Categories
Adventures Experiments

My plugin gets added to WordPress core!

WordPress 3.5 was released yesterday. After upgrading my site, I checked the editor screen and noticed a tiny tweak that made me smile. It looks like my humble suggestion finally made it in to WordPress core.

Screen Shot 2012-12-11 at 11.59.41 PM

Notice the Add Media button… it’s an actual button! The previous version of the button looked like this:

The old Upload/Insert button or link

It was an easily overlooked text and icon combo labeled “Upload/Insert” . This caused problems for users as I’ve discussed beforeI don’t know if this small change to a more clickable and noticeable “Add Media” button happened because I suggested it, but I’m glad it’s there. So after suggesting this usability improvement to the WordPress core team, their developers took notice and made it happen.

WordPress-usability-improvement-ticket

Thanks, WP devs. Also, I didn’t suggest the name change, but good choice on the new wording from “Upload/Insert” to “Add Media”. Much better.

Categories
Ideas

Locked Mess Monster

Better photoshop locked layer alert idea

Have you ever tried to move a folder or selection of layers in Photoshop, but were interrupted by this alert?

Photoshop locked layer alert
BLAM! Those layers aren’t moving anywhere.

Somewhere deep down in your selection is a locked layer. If you’re working in a huge file with tons of layers, finding the locked layer or layers could take awhile.

Wouldn’t this be more helpful than just an alert?

Photoshop unlock layer option
SKUDOOSH! Problem solved.

The Photoshop team could add a checkbox to the alert that would automatically unlock the locked layers, so that you can continue moving/nudging your selection.

This small usability improvement would save me a lot of time.

Does anyone know if another solution to this problem already exists in Photoshop? Let me know in the comments section below.

Categories
Ideas

If ya wanna click it, ya better put a button on it

How do I upload an image in WordPress?

Frequently, clients who are staring at the WordPress content editing screen ask me, “How do I upload an image?” As an experienced WordPress user/designer/developer I used to get blown away by how silly such a question sounded. The button’s right there! But after running in to this problem again and again, I’ve decided the user is not at fault in this case.

The interface is deceptive. Let me explain…

An inconsistent UI design language

The upload/insert text+icon combo is too subtle and actually deceptive UI when you look at the WordPress dashboard overall.

The same design language for the page header (icon+text on transparent background) is used for the clickable link (text+icon on transparent background). By that logic the Upload/Insert link looks like a small title or descriptive text. It doesn’t look clickable, and it should.

Make clickable things look clickable

So as the user scans for some visual que to capture their attention and say, “Click me to upload your stuff!”, they skim right over the small text that lies outside of the area containing lots of other more obvious buttons.

Even something as simple as what I’ve mocked-up here would be an improvement:

Now there is a clear distinction between the rest of the UI and the Upload/Insert button. It doesn’t look like part of the dashboard text anymore. It looks clickable. And it is.

(UPDATE: Since publishing this post I’ve written a plugin that makes the Upload/Insert button look clickable.)

Feedback?

Anybody on the WordPress UI team out there that could respond to this suggestion?

*Special thanks to WordPress and Beyoncé for inspiring this post.

 

UPDATE: 

WordPress 3.5 took my advice!

Categories
Inspirations

The world’s simplest phone

I love this.

The world’s simplest phone in a sleek little black box. It’s called John’s Phone. Consider it the anti-iPhone. No apps or hi-res screen. Just a phone with buttons that works really well. A better user experience through LESS experience.

John's Phone, The Anit-iPhone, the simplest phone.

Has anybody used one, or seen it in person?

Categories
Ideas

Google+ will improve your social media experience, even if you don’t use it.

Google+ a better social media user experience

The Question

My friend at Good Web Work asked the question,”To what problem is Google+ a solution?”. I started to write a comment on his post, but after the scroll bar popped up on the comment form realized this was blog post material .

I have no idea what I’m talking about

I haven’t used Google+ yet so take this opinion as one from an outsider looking in. I have watched videos, played with demos and read reviews. My first impression: The design looks nice; a clean minimalist interface with an ample use of white space. The overall impression I get is an easy to navigate, light and responsive website. Three cheers for Google for finally letting their designers do their jobs.

You gotta problem?

