Does Klout accurately measure anything resembling influence? There has been a lot of debate about this question, yet for the purpose of this post, my answer is: Who cares because their user interface sucks.
Regardless of your view on the foundations of Klout’s metrics, it’s hard to deny that Klout has managed to build a lot of clout for it’s brand in recent years. Yet Klout is one of those online services whose user experience doesn’t come close to living up to its brand.
About the Klout brand, I must say at the outset that I think it’s genius. Everyone online wants clout, there is little question of that. Adding the K and the bold orange score badge is pure branding genius.
But the rest of the user experience doesn’t even come close to this brand impression. I find myself constantly tripping over Klout’s crappy user experience, in part, because the brand leads me to expect so much more.
If Klout really wants to build a loyal user base for its influence measurement system, it needs to fix these issues:
1. My Klout score falls twice as often as it rises.
Rather than gradually moving up, which is how my actual online influence has been growing, my Klout score jumps up then falls back for several days in a row. When I recently counted over a 30 day period, my score declined on 20 of them, though it rose overall for that period. Anecdotally, I’ve observed that others also experience score declines more often than not. I’m not sure this is how influence actually works in the real world and it just seems stupid to me to give your users the impression that they are failing when, in fact, they may be succeeding.
2. Klout thinks I’m influential about stuff I’m not.
The list of things Klout thinks I’m influential about makes no sense. Once, I tweeted:
Some people retweeted it. Then I never tweeted about kilts again. Yet Klout reported that I was influential about kilts. Really? You couldn’t know less about kilts than I do.
3. Ever try to search for people on Klout?
People who clearly have Twitter handles and Tweet can’t be found on Klout. Some days. I search by the Twitter handle and the account name — nothing. Then, I try another time and they come up. Seriously, it’s 2012, people. I thought search just worked by now on the web. Why is this so hard, Klout?
4. Notifications on Klout are baffling.
It used to be that someone gave you a +K and you could thank them. Then Klout changed the interface for the notification. Now, when I click a notification, I find this strange comment box on the +K and its not clear why it’s there. Am I supposed to comment on my +K? Why and for who? And where is the “submit” button for the comment? That’s why the 6 point light gray font appears telling me to “Press Enter to add my comment”. So how am I supposed to thank people for my +Ks now? Wait, I see it, rendered in tiny light gray font. Ugh.
How long are you going to seek cover from all these bad design decisions by leaving the “beta” on your logo. Or is Klout becoming the “standard for beta software” now, as well as for influence?
For the record, I’m not the least bit interested in another ladies shaver.
7. Why would I want to invite my friends to Klout by taunting them with my score?
Everywhere you turn on Klout there is an offer to “invite” your friends from another social network to Klout. Ever click on the link?
@JoeBlow, your Klout Score is 28 (I’m a 57). Check out your @klout profile today!
My score is higher than yours. Come and check out this profile that Klout created without your permission. Real smooth.
According to my Klout profile, I’ve “influenced 00 friends to join Klout”.
Yes, I know, Klout. And that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.
8. Klout iPhone app is a waste of perfectly good storage space.
Seriously, does it do anything other than display your score on the app icon? Can you give +K? Nope. Can you add an influencer? Nope. Can you create a list? Nope.
Then why release an app?
9. Where’s Pinterest?
Not even listed on the networks that are coming soon.
10. Give us some way to identify Klout by geography.
Wouldn’t that be cool? To quickly and easily get a list of influencers by city, province/state, country, etc. We’d all love that. I know what you’re thinking: how are we going to monetize the service if we give that away?
I’d be worried about more than just how you’re going to make money, Klout.
You need to focus on making your service better for its users.