Platform Updates #1
The updates and new features added to the platform. Scheduling, Improved Content assistant, and media validation.
I planned to start writing about the platform updates. (Like a changelog, but more comprehensive) This series of posts will cover new features, improvements, and bug fixes. Since starting the beta testing program, I have received many feedbacks, and the combination of these comments and monitoring users' behaviour did/will trigger the changes. Let's look at the new feature you might experience.
1. Scheduling Posts
The scheduling feature was a must-have option when I interviewed businesses on how they manage their social media. The owners tended to create several contents in advance and release them during the week, so I knew scheduling was necessary for a service that wanted to save time. It was postponed in favour of launching the service as soon as possible. However, it is here now.
The users can schedule posts for up to 2 months (it is a limitation from Facebook API) in one-hour intervals. Shortening the intervals to 30 or even 15 minutes is possible but will be decided based on the user's needs.
2. Improved Content Assistant
The logged data showed that the content assistant in the previous design was challenging to use. I used to ask the users to write a sentence about their business to get a caption. Also, it assumed that all the users were selling a product and ignored services like photography, so the contents were not tailored to them.
The new workflow will ask simple questions about a business after signup. (name, type, description, ...) This information will make it possible to suggest captions by clicking just one button. (named "Surprise") There are also two new modes that generate captions based on 1) a description of the user-generated media or 2) an idea of a post, for example, a discount coupon for Black Friday. The new design's purpose is to make generating a new caption as easy as possible.
3. Cropping Media
There was a repeated pattern of uploading images that were too wide or narrow for specific social media platforms. While it was not a big deal in immediate content publishing (since the user sees there was an error), it was a terrible experience when scheduling posts. Because the content never publishes and the user will not know Why!
The platform now has a built-in cropping functionality. It will first validate the selected image's aspect ratio and allow cropping of the image if the validation fails. The image could be cropped to either Portrait (4:5), landscape (16:9), or square (1:1).
4. Media Validation
The cropping feature will eliminate the aspect ratio problem. However, other requirements still need to be answered, including media size, type, or duration. I previously didn't validate or even show the appropriate error message if there was a problem. Firstly, A complete rewrite of the platform's logging and error capturing was done to capture and display the error messages before submitting the media to social media platforms. Secondly, show appropriate error messages if there was an unknown error (like the selected video's refresh rate, which is very hard to calculate) instead of a general "something went wrong" error.
These changes will make the service more stable and easy to use. I plan to keep writing about the changes and new features regularly. (I just remembered that this blogging section is also new!) It will help the users to see the changes and understand what they should expect. Lastly, thanks to Kennedy, Justin, and the rest of the beta testers for pointing out the bugs and using the platform!
by Ala, 20-Feb-2023