How TikTok Can Use Feedback and Logic to Enhance Its Interactions

With quarantine reaching day number… does anyone really know what number we are at anymore? I decided to download TikTok to see for myself what it was all about. 3 days in, I think it is time to admit that I understand the obsession and that I did not know there was a void in my life for workout, dance, and singing challenges.

However, even with all of these addicting funny and engaging videos that made me want to try it myself, I was left feeling as if I were missing something during my first few times on the app.

TikTok is all about creating a virtual community and sharing these videos within our own networks. Therefore, I was instantly eager to share my moments of hysterical laughter with some friends in case they had missed these clips on their feeds.

Sharing Video

Right away I understood to click the share icon on the right side of the screen, and I easily continued by clicking on the icon image of the friend I wanted to send the video to. Instantly a pop-up message saying I needed to connect my phone number appeared. As a UX Designer, this made sense to me since I was never asked for any of this information as I registered through Gmail.

However, here starts my frustration as a user. I then clicked on the button that said “connect” expecting to then be directed to my profile where I could add my number. But in reality, when I clicked that button all that happened was that the pop-up disappeared and I was left viewing the video again. Since I was not redirected to a new page to add my number, I assumed the video had been sent to my friend and that TikTok had asked me for that information since it would make their life easier. But you know what they say about assuming something.

To make a long story short, I realized a day later that these videos did not actually get sent.

I’m not here to criticize the app, trust me we all need these small moments of laughter in our lives right now. Instead, I want to offer two easy fixes that would allow users to not become frustrated like I was.

  1. Follow the flow I previously discussed, allowing the user’s expectations to be met. What is important here is informing the user at all the touchpoints or movements throughout the flow of what is occurring or what just occurred.
  2. After the user has created an account through their Gmail account, a prompt should appear explaining why it would help them to connect their phone number as well. This relates to option #1 in that it is important for users to be kept in the loop for any process.

Both of these options are relatively easy fixes, just adding in a few screens or pop-ups. But for the user, they will make a huge difference.

Inbox Screen

As I continued to explore the app, I noticed that I had a notification on top of the inbox icon in the navbar. I clicked on it expecting to see the unread messages, presumably containing videos from my friends. However, all I saw was my history from the past few days; I just saw who had followed me.

Confused, since I associate inbox with messages rather than my activity, I decided to click around more. That is how I noticed messages were actually located in another window and that I had to click on the arrow in the top right corner.

When I realized this it was great because I got to watch all the videos my friends had sent me over the past few days. However, from a UX perspective, this was not intuitive for the user. Therefore I once again have 2 quick suggestions to remove this confusion.

  1. I would rename the inbox in the navbar and call it activity instead. This way users could then access their messages through the dropdown tab that is already on the activity page.
  2. Change the arrow icon to one that resembles messages or chat more, such as a chat bubble.

Once again, neither of these changes are major in terms of altering the app, but they are major for the user’s experience.

As I have said from the beginning of this article, I am a fan of TikTok, even if I will try to hide it at times. My aim with this article, as always, is to bring to attention the importance of users’ experiences with products and that with minor changes these apps that we love can be altered to create an even more positive experience.

UX/UI Designer passionate about building products within the Entertainment, Fitness and Technology fields.