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Posts Tagged ‘User Experience’

YAY! No more Horizontal Scrolling in TweetDeck

February 18th, 2010 3 comments

There are many goodies in the new version of TweetDeck (0.33). The one that I like most is the Column Navigator, a usability improvement that makes navigation between columns a snap and will make you say goodbye to horizontal scrolling.  

Another worth mentioning feature is the additional media types you can view inside the client, like Flickr images and YouTube videos.

Posted via email from jaymeydad’s posterous



TweetDeck for iPhone not on par with TwitterFon Pro

June 17th, 2009 1 comment

Since the first Twitter clients on the iPhone came out, I have tried many of them. Eventually I picked TwitterFon and when the Pro version was released I immediately upgraded to it. I find the feature set rich, it is very easy to use and has overall good stability and performance.

But as a long time user of TweetDeck’s desktop client, when I read that an iPhone version was just released, I thought to give it a try.

Well, I must say that TweetDeck for iPhone still has a long way to go before it becomes my preferred twitter client on the iPhone. Here are a few reasons why based on a 5 minutes usages:

  • The app is not stable at all. In 5 minutes it crashed 5 times on me. In one of the cases, after a crash I had to try 3 times before the apps actually worked
  • Strange error message indicating that I am not connected to the internet appeared while I was on Wifi kept appearing (see gallery below)
  • The app does not seem to have a local cache of draft messages. If the app crash while you type a tweet, after restart you will have to start all over again!
  • If you type in a tweet and then attach to it a photo, your tweet message will disappear and gets replaced by the link to the photo. Ugh!
  • Search is not easily accessible. A few steps are required before you can do that which makes search a feature for power users only. First you need to add a new column called “Twitter Search” and set its initial search tern. Then whenever you want to actually edit the search term you have to: (a) navigate to the search column (b) click on the column settings wheel (c) change the search term. However, on TwitterFon search is a main function that is always visible at the bottom bar which makes it very easy to modify a search term
  • Too many times and extra click is required:
    • TweetDeck opens by default in the column preview mode and it forces you to hit another time a column in order to make it use all screen area. IMHO, this should not be the default logic as for most user the Friends column is what they want to read most of the times when the app loads. Better usage of the 80%-20% rule would help here
    • When viewing a streem of tweets, you can not just click on a link that was tweeted to open it. You first need to open a specific tweet in a large preview mode and only then the link becomes live
  • Last personal preference is the UI color. I prefer a light and bright app

On the positive site, TweetDeck has some features that I wish could be added to TwitterFon like:

  • Growl integration – those little notification icons that float at the upper left corner whenever there is a new update
  • QuickFollow button which lets you quickly type in a user name and follow

It is interesting to see how the battle to be the most popular twitter client is accelerating. But for now, I stick with TwitterFon Pro as my preferred Twitter client for the iPhone.

For a detailed comparison check out this great post.



How To Add Signature Right After Reply In Entourage

March 12th, 2009 99 comments

By default, Microsoft Entourage automatically adds a signature at the very bottom of an email thread. I reply to dozens of emails every day and for a long time I used to cut the signature from the bottom and paste it to the correct place.

You might ask yourself how come I kept doing this. Very simple, I just could not find the right setting under the Preferences pane that would change the behavior. There is also no setting related to the positioning of the signature under the “Signatures”window to address this.

I finally found the time and did some online research and was able find the answer. I figured others could benefit from this tip as well. So, here it is. To get Entourage automatically add the signature at the top of the reply/forward, make sure you have the setting as in the screenshot below.

Alternatively, you could upgrade to Outlook which is a much better email client for Mac and is part of the new Office 2011, or use a webmail like Gmail.

