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Threads? X? Lessons in crappy product launches.
This week's topic: With a few big social platforms launching/re-branding, let's review the lessons learned with poor product launches.
Less than two months ago, Meta and Twitter (RIP - Now X) had major updates in the tech world. By now, if you follow the industry, you’ve probably read a ton about them, and there’s a great chance you have used/continue to use these products.
In the world of big tech, most of us have grown to expect these companies known to collect the top talent in the industry, to have major successes with things such as product launches or rebrands. However, there were some major flaws in their go-to-market that I think we, as product people, can learn from and hopefully help your launches avoid some pain.
Let’s dig in.
Major Flaws Common Across The Threads Launch and X Rebrand
Confusing User Experience
Don’t let the clean UIs confuse you for what happened on day one for each launch. There were some baked-in flaws with the user experience that were easy to overlook but, over time, continued to be problematic.
Threads: Upon launch, was adding your friends on Instagram easy? Yes. However, the onboarding experience was confusing and spammy for many, with the threading feature difficult to utilize.
X Rebrand: The rebranding itself was inconsistent, leading to confusion among users, especially with the introduction of the new logo, which was perceived as unmemorable.
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Ignoring Core Issues
By now, we all appreciate the fail-forward approach to launches. The parent companies of each platform have had so many launches at this point they should have been more diligent before hitting the market with their big changes.
Threads: While the app had significant potential, the initial release ignored essential accessibility features, leaving a segment of the audience unsupported.
X Rebrand: Despite the rebranding efforts, core problems that were plaguing the app before, such as lack of features and sub-par user interface, were left unaddressed.
Inappropriate Timing or Lack of Transparency
We all woke up one day, and Threads was live. Another day, suddenly, our Twitter app now said X. While no warning can add to some excitement, the lack of build-up and visibility into what we were about to experience missed the mark.
Threads: The privacy concerns related to sharing users' contact lists with Instagram weren't addressed, leading to trust issues among its users.
X Rebrand: The decision to rebrand X was taken when the app lost its user base. Instead of alleviating concerns, it further contributed to its declining popularity.
Recommendations for Companies Launching or Rebranding on a Massive Scale
If you’re on a product team or at a company about to launch some major changes or a major product, there are three primary things to consider before clicking GO and letting people in.
Prioritize User Experience: Ensure that the onboarding experience is intuitive and straightforward. Any new features or changes should be easy to understand and use.
Address Core Issues Before Expanding or Rebranding: Companies must address their product's primary concerns or shortcomings before looking at expansion or rebranding.
Transparency and Timing are Key: Companies must be clear about changes, especially concerning user privacy. Also, major shifts like rebrands should be strategically timed to ensure they contribute positively to the brand's image.
Despite being industry giants, Meta/Threads and X exhibited major flaws in their product launches. The struggles with confusing user experience, neglecting core issues, and questionable timing or transparency impacted their users heavily - all things that should be easy to avoid.
So my parting words - if you’re gearing up for major launches or rebrands, it's imperative to prioritize a seamless user experience, address foundational issues, and ensure timely and transparent communication to prevent future user frustrations and disappointments. Do this, and you will be even better positioned to give your users a product they love and adore.
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