I've been a member of this great platform for about 10 days now and I've enjoyed it very much. I've started a few Conversations in my time here (six to be exact), and in that time I've compiled a list of suggestions which I think would enhance our experience on Cake. But before we get to my suggestions, I think it's important to highlight what I think the platform gets right. What I like about Cake.
The focus is on content, not people
This is the central concept of Cake, and I love it. I was a heavy user of Collections back on Google+ where users could follow interests rather than people, and Cake takes the same approach with Topics. From a reader's perspective, it's easy to find content that interests you. From a writer's perspective, you won't need to worry about catering to a specific audience (like your followers). You can write about anything and through Topics, the right people will find your content. I myself have written about language, smartphones, and shared some photography. I have ideas for posts that cover even more topics too. Not having to worry about writing to fit a specific scope and just being able to share whatever interests you is a major strength of this platform.
Clean writing experience
I like how clean the compose interface is. Very minimalistic with no clutter. The formatting toolbar floats above text when you select it, so there's no need for a static toolbar. I also like the autosave function, so you don't need to manually save your drafts, which means there's no need for a "save" button either. It's just a very clean interface which puts your writing front and centre.
A very proactive team
@Chris , @yaypie, and @Vilen have been very proactive in responding to feedback, and just interacting with the members of Cake in general. I've only been here for a few days and I can already see their commitment to the platform and its members. I believe Cake has a bright future with a dedicated team like this, including those I haven't seen.
Now, on to my suggestions.
An improved writing experience
I like the UI when starting a Conversation, but I feel like it could be improved. For starters, it would help if the "Publish" button was at the bottom, or remained visible at the top regardless of how long our post is. Needing to scroll all the way back up to publish our post is a little tedious. It would also be nice to be able to easily share our post once we publish it to external sites, like Twitter. The omission of a share button means we need to copy and paste our post's URL when we want to share it. It works, but a share button could be more convenient. Lastly, a proper "draft" system would be very useful. Our posts autosave, but we can only ever have one draft at a time, and we need to publish it before being able to write a new post. This "draft" is also restricted to the computer we composed it on. I started writing a post on my desktop one day and was surprised to see that it was missing when I tried to continue writing it from my laptop. When I went back to my desktop, the draft was there. So a proper system to manage multiple drafts from multiple computers would be a great addition, especially in the current "multi-screen" era of technology we live in.
Media in posts
Currently we can only add one photo to our posts, and I feel this is very restricting. We can add photos via image URLs, but what about images from our local storage, which are mostly photos we took with our phone? I feel being able to import photos from Google Photos could solve this, or simply allowing us to add more photos via the built-in image uploader. It would also be nice to be able to place these photos anywhere in the post, the same way we can with links. Captions for the photos would be nice too. As for the main image, would it look better if it was at the top of the post, rather than the bottom? The image is placed prominently on the home page when we browse for posts to read, but in the actual post it's placed right at the bottom. Seems a little contradictory in my opinion. Being able to use GIFs as the main image could be fun too. Lastly, maybe a built-in emoji selector? Not that important, but just throwing it in there.
A bit more focus on people
I know the concept of Cake is to focus on content more than people, but perhaps focusing a little more on people wouldn't hurt. For example, when someone is browsing a topic, maybe the top contributors to the topic could be highlighted? Alternatively, maybe we could see on our profiles which topics we've contributed to the most? These two suggestions could create an association between topics and people, so other can see who the most active posters are in each topic. Of course, quality should also be considered, not just quantity, so this could still need some work. Is there a way to privately communicate with others? Like personal/direct messages? Not sure if this is necessary, but it could be useful in some situations, like if you wanted to plan a Panel with others.
Those were my main suggestions. Lastly, just three more suggestions.
1. This has been asked before, but I want to echo it again - we kinda need a mobile app, pronto. I know the iOS app is close, so I hope the Android app won't be too far away.
2. How do posts get features? I assume they are hand-picked. Perhaps some clarification on what constitutes a "featured" post could be good for users?
3. A notification counter would be handy, instead of just a blue dot to indicate we have notifications, it would be nice to be able to see how many without needing to actually open the notification tab.
That's all from me. Sorry to the team if this is asking too much. I don't want Cake to replicate other social sites, as I feel this place is unique and it should stay that way. But at the same time, I feel like some of the suggestions I shared could really help enhance the experience of using Cake. So I hope the team will consider some of these suggestions and hopefully implement some of them too.