Yes, it is a step up for power users, but I imagine it must be intimidating to n00bz and is a little too crowded for my tastes. But having finally spent some time with #NewTwitter, deeper problems make me think it got kicked out of the nest before its wings were fully formed.
NewTwitter has shortcut keys for navigating the stream with j and k, as popularized by Google, but with two major problems. First of all, the selection background, #f4f4f4 on white... All but invisible on less than perfectly-contrasted displays.
But more importantly, the tweet you navigate to is not the same as the tweet you’ve selected! And other shortcut keys, like f for ‘favorite’, affect the actually selected tweet, rather than the one you’ve navigated to. Confused? You should be! There’s a reason nobody does it like this!
Aside from being confusing, it’s a hassle to use. While pruning my favorites, I often ended up unfavoriting tweets outside my browser frame, possibly losing favorites I would have preferred to keep. And for every tweet I wanted to interact with, I had to first press Enter, which feels absolutely counterintuitive when you come in from for instance Gmail or Google Reader.
Personally, I would yank the shortcut key support immediately and rebuild it from scratch.
The much neglected, yet still undefeated champion of Twitter on OS X, Tweetie for Mac, has an option, I believe it’s default, where new tweets are stacked on top of your current position. It’s fantastic as it allows you to leave Tweetie alone, and work your way up at your own convenience, never missing a tweet. You can also choose to auto-scroll, which is a great way of monitoring your stream as it’s happening.
When the ‘X New Tweets’ box appears, you click it and the tweets appear, pushing down existing ones. But they aren’t highlighted. So for anything above a handful, you have no way of knowing which are new. When possible, I like reading everything that comes through my stream, but when you come back to the client and the counter is well above a hundred; good luck finding where you left off.
PS: One way to circumvent this problem, is to click the first tweet in your stream, before loading in new ones, as a marker of your progress.
It’s a fundamental problem to the basic tenant that has elevated Twitter from obscure plaything to one of the primary communications channels of our lives, that all replies can’t be treated equally by the user.
Twitter is a two-way communications medium. That’s why it’s successful. You broadcast, they reply. Simple. But in actual fact, the way it goes is: you broadcast, the people you follow reply. And then someone else might also reply, but in Twitter-world, as decreed by the web and iOS app interfaces, replies do not mingle. They’re either from people you follow, showing up in your timeline, or not, showing up only under the
This makes sense if you’re more popular than you have time for, grumpy and/or very focussed, but if you turn it around and instead think of the timeline as your twitter timeline, then it only makes sense to allow for
@mentions from people you don’t follow.
Aggravating the issue, the
@Mentions tab in the web app doesn’t highlight when new mentions roll in, which I guesstimate converts into the majority of people using only the web app, not seeing any replies from people they don’t follow.
That cute guy/gal you met at SXSW, casually trying to get in touch through Twitter? Forget about it. The tweet from someone notifying you of a grievous error in your latest column? Won’t see it. Or more relevant, if you happen to publish a blog post that becomes very popular and people write to you on Twitter…
But here’s what really grinds my gears:
@replies from the timeline do show up under
@mentions. That makes some kind of sense. The problem is that for the most part you’ll first see those replies in your timeline, and then again when you next check
@mentions. And apart from that redundancy, the two ‘unread’ indicators (where they exist, being absent as they are from the web app) don’t know that you’ve already read those same replies in your timeline, and gleefully light up when they
@mentions is updated.
Also, just as a sidenote, replies aren’t highlighted in the timeline, nor are there any notifications for new direct messages.
Since all internal Twitter links are AJAX-powered, they’ll actually break your browsers tabs. Just try opening someones profile with a middle- or CMD-click. For this crime alone!, I’ll leave the right-hand column empty.
It’s a step forward; nay, leap. Generally I do like it. But as they grew from oddity to industry behemoth, Twitter has become an indispensable part of many people’s lives, my own included. And because of that I’ve been baffled in the past by their reticence first towards GUI clients, and then towards their own web app. That seems to finally have broken, and while the iOS apps are by-and-large the best Twitter apps on those platforms — and beyond — the web app is in need of some fix-‘er-upping before it’s up to snuff.
