Monday, 28 December 2009

All The Small Things

One thing I always find with products is that usually it's the small things that make the biggest difference. Little features that I miss when I'm using something else that doesn't have it. Or little things that really piss me off during the course of use. Usually things that the designer might not have properly considered.

 (Text is more readable if you click for the full-size image)

That said, Facebook tends to break this idiom a little bit. Now Facebook is a great site, and it has improved massively since it was first popular, but it's always been full of some really irritating little things. Comments used to be restricted to a few hundred characters. Generally not a big deal, but it was annoying when you ran into it. I don't like how it strips line breaks out of certain things, like when you post links to stuff or status updates. Above all it pisses me off how I can't edit my own comments. I really don't understand why they've not put that sort of functionality into it yet. It's a small thing, but it'd make a big difference. Why the fuck can't I have more than six bookmarked application icons on the bar at the bottom, when there's a shitload of space? And I won't even start on the things wrong with Facebook chat.

These aren't things that I feel the people behind the site can be forgiven for overlooking. Maybe there's a reason they're deliberately leaving it out, but if they're not it's fucking annoying to not be able to edit comments. As long as you don't have some stupid system like Skype where people can edit the comments of anyone who joins the convo after they do as well as their own, then it'd be a massively useful feature. Because I make typos a lot and I only ever fucking notice the moment I click post/send.

YouTube however have fixed something that just annoyed me for ages. On my main page I have the box for subscription updates. I subscribe to stuff, and it's the only way I'd really follow most things I follow. What's really annoying though is when I don't want to bother watching a subscribed video. There's no way to remove it from the list except by clicking on it and watching a few seconds, which isn't a huge deal, but it's a bit annoying. What was even more irritating is that YouTube would for some reason add videos I'd already watched back onto the list. However, I now don't care because they've finally added in a little button to delete videos from the unwatched subscribed videos dealie. I don't know when they added it, because it's one of those shitty buttons that doesn't appear until you hover the mouse over it (like on Facebook, but at least their buttons aren't like 15x15 pixels in size). I'm certain it hasn't always been there though.

It doesn't seem like a big problem, or a big deal now it's fixed, and it's not. It's not going to drastically improve my quality of life. But it was something that was a bit of a pain, and it's nice to not have to put up with it any more.
Maybe one day I'll also be able to get a laptop that can turn on first time when the temperature is below 20°C.

Often though things that really annoy me are features that a product doesn't have when other products do. I can't use any browser other than Firefox 3 or above because I've come to rely massively on using the awesomebar. I can't use Bing instead of Google because I've come to rely on the search engine actually finding what I'm fucking looking for. I don't think I could really go back to using Livejournal now because I'm too accustomed already to the extra features on Blogspot. I hate using any forum software that isn't SMF because none of them have a "read unread replies to your post" button, which is for a lot of  SMF forums the only one I actually use. I get annoyed using iTunes or Windows Media Player because they don't have the same user interface functionality that Winamp has (or Foobar if you fuck around setting it up).

Usually they're really not features people would class as a big deal, but when you rely quite heavily on them, it can be quite irritating to have to work without them.

I've written today's entry early today, because I'm going out for a bit of a pub crawl later and probably won't bother writing anything when I get back. Looking forward to it, and it should be fun. Can't get too stupidly drunk though, because I need to at least be recovered from any hangover in time to go to an optician's appointment tomorrow afternoon.

Also, I'm currently looking for a banner for the top of this blog. If anyone has any suggestions and/or is interested in making one, then leave a comment or facebook PM me or something.

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