There’s no doubt that 2009 was the year of Social Media. Just look at this Top 9 of 2009 list. It’s dominated by Interface and experience improvements for the topic. There were so many to choose from but we could only pick 9. I mean come on, Top 14 of 2009? Seems a little odd, huh? Anyway, without further ado, here are the Top 9 UI Enhancements That Improved User Experience in 2009!
Whether you are a light user wanting to transfer your twenty-something kilobyte documents between computers across town, or you run a multi-national business and want to transfer large presentations, video files, and many other things between you and hundreds of co-workers, Dropbox has an account for you. It’s like a jump drive that gets to where you’re going before you do… and also, doesn’t ever take up space on your keychain. Oh, did we mention it has a mobile interface and a dedicated iPhone application? There’s way too much to say about Dropbox. Just go check it out here.
8) Twitter Lists
It’s pretty obvious how big of an impact Twitter has had on the world of Social Media, and therefore the entire web, and therefore interface design. Twitter began this year, however, with some experimental things (a la Google); one of these experiments is Twitter Lists. Obviously, because of the immense number of people who tweet daily, you can quickly end up with quite a few folks on your Follow list. How do you keep track of them? Some apps implemented lists before Twitter finally caught on. And, of course, because Twitter now supports lists, they are going to be a lot more functional (and universal) for Twitter users. Check it out here.
7) Facebook iPhone app v1 and v2, Facebook Realtime updates
Everyone has wasted time on Facebook. If you haven’t, then maybe now is a good time to start. Why, you ask? Well, instead of wasting time pressing the refresh button, you now can waste time stalking your old classmates from ‘95. Or, perhaps you just want to watch the feed, as if it were a tv show. Thanks to Facebook implementing real time updates, you can do that. Thanks for making us more productive at being less productive, Facebook!
Also, don’t forget those wonderful Facebook iPhone applications. Not only are we more productive at wasting time when we’re supposed to be finishing up some spreadsheet or another… we also are able to have Facebook Chat at our fingertips while we drive! But seriously… Facebook really has taken some leaps and bounds in making the world more connected this year by changing the way we see the dynamic abilities of Social Media.
6) Google Wave
If you haven’t watched Google’s super-long introduction video to Google Wave, you can do so here. That will tell you a lot of the details… but even Google doesn’t tell you everything in that video. The truth of the matter is, Google Wave’s long-anticipated arrival will slowly but (almost) surely become a big player in the game of collaboration and Social Media, as well as blogging, in the future. As it is currently in beta (what else do you expect from Google?), not everyone can use it just yet. Remind you of any other successful social networking stories? (Okay, in case you didn’t know… Facebook was limited to college students until 2005, and only in 2006 was it opened to anyone and everyone.) Get to Waving, folks – there’s a LOT of capability here, and the more people who use it, the more powerful and useful the platform will become.
5) iPhone OS 3.0 Cut/Copy/Paste
For those of you who are iPhone users, you know why this is such a big deal. It made the list not because it’s groundbreaking or because it changed any game. No, it just changed hundreds of thousands of users’ experiences. Why is this genius (and, make no mistake, it IS genius)? Well, we can’t promise these things, but it’s quite likely that Apple knew from the beginning just how badly people would want this feature. So customers sit and wait on a “big feature” of iPhone OS 3.0, which, turns out, Apple knew how to do a long time ago. So a brand new selling point of the iPhone comes out of what is, for other phones, just a normal feature. This is just another great example of why Apple easily garners lasting brand loyalty that is built on excitement and buzz. I mean, what iPhone user didn’t get excited when they heard about cut/copy/paste for iPhone? Exactly.
CoTweet is a platform that helps companies reach and engage customers using Twitter. Or so it says on their homepage. And yet, it’s so much more! Do you have multiple Twitter accounts? Or one account that you need multiple people to post to? CoTweet is the tool for you. A gorgeous web-app in the purest sense. You can schedule your tweets to post at a later date, assign DMs to users, automatically repost your tweets to dozens of other social network sites like, Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace, monitor keywords and trends and even click tracking via Bit.ly integration. The list goes on and on! But don’t take our word for it, one look at the features page and you will easily see how this interface makes the list.
3) Windows 7
Alright, we lay down arms for a minute here to recognize the beauty of the new operating system from Windows. Sure, the editor of FYI (that’d be me) owns and uses two Apple computers, but for Christmas this year, it may just be time to spring for a dual-boot endeavor. Why? Well, there are simply a litany of really cool interface enhancements to make everyday workflow incredibly easier. It’s the little things, folks, and Microsoft has (finally) learned how little things can stack up to be quite huge. (For instance, the “Snap” feature may just make us Mac fanboys a little… territorial. Jealous is a strong word…)
2) OS X Snow Leopard
Apple’s Snow Leopard fixes a lot of usability issues that have been around since Leopard (10.5). Stacks works better, Spaces and Exposé… oh, and did we mention the fact that it upgrades the entire operating system and all Apple applications to 64-bit? Just you all wait until CS5 comes out… if it finally supports 64-bit, it is expected that Mac users will see some enjoyable speed increases. The usability of every day processes has been laid out wonderfully by Snow Leopard, both for now and for the future.
There are also a lot of brand new features Apple introduced (for instance, GPU accelerated processing).
1) Meebo Sharing tool
This tool can be seen in use on Abduzeedo; basically it allows all of these wonderful social networking tools that work on their own (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to be integrated together, right on a website, such as Abduzeedo. This tool is simply fantastic for bringing it all together; talk about usability! Not only can you drag photos straight from the page to the sharing tool, but you can also traverse across multiple chat clients (that’s what Meebo does best anyway). This made the top of our list for many reasons. One, it’s extremely powerful and time saving; instead of popping open seven tabs for each and every sharing service, you just drag and drop. It just simply rocks. And we like things (and people) that rock. It’s pretty simple, don’t you think?
The only negative points so far is that it’s not available to the public just yet… hearsay says 2010 will bring it to your domains. UPDATE: Thanks to one of the comments below from Meebo for this update – there is now a version of the Meebo sharing bar available! Check it out here: http://bar.meebo.com