Microsoft Entourage - adding signiture at top



Topify Upgrades Twitter’s Weakest Link

March 4th, 2009 5 comments

Arik Fraimovich (the co-creator of QassamCount which I blogged about in the past) together with Ouriel Ohayon (VC & Blogger) launched a very useful service for Twitter called Topify. It is an improved new follower email alert that addresses one of Twitter’s weaknesses – getting bio information and other useful stats (following/followers counts) inside an email and being able to follow back using a simple “reply”. Topify also makes it possible to reply to direct messages (DM) using email. I signed up earlier today (super easy & friendly sign up) and already noticed the benefit. You should do the same. More info on how it works here or on TechCrunch and here is Ouriel’s announcement.

Related to that, I was thinking how come Twitter has not released this feature and kept their new follower email so basic. After all, you would expect that with all the hype and buzz around Twitter and the almost-endless resources they have ($55M in funding to date), the Twitter team would be releasing new features constantly. So, I put this short list of pros and cons and this is what I came up with:

A: Why twitter should have implemented improved email notifications long ago:

  1. Twitter’s basic new follower email has been a major user pain and many users have requested this feature. Listening to your users & enhancing your product to address their needs is important and it creates an engaged user base.
  2. The current email notification is actually hurting Twitter since it is not optimized to help users grow their network. Users don’t check their email constantly. Even when they do that, they don’t immediately take the necessary action. Many of them are limited in time, attention or don’t have the right device (ie a smartphone) that makes it easy to visit their new follower’s twitter page, read the bio located on the right side bar, and then, log into your Twitter account and follow back. This is a very long and cumbersome process which leads to poor conversion.

B: Why twitter has not implemented improved email notifications:

  1. Keeping the product feature-lite encourages more & more 3rd party developers to use the Twitter API and it cements Twitter in the center of the eco-system.
  2. The current basic email alert forces users to visit the twitter website in order to get information about the new follower. This helps increase the number of page views & unique users Twitter.com gets. After all, if the entire Twitter usage comes from 3rd party apps & clients, how can user-rating services like Compete & Quancast measure Twitter’s growth?
  3. Investing resources in email related features is a low priority to Twitter (same as SMS these days) since they see their future in its robust API.

My wild guess is that the folks at Twitter deliberately chose (B) despite the fact it makes their product inferior, and that they will continue to do that until they establish their web property as a top destination site and get bought by Google.  Once this happens they won’t have to worry about how to position the company for an exit and then they will start releasing new features like crazy, including one similar to Topify. They might even acquire Topfiy like they did in the past with other missing features (Summize the Twitter Search company).

What do you think?

AutoParenth – Microsoft Excel’s Most Desired Function

January 7th, 2009 1 comment

I was using Microsoft Excel the other day and had that Eureka moment. I typed in a simple formula that had a closing parenthesis but forgot to put an opening parenthesis. An error message popped up and I realized that I have been getting that same error message, for doing the same mistake, ever since I have been using Excel. And even though Microsoft has released several Excel versions along these years, this specific problem has been carried from version to version without getting an elegant solution.

I am pretty sure that the same exact error happens to millions of users every day, and many of them are clueless and do the same thing – they get frustrated, delete the formula that has a minor error and start over.

So, here’s my suggestion to a very simple killer feature – AutoParenth. Excel should automatically add an opening parenthesis whenever it detects that a cell: (a) has a function (first character inside the cell is minus, plus or the equal signs) and (b) it has a closing parenthesis. This feature should be built similar to the AutoCorrect feature to give the users greater control.

If that’s too difficult to implement, Excel should at least provide an informative error message, just like Apple Numbers and Google Docs do. This is such a common error that a specific error message with clear instructions is necessary.


Apple Numbers informative error message.


Google Docs also provides enough information to guide the user.

I hope that someone at the Microsoft Office team will read this post and add this request to their todo list.

I Actually Like YouTube’s Embedded Video Search Bar

December 4th, 2008 No comments

It seems like there are mixed feelings about this new feature. I like it though. Why? Because it allows a video viewer to avoid the need of visiting YouTube.com to search for videos, and it keeps that users for a longer session on the sites he is on. Just like Snap Shots!

