April 18, 2024
UI/UX Design

Aesthetic vs. Usability: Threads

Let’s have a discussion about the new Instagram app that quite literally broke the Internet – Threads! Exploring the design component of Threads.
Cristi Fonea
April 18, 2024
How Threads is changing the UI/UX design world

Threads – the newest community platform.

Yet communities have always been the central focus of our society!

Since the dawn of time, humans have spent time together. They developed, acted, and grew in communities that later on became our society. Groups of people that lived together in the same place, sharing common interests and having certain characteristics in common.

When creating a great design we address a certain community. We, as designers, analyze how they work, and act, what their activities are, what they like, and most importantly what designs they find deductible. Nowadays we have web designs that are interactive and focused on the user experience. We have accessible environments that have the purpose of creating deductible and scalable designs. 

Web designers have come a long way and are thinking like their users when making decisions that can impact the whole design process. We have a directional design, animations, micro-interactions, and many other approaches that can help us transform the design and make it tailored for our users. 

What Was The First Online Community Ever Designed?

The first time the term virtual community was formed was the WELL, also known as The Whole Earth’Lectronic Link, which was launched in 1985, being an early form of a social media platform. Moving forward in time we are faced with the launch of MySpace and Facebook, which brought us closer to what social media stands for today. 

Online communities can have different purposes, helping us bring together groups of people with common interests. Bloggers, recipes, and online classes, all share together a common purpose, even online food delivery apps have a common purpose. Yet when it comes to Threads, it seems like the app has the “everything for everyone” approach. Which stands for a generic approach that hasn’t come up with strict rules that we need to follow.

What is Threads?

Threads App Logo

Unless you are living under a rock, you definitely heard about the latest social media network launched by Meta, the largest social media conglomerate that owns Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Messenger. Threads saw fame within a few days of its launch as only in 5 days the app gathered together not less than 100M signups, which we can all agree is an impressive accomplishment. 

Threads presents itself as being a new way of communicating with words. It is a new app built by the Instagram team and it gives the user the ability to join and share public conversation. Threads app lets everyone get involved in public conversations and provides a means of free self-expression. The app came at the right time, as X (ex-Twitter) started to make it harder for its users to communicate and implement censorship. Threads came with a friendly and inclusive approach that felt like a fresh breath of air, as it allows us to share photos, and videos for up to 5 minutes, and texts up to 500 characters long. 

Now, you may be wondering what the difference is between Twitter and Threads. Well, Threads wants to create an environment that helps us grow, a community that nurtures a  positive approach where you can express your ideas. Yet Twitter became the home of gossip and negative comments. 

What Makes Threads Special?

One of the best takeaways is that the app helps create a safe space for its users. It does that by having certain word triggers that can detect the type of message you are writing and if necessary act upon it. But if you are trying to find information on a specific topic, threads will be of no help as the app doesn’t have filters for content and no trends list available. So, if you are curious about how your favorite celebrity went you might not be looking in the best place. 

You can sync your Instagram with the Threads app. The app created a space where all your friends can jump instantly and join your network within seconds and give you the jumpstart you need when you’re building up communities. You might remember how hard it was to find all your friends online, especially when their names aren’t really their names, and are more like @sunshine or @justforfun. But once you are in, you have no way out, as Threads only lets you disable your account but not delete it.

Key Ingredients For A Successful Design Or… Not So Successful?

A great UI experience! And this is what Threads lacks the most…

  • Missing features – it doesn’t have hashtags! When we think about Instagram we immediately think about hashtags, so how can threads lack this feature when it is mostly an extension of Instagram? With the absence of hashtags, you will also find it hard to look for specific content as you can not filter your search in any way. So, if you entered the app to find out about the wildfires you will probably be seeing how Justin Bieber is doing and also see clips from the Coldplay tour.
  • You can’t delete your Threads account! Once you are synced in with your account Threads will delete both your Instagram and your Threads accounts, so you are stuck forever on the platform. Users tend to remember better the negative experiences over the positive ones. So, choosing to disable the possibility of deleting the account will just turn out into a horrible experience for the user. Imagine visiting your relatives, it's fun at first but after a period of time you want to leave and only see them next year. But, when you are ready to pack your things and go, you find out you can’t. And this is what Threads did to us.
  • Unclear and confusing content. The human eye tends to find a pattern in everything he sees and we tend to look for similarities when we are scrolling through pages. So, similar colors and shapes help us recognize and find deductible content. But when it comes to Threads you can observe that the font size is different in light or dark mode. Even more so, any post made in Threads is called a Thread, yet in the app, you can also see that the content is also named “post” which is confusing.
  • Inconsistent – The app includes disabled buttons that remain disabled. A good example is when you start a thread. Under the “start a thread…” button we have “add to thread…”, which is not responsive and doesn’t change its appearance. So, why is the button there? We are still yet to find out. Another problem when it comes to the consistency of the app is when you try to share any threads, as the app gives you the option to add to a story and post on your feed, which would be fine if it was on your Thread account, but it refers to Instagram. 
  • It’s not an independent app. Threads is more like a fun club, you can’t enter unless you have seen the movie or know the cast. So, you can’t sign up unless you have a valid Instagram account, your account is your golden ticket, so be prepared when entering Thread’s world.
  • Hard to read – the app’s name is hard to read. When it comes to a new app the name is the one that can get stuck in your head and having an app with a name that is hard to pronounce can get you a few steps back, as the sound “th” can be pronounced in English but not in all languages. 

When it comes to a new app, the hype is not everything. We can all agree on the fact that the app had a lot of cloud and the users signed up fast, making Threads break records. But when it comes to a great app, a bad UI/UX design is what causes the app to lose users. 

Nowadays, we have web designs that are interactive and focused on the user experience. We have accessible environments that have the purpose of creating deductible and scalable designs. Web designers have come a long way and are thinking like their users when making decisions that can impact the whole design process. We have a directional design, animations, micro-interactions, and many other approaches that can help us transform the UI/UX design and make it tailored for our users. 

So apps like Threads need to keep up and deliver good and accessible designs that help the users navigate the platform as the UI experience needs to complete the UX work and make the design a whole.

A UI/UX design system creates productivity and efficiency by developing elements that can be personalized and used by a UI/UX designer or by everyone from a team. It creates accessible libraries that can store assets and be later used or integrated into a design. Design systems give you the ability to create a website or an app from scratch, only needing your personal touch when it comes to customizing your already existing elements. 

uinkits – Our Figma Design System

We at uinkits understand the importance of great user experiences in creating amazing UI designs. That’s why we’ve developed a Figma UI Kit with design components that include the essential UI elements that enable you to design intuitive and user-friendly interfaces effortlessly.  

“You press the button, we do the rest,” – Kodak.

Inspired by this iconic tagline from Kodak, we believe in simplifying the design process for you. Our Figma UI Kit, uinkits, is a complete design system with UI components that allows you, as a UI UX designer, to create your products as quickly as pressing a button. 

Our design system components, including variables, cards, buttons, and everything you need for your design process. All you have to do is take your UI design component needed, and you’re ready to use it in your designs!

Cristi Fonea
April 18, 2024

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