My thoughts exactly.
It’s time for another installment of the State of the Hostile Web, a series that I’ve never officially started, yet have many entries examples of user-antagonism to highlight.
I don’t know about you, but for me, I immediately heard Kenny Rogers. Maybe that’s because I was born and raised in Texas, but that’s besides the point. This was a crystal clear opportunity to blast the Internet with a reminder of the awesomeness that is The Gambler.
To ensure I got it just right, I did a quick search for the lyrics, and the first site to pop up is called LyricsFreak (they don’t get any link love from me – you’ll see why), which displays the words in all of whiskey-soaked glory. But when I go to cut-and-paste them (you can call it lazy – I call it efficient), nothing is selectable. At all. The normal click-and-drag to highlight doesn’t work and the right-click menu is taking the day off.
I was perplexed. I was annoyed. But I also know a little bit about these here Web pages, so I figured that I would just view the page source to disable the code that was blocking me, or I might copy the lyrics from there.
…and I stopped dead in my tracks, confronted with this:
On a warm summer 's evenin' on a  train bound for  nowhere,
That’s the very first line of the song: “On a warm summer’s eve on a train bound for nowhere”.
Beyond disabling all of the standard methods for copying a bit of text, Lyric Freaks encoded every single character of the song.
Part of me understands that their goal is to not have other people copy their database in bulk. Assuming they paid for the transcription, it has value to them that they want to protect in order to make some money . I get that. I’m a happy little capitalist myself.
But this practice has instantly made the site useless to me, when there is a sea of lyric sites available. Beyond that, any developer can tell you that this won’t make the least bit of difference to someone specifically scraping the Lyric Freaks site to snag their content. None.
So, the people who actually use their service, see, and hopefully click, their ads and tell others to visit are hamstrung.
Which I used oh so cleverly in under 140 characters:
This is a very long blog post that boils down to the fact that LyricFreaks has lost site of what’s important, hurting prospective users before they even have a chance to turn them into fans. All this in an attempt to protect something, using a method that won’t work, making the Web a little less friendly and a little less usable.
User-hostile practices do not work on the Internet. Your site or service is one among many competitors, and it won’t take long for a competitor to eclipse your work, so do yourself a favor and build solutions that reward the user for visiting instead of making their day harder in an attempt to protect a castle made of sand.
Peter Steen Høgenhaug has posted the results of a usability test focused “aimed at exploring how little documentation you could leave in a CMS, and still have even the most non-savvy person use it with no issues”. This lead him to discover how few people make the connection between an icon of two links in a chain with the act of creating a hyperlink to another page. It’s a quick read and a fascinating study of the cognitive association, or lack thereof when trying to extend real world imagery to represent online actions.
It would be interesting to see a study focused on users who are familiar with content management systems, to see if they find this to be an issue. Without a great replacement, we may need to rely on discovery and learning for this association.
This reminds me a lot of my previous post . So, posing the same question as we did there – what would be a good replacement? I haven’t been able to come up with a great iconic substitution and am leaning ever so slightly, toward simply using the word Link. I’m sure there’s something better though.
What do you think, is it worth changing? If so, what should it be?
“feature complexity — scope — is always the cost multiplier, not user experience. There aren’t debates about experience or how far to take it. The user experience simply has to be up to base standard in order to ship, no matter how trimmed down the feature is.” I agree 100% – without a consistent experience, you can’t trust the results gleaned from your minimum viable product.
For the last couple of years, one of the most important columns in my TweetDeck setup was the one tasked with presenting tweets that mention Refresh Austin. The search itself is pretty straightforward, though it includes several variants to account for all of the possible ways that people might reference our group:
refreshaustin OR austinrefresh OR “refresh austin” OR “austin refresh” OR @refreshaustin. This worked beautifully for a long time, but a little while back (I don’t know when exactly) I noticed that the feed included many tweets that have nothing to do with our group. A significant portion of these are written in languages other than English, so it’s been hard to detect a pattern.
Twitter’s search now follows links within tweets to determine that they are both valid (non-spam, no malware) and also to provide additional context. So, in this case as bit.ly/ra resolves to RefreshAustin.org, the tweets appear in my search feed even though they have absolutely nothing to do with us.
So now I understand why this happens, but I do not have a solution for it. While I do not want to filter out tweets that contain the bit.ly/ra link as it is a valid link, I’d love to reduce the overall noise. This is a bit frustrating, but seems solvable with a bit of time and effort. Should I figure something out, I’ll post it.
“An inspirational collection of UI details.”
“An inspirational collection of UI details.”
"Manipulating Perceived Duration with Visual Augmentations" The video is well worth the minute it takes to watch it
“Manipulating Perceived Duration with Visual Augmentations” The video is well worth the minute it takes to watch it
We are very proud of our empirical focus, because it makes us humble – we realize that most of the time, we don’t know up-front what customers want. The feedback from testing quickly sets us straight, and helps make sure that our efforts are really focused at optimizing the things that make a difference in the customer experience
Neil Hunt, Chief Product Officer, Netflix
The rest of the response to the question “What types of things does Netflix A/B test aside from member sign-up?” is well worth the quick read.
An interesting new prototyping application. HT @toddsieling
"The interactive sketching notation is an emerging visual language which affords the representation of interface states and event-based user actions. Through a few simple and standardized rules, what the user sees (drawn in greys and blacks) and does (drawn in red) are unified into a coherent sketching system. This unification of both interface and use, intends to enable designers to tell more powerful stories of interaction."
I've been waiting for this functionality for a very long time and I truly hope the folks at Omni include this as a feature in an upcoming release. Until then, we can thank the fine people at UNITiD for this AppleScript.
The direct touch input removes a layer of abstraction, and that’s a really big deal. In this way, it was like going back to design for print – when you push it with your finger, it moves! – but it’s utterly unlike print in every other way imaginable. Point is, the direct interface really does mean reevaluating every assumption when it comes to interactive design.
Derek’s post is chock-full of insights, but that quote in particular struck me. I don’t think we’ve realized just how different the iPad and similar devices are from our familiar grounds, both in terms of design and usage. Tools that we’ve relied on, in some cases quite heavily, like the hover state, are on their way out, while entirely new capabilities are introduced.
We are no longer chained as designers, developers or users to that single little arrow moving about the screen. We can finally make use of all of our digits on-screen.
A useful collection of design patterns and user interfaces.
A large set of resources for those who use Illustrator for wireframes. It includes 290 free vectors icons and 200 graphic styles, all free to use. This looks very useful indeed.
Google's (very long) in depth view of online and offline social networks and what they have learned.