Conquent: Without Limits
Conquent: Without Limits
Michael Bissell's Blog

A Quick Rant -- The New Twitter and Real People

2010-10-01 19:15:21
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Twitter... what are we going to do with you? You have the simplest of concepts -- let people send short messages to friends and make it easy for programmers to write little apps to get those messages. And programmers have built lots of great interfaces like Tweetdeck... so why can't you make a decent interface?

The "New Twitter" web interface is busy, ugly, and requires a LOT of JavaScript to make it work. Look, people, all we're doing is passing notes in class... it's 140 characters from your disorganized group of followers. Why do you need AJAX? ("AJAX" for the non technical reader, stands for "Advanced JavaScript and XML" and is a really big hairball that some browsers and older machines choke and die on.)

Oooooohhhh... Lookie... everything slides around.... it's so cool! And so absolutely unnecessary....

I know, you're all probably getting really tired of me complaining about these kids these days with their fancy-assed style sheets and code for codes sake. But it pisses me off because it's lazy. It's myopic. It's arrogant. And it breaks. Constantly.

Do I really have to remind people that the web is critical to everything we do? Yet, it's getting needlessly complex. There are more non-technical people using technical tools online, and I don't mean Twitter, I mean tools that are replacing customer service, tracking, and all the little bits of information we need to get our jobs done every day.

At the same time, those of us who have been playing with the Internet since the days of "gopher" are so far beyond the average person that, apparently, we've forgotten that people have to use this stuff and programmers are doing things like The New Twitter because it's cool. Even if it breaks.

There was a simple rule I learned in advertising -- everything in the design should have a purpose. You should be able to defend the position of a hair on a model's head. The basic rule of interface design is that it should be effortless -- the person using your technology should forget there is even any technology in front of them.

Simply saying, "because it looks cool" isn't good enough.

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John Bissell: Re: A Quick Rant -- The New Twitter and Real People
2010-10-01 20:25:59

I agree. It is not just in on-line either. It's in cars, and bicycles and our groceries. It's the new human nature, but is far removed from traditional (every time before 1950) human nature. I think the new human thinking is made by our removal from how things work and where things come from. Before 1950 most people in every country lived in small towns or on farms and had some relationship to production of food or goods that helped with the production of food. Now most people in almost every country live in cities and have no relationship with land or production. How things work and the purpose of things is lost.

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