That’s not to say that it isn’t a major improvement. And it’s great to see — wait for it — synergy between it and the iPad app interfaces. I can’t wait for it to mature.
I’d just kinda hoped that would have happened with this version.
I love the engineers behind iPhone OS. They’re head, neck, shoulders and torso ahead of everyone else. It’s kind of scary in a way, as it probably shows just goes to show how far behind everything else is in contrast.
Not to pick on WordPress, I’ve just spent a good deal of time with it over the last few days, and it struck me again yesterday how, as I was testing a slew of role management plugins (argh, by the way), that I would activate a plugin, and subsequently not have the faintest clue where to look for any new UI inserted by it. Some put a single options page under Users, others inserted whole bundles of pages, some put them where I least expected it…
Contrasted with the iPhone, where when you install or update an app, from the phone itself, it will actually exit the app store and take you to the screen where the icon is, and show you that it’s being installed/updated. This usually takes 10-20 seconds, and you’re good to go; it’s right there ready for you.
It’s a small thing, and in the cases where you’d prefer to stay in the store it may be mildly annoying, but on a larger scale it means a lot less frustration and searching, even in a system as simple as the iPhone.
I could pull out a plethora of reasons why the media manager in WordPress needs to be the focus of the next major release after WordPress 3.0, but honestly, this particular issue seems to say everything there is to say on the subject.
Seriously now; did anyone even bother testing it? How long has it been like that?
I love WordPress; I actually really do, but you can’t just throw the first media manager that crosses your path into WordPress core and think that’s that… And I’m not just talking about this either. I’ve looked at the code; I’ve reverse-engineered the code. It’s not pretty, but more importantly, it’s symptomatic of a whole heap of problems in WordPress in general.
A Snow Leopard-esque release would do wonders; though I have to wonder if it won’t break the back of those who take it upon themselves to try it?
In an attempt to halt the furry-fication of my workstation wallpaper, I have my screensaver kick in early and leave any assailants at a login screen. Today I returned from a meeting, only to find that as I tried logging in, Vista, as a part of our network policy, persisted in asking me to change my password. Now. Not tomorrow, not five minutes from now. Now.
How do you change your password you ask? Choose ‘Change User’, which automatically logs you out, only for you to then log back in so that you can change your password. “But won’t that cause any open applications to close?” you ask. Yes, it will. “But isn’t that like extending the middle finger to the user, rather than protecting his data?” you ask. Yes, yes it is. And I may be mistaken, but I swear I heard a gleeful cackling as it did so.
Of course, when Vista was done hurling my sacred and precious user data into the sun, it promptly changed the resolution to 640×480, asking me for a new password. I relinquished one, and was reinserted into the hell that is Vista. I immediately tried changing the resolution and setting my primary/secondary monitors back to their original order, but couldn’t. Blink. Blinketi-blink. 2×24” at 640×480; live with it.
So I restarted. Again.
PS: And this isn’t mentioning the times the login screen has been black with a cursor on top. Vista loves playing ‘guess a course of action, fucker’ with me. I wish the feeling was mutual, that would really raise my quality of life.
PPS: “Windows 7 is coming, it’ll make everything better.” Dude, I doubt it. I really do.
I recently served as a “consultant’s consultant,” advising a world leader in his field on what to do about his website. In particular, this expert asked me whether he should start a weblog. I said no. #
And I say: Yes, by all means, go for it!
I don’t care what field you’re a ‘world leader’ in, I guarantee you, a lot of people out there want to hear your small, hastily written thoughts on whatever topic you might find interesting at any given moment. A hell of a lot more so, than they want to read your deeply serious, hoity toity, graph-ridden ‘article’, which while surely very interesting in its own right, is not where the connection between you and your audience will thrive.
This is because we are humans, and humans, while superficially interested in graphs, long paragraphs and high-concepts, are just hardwired towards seeking human contact. This is why we have idolization and fandom. It’s driven by our basic desire to follow the people we admire.
Translated to my personal sphere of idolization, you could say that while I would surely read a lengthy graph-ridden article by Joss Whedon on Equality now, but conversely, I would just as much like to read a three paragraph quickie on why science fiction movies largely disappoint.
