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Usability: A Key to Success for Social Media Platforms

By: Taylor Golemme

When it comes to social media, there are many factors that affect its success and longevity. The social media industry is changing at a rapid pace and some of those aspects aren’t enough to keep their target market interested when competition arrives. However, there is one consistently important factor that provides stability for social media platforms: Usability.

Meta has recently shown the influence on usability on their platform as they recently tested major changes to their desktop version of Facebook. According to Mashable, this testing included shifting the navigation options to the left side of the screen in order to combine everything a user would need on Facebook: their profile, notifications, direct messages and more. Facebook typically utilizes a layout where all options are shown at once, but this change could allow users to focus on one central point and increase usability overall.

Ecommerce has also been a massive part of the shifted focus on usability within social media platforms. Apps like Instagram and TikTok are perfect examples of intertwining the social aspect into ecommerce options. When Instagram decided to add their in-app shopping tab in 2020, they increased their usability in a unique way (Hootsuite, 2021). This combination of selling products through a social media platform along with marketing tactics has allowed creators and businesses to thrive. Products can now be promoted and purchased in-app to make the process easier for the consumer. After two years of implementing ecommerce into the platform, it has achieved familiarity and consistency with their users.

These platforms all take risks in the name of usability. Whether it’s an app redesign or implementing easy access to ecommerce options, there will always be potential for it to fail. But when it succeeds, it allows platforms to achieve the longevity that they all are looking for in this competitive industry.

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