Usability Case Study: Twitter and the Extra Click

Usability Case Study-I was taught that a good rule of thumb in designing a web experience is to make key functionality as available as possible. The more clicks a user has to make to find the good stuff, the less likely they’ll bother. It’s not always true that more clicks mean a worse experience, but we did find, for example, that people were more likely to access a web coaching experience when it was fewer clicks away from their main portal homepage.

A number of studies have made it clear that there’s no magic number of clicks that will entice users (see a roundup here). In fact, some times more clicks are better. That’s the case with¬†deliberate progressive disclosure, where you gradually reveal information to users as they need it rather than bombarding them with A-Z instructions at the outset. I’ve also found it to be the case with lengthy questionnaires; breaking them into multiple pages and sections helps the user experience.¬†What really matters is that the clicking behavior asked of the user is logical and fits within a narrative of how to use the product.

Which brings me to a design “feature” I’ve recently noticed on the Twitter website–what seems to be a deliberately inserted extra click for users who which to switch accounts. There are lots of reasons why people have multiple Twitter accounts; it’s not uncommon. So why, when I log out of Account A, do I see the following screen instead of an option to log in again?

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Twitter has chosen to prioritize an app download (an app I perhaps ironically already have–I’m not using the desktop site because of a lack of a phone!) over another user behavior. As a result, I have to make an extra click every time I want to engage in a common website activity (logging back in). It’s also not obvious where that extra click should be unless you’re a seasoned user of the Twitter site. Meanwhile, the real estate devoted to downloading the mobile app is great . . . if I didn’t already have the app.

That extra click is feeling mighty effortful about now!