’s about good, but also appropriate content. You wouldn’t tell a friend they had a great year while they were in a terrible car accident. A product shouldn’t do that to its users either.