Over this past week while working on administrative tasks for StArt Faire, it became necessary for me to analyze the best use for two different platforms. However, I was overtaken by a feeling of the stark difference between the company practices. Namely, where the companies focus device wise and how that affects me as a user, not only in my enjoyment but in my desire to even use the platform. Thus, my goal today is to write down my thoughts about these stark differences. Please keep in mind that the platforms I’m about to compare are from widely different industries. Nonetheless, they are the best representatives for what I’m about to talk about. Let us continue on this journey as I compare Tapastic and Discord.
For those unfamiliar with the webcomic industry, as far as mass hosting goes, Tapastic is one of the hugest platforms out there right now. It offers numerous of the expected services such as: easy uploading of comics, the ability to schedule releases, the ability to comment on others’ comics, an upvote/downvote system for those comments, etc.. There is also a good sized user-base from which creators can gain readers, so it is one of the go-to sites all around.
That being said, after some internal changes in 2016, Tapastic became extremely focused on its mobile app called Tapas. The change in focus was extreme enough that Tapastic even made a new Twitter account to reflect this change.
Under normal circumstances, an app is usually not a bad thing. In fact, it is becoming more common for creators to make sure their content is mobile friendly, as a huge chunk of their views comes from mobile users. Unfortunately, however, Tapastic’s change of focus was so thorough that their desktop version is now severely neglected.
Their mobile app has numerous features you cannot even access via their site. For example, the mobile app allows writers to post regular novels, and include paywalls for their content. Comic creators can also use these paywalls for their content and, unfortunately, there is no way as of yet to get past these on a desktop. Even more recently Tapastic added a tipping feature where one can watch ads, gain coins, and then give them to creators they wish to support. Of course, as is the theme, this is something you can only do via the mobile app.
Now it’s quite easy to say, “Just get the app.” The unfortunate fact of the matter is many people do not have access to compatible mobile devices. This is not to mention the numerous people who may not like reading from their phones or tablets for a variety of reasons, whether it be text size, screen brightness, etc.. Yet, Tapastic has made the mobile app a near essential component to use their platform to the fullest. For those who are skeptical that Tapastic really is neglecting its desktop version, at the time this post was written, the Twitter link at the footer of the site still links to their old Twitter account. I don’t know about you, but a company who cannot even be bothered to check their links is one that is not being very attentive.
The unfortunate consequence of this mobile focus is that Tapastic is ruining the experience on desktop. Readers who are desktop oriented cannot financially support the creators they like, nor can they even read some of the comics that are exclusive to the Tapas app. Inevitably, this shows a lack of care for creators, in my opinion, as this essentially cheats creators out of fans and financial support they might otherwise have. These lack of desktop features likewise affect readers, as with an increasing exclusivity for the app, readers are left with less content to peruse. The end result is the desktop version becomes increasingly unenjoyable; between the desktop site breaking for long periods of time and the knowledge that you’re missing out on a lot of features, it is just a discouraging experience to use Tapastic on a computer.
At the end, this specialization of focus ruins a lot of the experience. It can be no wonder why a good chunk of the user-base is leaving for LINE Webtoon, whose desktop version is friendlier in several respects (though does suffer its own issues).
So how does this relate and compare to Discord’s company practices? Tune into the blog tomorrow where I will discuss how Discord chooses to handle various devices. I will also conclude this segment with the next post, and specify why the differing industries don’t make a difference~!
Tapastic is © to Tapas Media, Inc.
Image: Screenshot- From Tapastic’s old Twitter account.