Multi-device vs. Specialization: Company Edition Pt. 2

Welcome to Part 2 everyone~!  Yesterday, I discussed why and how webcomic platform Tapastic is alienating users by focusing mostly on its mobile app.  In this post, we’re going to take a look at Discord, whose company practices handle different devices in an opposite manner.  I will also put together a conclusion about the overall effect this has on users, whether good or bad.

Discord

More briefly, let’s now compare DiscordDiscord is a messenger service in a similar matter to TeamSpeak and Skype.  Users can create their own chat server or join someone else’s.  Each server offers numerous amounts of customizability, allowing users to create various channels for different topics and even have Voice channels.  It is a quickly growing platform, at the moment, with a very dedicated team.

That being said, besides industry, there is a huge difference between Discord and Tapastic: the former is vastly cross-device.  Want to use Discord in a browser?  You can do that.  As a separate application on your computer?  Yup, it even has a Linux version.  Want to use on mobile?  Go right ahead, there’s an app (well, unless you’re a Windows phone user like me…).

The point is, Discord has made itself vastly available so users can access it via whatever their chat preference is.  From my experience at least, all the different platforms run similarly smooth, so there’s no loss of features or support.  It is also extremely easy to be a guest in anyone’s server, so there’s not even a need to make an account.  If you choose to make an account, however, the process is easy, and opens up several features to enhance the core experience.

Now, there are features Discord just very recently put behind a paywall, with its version called Nitro.  However, these features are very minor, and include elements like the ability to have an animated avatar or have a badge for supporting Discord.  The most major locked feature is the larger file transfer size; by default, Discord has a limit of 8MB, whereas Nitro will get you a whopping 50MB.  With services like Google Drive and OneDrive, this seems a minor inconvenience.  The inevitable impression of Nitro so far is indeed what the team stated their goal was: it offers cosmetic changes, but the core experience remains the same.

At the end, this cross-device ability makes Discord a very user friendly service.  One is not limited by their device, so it allows almost the biggest user-base possible to use the service.  The features that are locked are not done so in a way that gives one device priority over another.  This accessibility and great support make the experience of using Discord very enjoyable.  Thusly, one is kept using the service, since it not only fulfills a desire, but does so in a thorough manner.

discordexample

 

Conclusion

As I have argued above, Tapastic’s focus on a single device has basically broken much of its user-base in half.  It denies creators and readers a fulfilling experience, whether they have the Tapas mobile app or not.  It is especially sad compared to a service like Discord who is so multi-device it can be accessed from most places.  Now, there are those who would make a valid point in saying that the industry makes a difference.  If Discord wasn’t accessible like it is, it would be an unusable chat service.  Tapastic, in comparison, is not limited by that so can afford to specialize.  To that, I say, however, is what harm would it do if Tapastic was more readily available equally on multiple devices?  Even if the company can survive without it, it could only please more of its user-base if it gave its desktop version more attention.

All in all, it is my conclusion that a company focused too much on one device is doing itself and its users a disservice.  It makes the experience unenjoyable for a good size of their user-base, and inevitably turns them away.  This is, of course, undesirable as there is always competition that would be eager to snap up those users.  I believe such a practice quickly puts a company on a riskier path that may indeed lead to their demise, whether it be now or ten years for now.  While the phrase has been harmfully used in the past, “the customer is always right” developed from the sheer fact a company should pay attention to its customers lest they leave.

 

So please, if you own or want to start a company, remember that all devices need attention if you want your users to have the fullest experience.  Company loyalty cannot be relied in the face of someone else who offers a better experience.

 

Discord is © to Hammer & Chisel Inc.

Image: Screenshot- From my test Discord server for developer testing.

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