Last week, my friend Vishrut and I were enjoying pizza and ice-cream at Stoner, Bangalore (you must visit the outlet and try their Italian Chaska pizza!) while discussing features of various tech products.
We realized that online content publishing platforms (like LinkedIn) are an excellent medium for authors to share their views and immediately receive feedback from their readers.
Core Idea: Authors publishing on online forums want to receive rich feedback and engage in a deep conversation with their readers.
However, the feedback mechanism on these platforms is currently clunky and broken, making it difficult for the author to have a meaningful conversation with their audience. The psychological hurdles between “Like”, “Comment”, and “Share” are uneven, and make it hard for a reader to interact with the author.
Core Idea: Publishing platforms have a cumbersome experience for engagement and feedback.
Engagement levels of Interactions:
In the tech world, this psychological cost is usually known as a “pain-point” or a “hurdle”.
The 3 pain-points faced by a user who wants to comment on/share an article are:
1. Ergonomic: A lot of content (more than 43%) published online today is consumed on a mobile device. These devices, by their very form-factor, make it extremely hard for a user to comment on an article. The content moves around as the soft keyboard comes up, disorienting the user. The lack of touch typing and tactile feedback, along with the tendency to make typos, discourage a user from typing out a comment.
2. Cognitive: The user is faced with an unfriendly blank box, and has to rack their brains to say something useful. Many users would leave without commenting on an article they particularly liked because they feel that “they have nothing much to say”.
3. Contextual: The comment section is usually placed at the bottom, after the article, and often after ads. By the time the user reaches the comment section, they may have forgotten the salient points in the article due to loss of context. Scrolling back and forth is discouraging, especially on a mobile device.
Publishing platforms should simplify the interaction between the author and the reader.
Core Idea: Simpler interaction between the author and the readers encourages authors to write more, and improves user engagement with the platform.
Suggestions to improve author-reader interaction:
Platforms can adopt the following methods to improve the comment/share experience:
1. Ergonomic: Most mobile platforms today provide fairly good speech-to-text capabilities. However, not many users use this capability on their keyboard, possibly because it does not immediately come to mind.
Encourage users to use the voice-to-text capability, by providing a Microphone icon next to the comment box, which would immediately start taking dictation when tapped. Speaking is far easier than poking one’s finger at a sheet of glass, and will prompt many more readers to share their thoughts with the author.
2. Cognitive: While publishing, allow the author to mark certain key lines as “core ideas” of their article. Then, provide an action (e.g. a “Like” button) next to the lines when a reader reads the article. The reader can click the action button if the core idea particularly resonates with them.
3. Contextual: Continuing from the cognitive solution proposed above, the comment box can be pre-filled with a template quoting the core ideas that the reader “Liked”. This would encourage them to add a few words and complete the comment or share the article (see: Ziegarnik effect).
Hello <Author Name>, thanks for writing this article. I agree with your core idea(s) that <Core Idea 1> and <Core Idea 3>. Moreover, I feel that… < type your comment here>
These suggestions would improve the User Experience of providing feedback on an article, and foster a deeper conversation between the author and reader, leading to much higher engagement with the platform as well - a win-win situation.
Implement these suggestions, LinkedIn Publishing – both your authors and your readers will thank you for it, and keep coming back for more!