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I am building an android app, and i have implemented what i believe to be a very good user interface/flow.

To upload a photo to our website there are 3 steps.

  1. You select the photo.
  2. You enter a caption, and can click on the Twitter/Facebook buttons. Clicking these buttons goes through the various auth flows to allow us to post. Once this is completed the button is highlighted.

  3. The photo is uploaded, and then if selected is posted to Facebook/Twitter. We have progress spinners etc to make this process visually clear.

Like this everything looks and works extremely well. The problem is customisation.

The status we post is essentially 'User x uploaded a photo to our app'. We then append any caption they might have added.

With Twitter we do the same except we cut the caption to fit under the 140 character limit.

My question is as to whether we should allow users to customise this text?

To do this requires modifying the UI to add some sort of 'Edit text' button - this I believe will degrade the experience and make things somewhat more complex.

The next consideration is the interfaces. Twitter and Facebook provide 'post' activities through their respective SDKs so we could implement it such that when the user clicks the Facebook button it goes to the Facebook app status posting screen and sets a default message.

Again I feel this degrades the experience because they have to click on Facebook, and post there.. then then have to click on Twitter and post there whereas what I have at the moment is all done inside the app and is very simple, consistent, and easy.

The other approach would then be to implement my own interfaces for changing the text but this is a little more effort.. making sure you can only enter 140 characters etc. There is also still the issue of an extra button to edit the text.. and extra thing to complicate things, and confuse users.

So.. what should I do? Should users be able to customise the statuses and tweets that they post from the app? and if so, what is the cleanest and clearest way to implement a user interface for it?

Thanks

  • If I understand correctly, user enters the caption and then you prefix your status message before posting. Can't you show your prefixed part at the time the user enters the caption, and for Twitter show the 140 char cut-off point at that time so they can tune their caption accordingly? – Roger Attrill Jan 20 '15 at 12:57
  • That is correct. Potentially we could do but that but its possible their caption is completely different to what they really want to be posting to Facebook.. – Thomas Clowes Jan 20 '15 at 14:36
  • @ThomasClowes why are you posting it to Facebook then? – overactor Jan 20 '15 at 15:02
  • .. I think you've missed the point. Caption: "A picture of my cat". Facebook message: "LOOK AT MY FUNNY PICTURE". I post to Facebook so people can share their pictures.. – Thomas Clowes Jan 20 '15 at 15:12
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To answer your first question, I don't think it's necessary to allow users to edit statuses/tweets for FB and Twitter. But, that does depend on what your app is trying to achieve.

As another suggestion, why not make it all the same thing? In other words, create one text area where a user can input a caption to their photo/video. Whatever they put in that text area posts as a caption in your app, Facebook, and Twitter simultaneously.

Next to the text area you could have two toggle button that allows users to choose if they want that post to be sent to Twitter and/or Facebook. Alternatively, you could have both social networks integrated only through your app's settings, and, if integrated, posts get automatically sent to social networks. That way you keep your users focused and interacting with your own app (and not other ones).

Not sure if that answers your question fully, but I could shoot you some wireframes if you showed us what this particular page looks like.

Edit 1: OP, attached is a hi-fidelity wireframe of my previous comment to help clarify my descrition. enter image description here

  • Hi myuxteam, welcome to UX.SE! Your answer would be more helpful if you explained why exactly you don't think that it's necessary to let users customize the text. The reasoning is more important than just a personal opinion. – Vitaly Mijiritsky Jan 21 '15 at 6:17
  • Thanks for the feeback, Vitaly. The reason I suggest not allowing users to edit their Tweets or status updates is because that involves recreating functionality that already exists in those social networks. If users decide they want to edit their content, allow them to do so on the proprietary social network app. Not doing so (probably) costs extra development time and detracts from the purpose of OP's app. I presume this isn't just a status update/tweet machine? – myuxteam Jan 22 '15 at 19:48
  • @myuxteam that's helpful. You may want to incorporate that comment into your answer. Welcome to UX.SE! – tohster Apr 19 '15 at 18:19
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I don't think users should edit their posts in any other app which isn't the official one (or something from third part that replaces it), because I think it could be confused. But in that case, have you thought about the possibility to implement it as native system extension, like in iOs? The user could upload its photo to your website with a caption, and when it's done, the app shows a share icon like this share icon

to shows the different ways to share it, allowing the user to edit each different post: enter image description here.

By default, in the settings view of the app, the user could specify if it wants to post everything automatically on the social networks, but in that instance it couldn't modify the text, which will be cut the caption with "...". I think that sometimes it's better to sacrifice a little customization for a better user experience.

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