Nov 19, 2010

How many clicks?

In the UX world we often get hung up on how many clicks it takes someone to do something. A product's usability can be effectively measured by how many clicks it takes to do a task. If you reduce a task's clicks from 20 to 10, give yourself a pat on the back.

However, I think we're missing an important step. The mouse move.

We all know about the deadly triangle of interaction where a user finds themselves traversing acres of pixels to click this button, then inputting some text and then navigating to another button somewhere else on the screen. But even if you put those buttons close together, it's still probably not close enough.

This Facebook workflow for deleting a group member (see my rant on that here) underscores this thought:

This simple 2-click operation is made just a little bit harder by a slight shift of the button requiring a mouse move. It is made extremely painful when removing many (say 55) group members. No option to bulk delete is provided so you find yourself clicking, moving the mouse, then clicking again to confirm. Ugh.

So hey, now you know. Keep those clicks close. Even the simplest tasks can be made harder by small inconveniences. The only real way to prevent this kind of thing from surfacing is to REALLY use your product. I mean, really use it.

Don't just click around. Don't just run a test. Try to accomplish the task you're asking your users to do. Try to do it in 5 minutes. And don't just count clicks, count every gesture as well.

Dear Facebook,

Groups suck.

They really do. A friend of mine remarked how he liked the fact that his Facebook chat window was grouped in some manner. I thought I might like this idea too. I found the first thing in the Facebook UI and excitedly clicked it. I gleefully added 55 friends to this group. Some of these people are closer personal friends, some are just acquaintances. The common thread was that I met them at work or that they work in the same industry and the goal was that I could separate the random design stuff I find interesting from the family moments and personal stuff out. Not that they couldn't mix, but I wanted to be able to be more targeted about who I was talking to.

My group, Werk Friends, with it's comically misspelled "work" was going to simply allow me to send messages and posts to certain people. I didn't.

After setting up the group I was excited to see someone post to the group. I was a little surprised to get an email about it but I shrugged it off. I was then surprised to see a random friend comment on the post. I was also surprised, and this time a little annoyed, to get an email about the comment.

Upon receiving the third email, this time from a friend in SF who was confused and asking if the original post was something in SF, I was done.

Upon learning that every time ANYONE posted something to the group EVERYONE got an email, I was LIVID. WTF?

This isn't how groups work, Facebook. If I add something to a group, it is for my own organizational purposes. If YOU join a group, it is because you want to be in it and participate in it. Automatically sending someone an email about group posts just because someone else added them to the group is dumb.

Instead of just getting emails about posts, my friends should have gotten an email saying, "hey, do you want to be a part of Dave's group? Oh, and do you want to get an email about every frickin' post?"

This seems like a small thing, and in the end it really isn't the end of the world. But, as someone who cares about what I say to people and more importantly doesn't want to waste anyone's time, this is a major blunder.

To add insult to injury, when I went to delete the group I found out there was no "one-click" way to do it. After wandering around the UI trying to find a "delete group" button I finally visited the Facebook Help Center. I guess groups are automatically deleted if they have no members. All you have to do is delete all the members and the admin. ONE AT A TIME. So, 55 member deletes later (each requiring 2 clicks with a move of the mouse in between), my group is still there. I guess it will be deleted automatically... later?

And hopefully my friends didn't get a message saying they were deleted. Wait. They probably did, didn't they.


Nov 15, 2010

Love. Run. Repeat.

This is my mantra. My motto. It came to me on my run this afternoon. A run I needed. I ran, I prayed, I got an answer.

Love. Run. Repeat.

I don't care if you believe in God. These are words to live by. They aren't a guarantee, they aren't new, easy, or a cure-all. They are the words I say to myself with each foot fall. Love. Run. Love. Run. Love...

One of the most important things as a runner is to never stop. Once you stop it is SO hard to get going again. In the short term and the long. If you're on mile 0 and you decide to take a week off or you're on mile 12 of a halfie it doesn't matter. Stopping will kill you. Keep going. Jog. 12:00 minutes a mile is better than nothing. 

Same with love. 

Never stop. Go all in. Stopping will kill your relationships. Even in the face of huge obstacles. What if a runner stopped every time they faced a hill? Think about how far you have come, where you want to be, the journey, and how good gliding down that hill is going to feel. The most important thing is to put one foot in front of the other and get back home.

Get back home. Never stop running. Never stop loving.