I See Technology Underpants!

What are technology underpants?

I like to refer to ‘technology underpants’ as obvious ways you can spot inconsistencies in the user experience due to the way technology teams are divided at a company.

Let’s take the Twitter unauthenticated follow user flow. I find a profile of a person I want to follow. Lo and behind this person is pretty interesting and I want to follow them on Twitter!

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 9.42.30 AM

I click the follow button and I am met with this interstitial modal:

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 9.42.38 AM


I don’t know what the metrics are to justify this design decision. They’ve allotted less than 10% of the modal real estate to the sign in function. 90% of this modal is geared towards getting a user to sign up for an account.

Some things I’ve considered about this design decision:

-They primarily designed this modal to capture new users.
-Given that about 90% of the modal real estate is devoted to capturing new users, does it mean that 90% of unauthenticated visits to Twitter profile pages are from non-users?
-Is there enough of a bounceback problem that this type of UI treatment justifies inconveniencing loyal users?
-The screen now says ‘Twitter’ four times. The modal says it three times — in the modal title, the header, and the call to action button. Do they really have a brand recognition problem where it needs to be repeated so many times in such a limited space?

One UX nitpick that I have is that my eye has to track to another part of the screen, and my mouse has to travel so far, back and forth on the screen, to complete the action. Once I click on the follow button, I can automatically begin filling out the form fields but then I have to move my pointer all the way across the screen to submit my information or to log in.

As an expert user (I’ve logged 29,000 tweets over the last 7.5 years), this is a really inconvenient way to achieve my end goal (signing in).

So, expert user here, clicking on the ‘Log in’ text link. I am then taken to this screen:

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 9.42.44 AM


Now my eye and mouse have to track to another part of the screen, yet again. Ugh.

A ton of other websites have a great example of inline login or sign-up. A great example of this is Vimeo:

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 9.47.20 PM


They gear their experience towards the users who are already Vimeo users. It keeps their loyal users happy and minimizes the amount of work that needs to be done. It only adds one small incremental step for new users:

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 9.47.33 PM


Moral of the story: Keep your user experience loyal to your most loyal users.