Update: Twitter’s Ryan Sarver tells us this is fixed in the latest version of the Twitter app.
But Dorsey is nothing if not a detail-oriented product visionary, so here’s a small product detail that he should pay attention to and fix. It’s not much, but it’s really annoying and a poor user experience — exactly the kind of thing we imagine Dorsey won’t tolerate.
It’s a bit tricky to explain, but bear with us.
Twitter’s official iPhone app lets you email tweets. I use that feature very often, because I often email myself links that look interesting. So far so good.
The problem, however, comes from the way Twitter now shortens URL. On Twitter’s apps, its official URL shortener t.co doesn’t display URLs as http://t.co/XYZ but as the original URL, shortened. So a link to http://www.businessinsider.com.au/clusterstock might look like this: businessinsider.com/clust… Again, good: instead of an undecipherable bit.ly link, you can have at least an idea of where you’re being pointed to.
Here’s where it goes wrong: when you email a Twitter-shortened link, the link in the email points to the shortened version and not the actual URL.
For example, this morning we emailed ourselves a tweet to a blog post by Twitter investor Bijan Sabet, and here’s what it looks like in our inbox:
The URL to Sabet’s post is http://bijansabet.com/post/4220407806/sensitive-vcs-or-something-else. If you click on the link from inside Twitter’s app, the shortened link takes you there. But the link in the email takes you to http://bijansabet.com/post/422040780 which is a page that doesn’t exist.
See? It’s not a huge deal, but it’s annoying when it happens and it would be pretty easy to fix. The reason why this happens is because the “email tweet” feature in the iPhone app was implemented before Twitter’s new URL shortener, and (I assume) because Twitter employees don’t email tweets.
It’s the kind of small mistake that tends to slip by when you have an unfocused product organisation without strong direction, which seems to have been the case with Twitter for a while. And while things like this aren’t a big deal, if there’s enough they can add up to an overall user experience that turns off people, especially the non tech savvy normal people Twitter so covets.