We have now used the Tribe platform for several months, and we like it. You guys have a great vision, and we feel there is great potential. We want to help out and provide our insight into the issues and problems we come across. Here is our first general feedback report.
Major UX/UI Feedback
1 – Browsing Content Is Hard
On Tribe, there is a lot of scrolling to see the new posts.
The content card takes a lot of space vertically, which means I have to do a lot of scrolling to see more posts.
In a typical forum engine users browse content by headlines to see what interests them and which posts have recent activity. It is a compromise between showing a lot of data per post (depth) versus showing multiple posts with less data (breadth). Allowing users to see more posts at a glance would require some fundamental layout changes or alternative ways to browse content.
- The ‘input’ box and announcement (if enabled) block the view when a user lands to the homepage, making the scrolling problem worse.
- It is currently not possible to collapse posts once they are opened.
- Posts can be very long, in which case they “hijack” the entire screen.
- There is no character limit on headings, which means sometimes they are three rows long and take-up a lot of space on the screen.
- We have also noticed that some users opt-in to use the heading for their entire message instead of using the body text.
2 – Portal Notifications
I don’t feel like I have a clear understanding when a notification is essential, and when it is not. I feel very overwhelmed when I go through the notifications.
- Notification pop-up is too small. It requires a lot of scrolling. It is hard to understand what the notifications are because there is so much text.
- The page for full notifications is hard to find. The text “see all notifications” doesn’t pop to the eye. I suspect many users are not aware it even exists.
- It is hard to see which are new (unread) notifications.
- The notification texts could be simplified, e.g., "Daniel liked your post" with a link to the post. It isn't too vital for me to know which posts he liked. If I want to find out, I could click the notification.
- It should be possible for me to disable 'like' notifications.
- Use color-coding. Notifications about new posts & replies get a red dot, and notifications about likes & new followers get a blue dot on the bell icon.
- Provide the ability to hide notifications once they are read. I could go to the full notification page to browse old notifications, but I don’t want to see old notifications when I click the bell icon.
- Clicking the bell-icon could open a pop-up window. That way, there is more real estate for all the notifications.
An excellent example of a notification/inbox area I like is Monday.com. I can close the notifications by clicking the blue checkmark, and that way, I only keep the notifications I want to keep.
Example: I might instantly remove all like notifications, but leave a new reply notification as I intend to reply to the person later. That way, I can remind myself about that task.
3 – Browsing The Topics/Groups List
The topic and group pages look good, but there are few issues.
- Browsing topics or groups don’t tell you anything about the topic or group. When you browse the list of topics or groups, you only see an icon, heading, and a follow/join button.
- You have to scroll down to see all the topics or groups. On a single screen, I only see 6 topics.
- There is no way to categorize or filter the topics/groups.
There is a lot of scrolling involved, and the user doesn’t get any information unless they click the topic/group, but that takes them away from the ‘browse topics’ page.
One solution would be to use a collapsible list, where additional info could be displayed, such as the latest post, e.g., “John asked a question yesterday.”
We want our users to learn about the various groups/topics without having to go to the topic/group page itself. It improves the user experience and lowers the learning curve for newcomers, who are overwhelmed with all the “doors.”
4 – Content Sorting
We loved to see the new features that allow us to sort the feed in different ways. However, we feel some optimizations should be done.
When users are sorting content by 'recent activity,' all Likes and content/topic updates shoot a post to the top. That should only happen when there is a new comment.
- As a user, it is not super relevant to me to know that someone liked a post. It shouldn't count as recent activity.
- Few times a week, I go and do maintenance, which means I add/remove topics from posts, and I might do slight formatting changes to the posts. Because of this, some old posts shoot back up to the top of everyone's feed, even though there is nothing new.
- When someone edits a post, allow them to decide if they would like to notify the community about the updated version.
- Make ‘Joe likes x’ activity updates minimal notifications on the feed so that they won’t take too much vertical space.
- Add new ways to sort the content.
When I updated old posts, I got messages from our community, notifying me about what they thought was a bug as they saw old content on their feed.
5 – The Input Box
The input box seems to be always on the way. It takes space from the feed itself.
A possible solution would be not to have the input box visible by default. It could either expand (or drop-down) on click/hover, or it could open as a pop-up.
As an example, when I go to Twitter and “explore” the content, I don’t see the input box. The box appears as a pop-up if I click the ‘tweet’ button.
Other UX/UI issues
Few other issues we have recorded – in no particular order.
- Questions can be answered with both a comment and an answer. Often users believe they are answering a question, but they only left a comment. The comments are also hard to find, and most of the time, the readers don't even notice them.
- Upvoting answers by liking them is not immediately understood. Instead of liking the answer, there could be a text to "upvote" an answer. There could also be a counter on how many upvotes an answer has received, similar to Reddit or Stackoverflow.
- Unnatural order for information on the content cards. The eye naturally goes to the top-left corner of a content card to find out what it is about, so we feel the title should always be there as the first item (instead of a list of topics and author info.) The title itself is what the user is looking for. It could be on top of the author's description. Author info could be below it, and tags could be at the bottom of the card.
- Questions have no body text. Often it is necessary to elaborate on the question and write a paragraph or two to clarify. Only a thoughtful question will get a thoughtful answer. Now that there is no text field, the question headings can be extremely long.
- Discussion Title should have a character limit. People are opting to use it instead of the body text field to make the entire post.