This is just too much.
I opened up the Medium app yesterday, and encountered this notification at the bottom of the screen.
This is a new feature, as far as I can tell. It provides a reminder to continue reading whatever I was reading before. Even setting aside the fact that it recommended me my own article, it is a pretty lame feature. If I want to continue reading an article, I will either keep that article open in the app, or I’ll bookmark it, or I’ll e-mail it to myself to read on a better screen.
But even whatever minimal utility this new feature provides is not worth the opportunity cost. As my readers are well aware, Medium has a lot of crappy design baked into their site and apps. To recap:
- The way you view article comments on the iOS app is so broken, I cannot even summarize it concisely.
- If you highlight a link, you cannot see who has highlighted it.
- The way to find your exact number of followers is hidden behind a unmarked hover function which is itself hidden behind a link.
- It’s almost impossible to tell if a video you have embedded on Medium is actually a video or a picture of a video.
- “Gotcha” premium stories that use up your freebies whether you wanted them or not, although these are clearly a desired dark pattern, so I wouldn’t expect it to go anywhere.
- The way to undo a clap is hidden on the desktop site, illogical in the app, and nonexistent on the mobile site.
- You cannot see if someone is following you by looking at their profile.
- There is still no back button from the Referrers page.
- And, I even discovered a new one in the course of writing this article: Medium did not design a way to link to a specific part of an article. The only way to do it this time-consuming hack.
Instead of fixing a single one of these actual design problems, Medium chose to waste developer and designer resources on a dumb feature that nobody wanted.
In a previous article, I observed that Medium has an incompetent UX culture, meaning that they have low-skilled designers and developers who make blunders that are not easily explained by inadequate resources, meddling managers, or dimwitted Agile processes. This latest episode, however, suggests that Medium has a bit of Adobe in them. Adobe are infamous for bloating their products with pointless gee-whiz-who-cares features while neglecting the core experience, including longstanding UX deficiencies.
I wish I had a deeper lesson to offer you today, but I really just wrote this article to shame Medium for the colossal mismanagement of their platform. If a higher-up at the company reads this, know that your product managers are wasting their budgets on fluff while the product’s UX pisses off the content creators upon which they rely.