Business vs. user experience

Some companies seem willing to do anything for a profit. The worst domain name registrars and their pages filled with up-sells. News blogs that spread articles across several sections to increase page views. We see examples all the time of blatant attempts to increase sales just a little at the expense of usability.

But the reverse can also be a mistake. For example, my own Tweet Marker. I wanted the setup user experience to be so effortless that the user merely needs to flip a switch to enable it in their favorite apps, or do nothing for the apps that choose to use Tweet Marker by default. There’s no formal registration, no prompt for an email address.

Now I find myself with 500,000 total users who have tried Tweet Marker, but no way to follow up with them to see if they are interested in upgrading to the $1/month subscriber plan. The service is, frankly, a financial failure. More like a charity experiment than a business.

I’ve been giving this a lot of thought, and introducing the subscriber plan was the latest part of a renewed effort with Tweet Marker. I’m determined to make it work, even if it’s too late to shift the balance between business needs and user experience to something that makes more sense.