Storify has been teasing an update, seemingly associated with advanced search features, and like most Storify users, I can not wait to see it. While the bulk of the product is fabulous, there are a few constant issues with the service that drive me to distraction.
I use Storify several times each week when we share the results of our ReadWriteWeb Big Questions. The Storify product is a visually appealing, easy to digest roll up of community answers, whether across the breadth of the internet or only on your own social channels. But, like any power user, I have a few strong suggestions for the team at Storify. Below are a few things I'm hoping to see change in the soon to be announced update to Storify.
We get far more comments on our Google+ discussions than on Facebook, and those responses are rich and full of thought. Until now, because I felt I could not leave them out, I have been manually copying them into the Story, but when you have more than a few comments, that creates a frustrated Storify user. I think what we are most expecting is a Google+ integration and I can not wait to see it.
Commenting Systems Integration
Many people forget that social sites like Twitter and Facebook don't cover every discussion online. We get so many great and thoughtful comments here at ReadWriteWeb and when I've attempted to bring them into the Storify Story, the result is a bland copy/paste experience. Most commenting systems have at least a rudimentary API and I'd love to see them integrated with Storify. Give us an option to add those as easily as we add Twitter and Facebook comments, and let us choose to collapse them as well. ReadWriteWeb commenters pour their heart and soul into comments and a 500 word comment might disrupt the Story if not allowed to collapse.
As I write this story, I am seeing for the first time an ability to add Disqus comments, but the feature doesn't yet work. Perhaps this is another of the new additions to Storify?
Turn off the Tool Tips
I can't be the only person who is consistently hounded to check out the tips each time I create a new story. This shouldn't be appearing more than once or twice to people who use Storify. At some point, I've either gone through the tips or decided I don't need them. Please make them go away.
The only way I've found to add a tweet is to mark it as a favorite and then add it via the favorites search in Storify. Though many of the tweets will include our hashtag, #RWWBigQuestion, only a few of those will appear in a search for that hashtag on Storify. Likewise, I have to use the browser bookmarklet to add a Facebook comment, because even searching for the exact words used in the comment will not bring them up in Storify search.
Search on Storify is not hit or miss, it's virtually useless.
I should be able to post some sort of search that would auto-update. A story on Whitney Houston's death should continue to add tweets that follow the chosen hashtag, with my having the ability to go in and edit and remove any that I deem unworthy.
Images Are Difficult
Sometimes I want to add an image, maybe one I see on Pinterest or one that really exemplifies the story that is being written by our reader comments. In those cases, unless someone happens to have uploaded it to Flickr, I can't do it. There should be a way to either upload an image or to elegantly link to one that lives elsewhere online.
Facebook Likes or Twitter Retweets
While the current Facebook and Twitter implementations are strong, it would be so much better if the popularity of the comment was shown. Knowing that one person has shared an opinion is great, but it's so much more powerful to see that the comment had 27 likes or 15 retweets. Part of what makes Storify so great is the obvious focus on sharing the feeling, and without those votes of confidence, the result is less rich.
Minor Tech Problems
And then there's the UI... In an effort to make a brilliant product feel glossier, the new Storify goes too far. While the look is prettier, simple tasks like highlighting a word or creating a link may take three or more tries and that's a burden that most people don't want to bear for beauty. I'll take a less gorgeous, Web 1.0 look, any day over struggling with simple highlighting bugs or dealing with a Storypad that doesn't load at all 20% of the time.
As I've said, I want to make it clear that I am both an avid Storify user and a fan, so I only offer these suggestions in hopes of making a product I love better. But I also want to stress how frustrating the issues are, and how important they are to Storify users.
How would you make Storify better? Let us know in the comments.