Joss Whedon being a world leader in Whedonesque matters, is thus just as well off with going down either path, if the desired result is ‘attracting customers’.
The problem with Jakob Nielsen—or perhaps rather his audience as it were—is that his articles, top 10’s and ‘usability tests’ are outdated, largely irrelevant and when applicable, made up of nothing but easily thought up logical conclusions aimed at the dull gray ‘we want to be hip with the youngsters, yo’ corporate market, from which he makes his money.
So if you’re hip, down with the beat and ‘happenin’, save yourself the headache, use your brain, not useit.com, and the rest should come easily.
We can measure expertise as some combination of intelligence, education, experience, correct methodology, professionalism (say, avoiding profanities and politics), and willingness to be frank.
I don’t mean to be the ‘look at me, we’re revolutionary’-idiot with the sign around his neck, because, let’s face it, my content isn’t exactly revolutionary as such. But what a piece of elitist ego-stroking generalized no-sharp-edges PR-friendly bullshit.
Jakob Nielsen, there’s a telegraph for you; it reads: “2007 going well stop. Hope you are also well in 1997 stop. Please stop stop.”
Now I don’t personally use the visual editor in WordPress. I like me some Textile and control. But it is in there, and I think non-tech users are better off overall because of it.
And now with WordPress 2.1, you can even switch between WYSIWYG and code views. Great!
Yeah, well it is great, but what in the hell is going on with those buttons?!
First of all, I’ve scraped everything I don’t use off of the edit page, so that’s why it’s so ‘light’. But that’s not what you’re supposed to pay attention to. No, rather you should have a look at the two form buttons to the upper left of the content text area.
Form buttons. As ‘tabs’? Oh no you didn’t! It looks like someone does all their designing in Firefox, seeing as how they are styled to not look like buttons when viewed through the right looking glass.
Now, WordPress normally styles its buttons in a horrible manner. That’s one thing, I can deal with that. But I cannot for the life of me figure out why anyone would want to use buttons as tabs to change between WYSIWYG and code view rather than two styled links.
If code is poetry, I don’t know what that is. Someone at Automattic needs a slap on the wrists, a few hours with Mr. Zeldman and access to Safari :)
Now, as Joen so rightly pointed out, the code view was one of the things we advocated strongly while we were doing Shuttle. In fact, this is how we had thought it could look.
Luckily, I don’t really care, since I never use the visual editor anyway. But come on.
Alright, I wasn’t planning on posting this just yet, but since I won’t have proper time to work on it for the next few days, my lack of patience got the better of me.
Now it is important to note that this isn’t even a mockup as much as it is a sketch (albeit rather a polished one). There is some functionality missing and so on and so forth.
First up is the edit page with the media manager closed. As you can see, I also put in Flickr and Youtube as similar services to hook into. However, the media manager itself is meant to be a way to manage your local files (images, video, audio primarily I think).
Click the My Media tab, and the page splits open, revealing the media manager underneath. The rest of the admin is obviously better off being centered and fixed width, but the media manager gets the benefits of ‘stretching from ear to ear’.
A quick quick quick walkthrough of what I like to call a ‘feature-rich environment’:
- You can filter, sort and search your media library.
- Uploading takes place in the same area, I’m working on that stuff now.
- It is 100% of the browser width to give you more space.
- Like the textarea, you can resize the preview shelf, by grabbing the handle underneath the scrollbar.
- Double clicking a media preview, rolls out a small editing pane next to the image where you can edit title, desc. & tags.
- You add media to the content area by dragging and dropping.
- You should hopefully be able to preview audio and video. Audio is easy, video, not so much…
- There will be more stuff :)
And that’s what I’ve been up to in Habari. I’m pouring some of the stuff I work on into a flickr set, and of course both mine, Khaled’s and any other volounteers discuss all of this on the mailing list (and here is the thread for the above sketches).
And no, it won’t be coming to a Habari installation near you in the near future. In fact, I think I probably caused a few gray hairs in the Habari coders when they saw this. But it’s doable, and I’ll gladly chip in with my own meager skills.
Ideas, suggestions and what not are of course very welcome