Discovering Navigaya – An Innovative Start Page

November 13th, 2008 No comments

I just discovered Navigaya and I like it a lot.

What is it? Well, if you read their about page you will find something like “an innovative open multimedia platform”. But to me it is hybrid between the Mac widgets experience and a innovative start page, built using Flash and running inside your browser. Yourminis (R.I.P) was probably the closest one to Navigaya in term of rich user experience. All other start pages (iGoogle, Netvibes, etc.) are not even close. Something in it also reminds me the very cool open source media center – Boxee.

Get a feel for it and give it a try.

Kudos to my friend, Issac Barel, who is not just a great guitar player but also a gifted designer for creating this innovative product.

Navigaya - Music menu

More photos: Playlists, Overview, Music, Calculator, Music and Top Stories.

eBay is testing a new and improved search experience

November 13th, 2007 7 comments

While doing a search on eBay I noticed an invitation to try their new search at the Playground. I took the plunge and immediately liked the new experience and that fact it became cleaner, more visual and with better search refinement controls – just like how a product search should be (see Like.com, thefind.com, PriceGrabber.com and others).

eBay new search experience - Snapshot view

Here are a few additional observations on the new interface:

  • The active search criteria is clearly displayed above the result set. The user does not have to guess which options are on. In the old version it was more difficult and less clear – the user had to look at the drop downs located at the long left column (often this required scrolling). In the new interface, it is also very easy to remove a criteria using the red [x]. One things that would be a nice addition is the ability to add multiple options from the same category where it is applicable (for example – Brand or Technology)

 eBay new search experience - search criteria

  • As can be seen in the image above, a new mode for viewing results was added called “Snapshot”. It displays a tile of product images and when mousing over an image additional information is being displayed — just like Snap’s Snap Shots. This makes me wonder – is “Snap Shot” becoming a generic term (and verb) similar to what happened to Xerox and Google…?

 

  • The “Refine your Search” left column was redesigned and is now cleaner, shorter and displays most of the options above the fold line. This was achieved by moving some of the less frequently used options into a popup window (although some design work is still required to make sure all options are visible and there is not need to scroll), the usage of cleaner controls like the price slider (very popular on travel search sites like Kayak and Farechase) and simple controls instead of check boxes and drop downs.

   eBay new search experience - Refine your search control     

Bottom line – Kudos to the eBay team for creating an improved search experience. My only suggestion to you – add a “Filter by Color” option where applicable (Clothing, Shoes, Accessories and more).

Update: Renee VonBergen, a sr. manager for buyer experience at eBay, corrected me – a color slider is available in certain categories. The direction is really good but could be improved:

  • It would be helpful to see it on more products – some people pick their cell phone or guitar by the color :)
  • If you pick a color that returns no results, you get to something that is similar to a dead-end. In this case it would be helpful (for both eBay and the user) to get recommendations to similar products (“We could not find green shoes but we have blue ones”)

eBay new search experience - Color Slider

 

The Virtual Pre-Order Launch Strategy

October 15th, 2007 No comments

An interesting launch strategy – ask users to leave the page open in browser for hours/days in order to create a large pool of initial users with great hunger to try your new service.

As it currently looks, I think we are a day or two away from the launch of the new Hype Machine. Still, this is a great viral marketing tactic.

The Hype Machine using a virtual pre-order launch strategy

Meydad.com is now optimized for the iPhone and iPod Touch

October 15th, 2007 No comments

Meydad.com optimized for the iPhone using the iWPhone WordPress Plug-inI am happy to announce that the experience for my readers who use iPhone or iPod Touch to read this blog has been upgraded.

I installed the iWPhone WordPress Plug-in on my blog. This plug-in automatically reformats the blog content for optimized viewing on an iPhone and iPod Touch.

Enjoy.

 

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