What problem does Google+ solve? Well, that depends on your definition of a problem. Did the world think Myspace was a big problem before Facebook came out. Probably not, since most users had not experienced anything better. After Myspace users got a taste of simplicity from Facebook’s early interface, the contrast was almost offensive. Now Google+ seems to be positioning themselves as the cleaner, friendlier interface of the social networks.

Competing for the best user experience

I can come up with a few problems Google+ at least attempts to solve. What about the problems of inferior user experience and lack of healthy competition?

The Problems Google+ May Help Solve:

  1. Inferior User Experience – Facebook is great, but there’s plenty of room for enhancements. Google+ Circles, Huddles, and Hangouts appear to be new take on common social media functionality. Circles are supposedly a big improvement on Facebook “Lists”.  Allowing you to group friends more easily and filter what you see and what others see gives more control to the user and hopefully improves the user’s experience. You also have the ability to “Follow”, in the Twitter sense, someone you aren’t “Friends” with, in the Facebook sense. The best of the both worlds perhaps.
  2. Lack of Healthy Competition – Facebook has exploded in the last several years with no one coming close to competing with them as a full social platform. Google can and will compete for users. This will cause Facebook to improve their service in response, only giving users more options and better social media experiences.

Everybody Wins

For most people the current Facebook interface is familiar, so they wouldn’t consider it a problem. The mere fact that Google is launching a very serious social media platform designed from the ground up with the user in mind will benefit all users of social media even if they aren’t using Google+. They are raising the bar and their competitors will have to jump higher.

Yes, according to Neil Postman‘s definition of a problem, a newer/better social network from Google may not solve any of the world’s biggest problems.

It may only help us communicate more efficiently.

What do you think?

Categories
Adventures Ideas

An Inconvenient User Experience: Gmail Drafts

Summary

  1. I love Gmail.
  2. If you accidentally discard a draft its gone forever.
  3. I think Gmail should send discarded drafts to trash.
  4. You can vote for that feature here.

I love everything about Gmail except one thing…

Discarded drafts are unrecoverable without warning. I accidentally clicked the Discard Drafts button while scrolling by a different part of the page in Gmail. I also happened to have an important long-winded response selected. After the accidental click, it was “discarded”. Or in Gmail terms, “deleted beyond all recognition, and NOT held in the Trash like deleted messages, you should’ve used Google Docs, and your hair looks funny.”

Me: “Geez Gmail. Settle down. We’re all friends here. I just want my draft back.”

Gmail: “No.”

After googling “accidentally discarded drafts” I found that I’m not the only one whose had this problem. There are Gmail users who have lost drafts of love letters to children, important business responses, and other irreplaceable or inconveniently lost documents.

I should have known better.

The popular answer on Google discussion threads are, “You should have known better. You should have used Google Docs.” …

Should we? The Gmail interface doesn’t explicitly or implicitly say that I will not be able to find discarded drafts in the Trash. There is no confirmation to explain the consequences of this irreversible action. Granted, if you’re in the inbox, when you click Discard, there is a temporary “Undo” period. But user beware the Discard Drafts button in the Drafts section.

No warning when discarding drafts in Gmail

Angry little button

There is nothing about the “Discard Drafts” button that says,

“I will delete the (expletive) out of this draft, son. Do it. I dare you. What! WHAT! (slaps you in the face).”

That’s the message the button should convey visually.

Instead we get,

“Hey bud, I’m a normal button. Grey even. Need a back rub. There. Therrre ya go. That’s it. Shhh…”

The Discard Drafts Button: Accindentally discarded drafts in Gmail
The message is not consistent with the severity of the action it initiates. Glance through the book [amazon_link id=”1592535879″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Universal Principles of Design[/amazon_link] and you’ll learn about creating things in such a way that the user can’t fail. I recommend the section on Affordance.

A love letter

Dear Gmail UX/UI Design Team,

You guys are great. You got it 99% right and its only gotten better over the years. Its just that the 1% you missed happened to delete all my junk.  Please send discarded drafts to the Trash so that the click happy-fingers of myself and other Gmail users have a reasonable safe-guard against accidental discardationmentness.

Sincerely,
Paris Vega
AKA Guy whose lunch was stolen by the “Discard Drafts” button.

Yes we can (if there are enough votes to prove users care)

I’m sure Google gets millions of complaints daily. To their credit they have a robust help/support system. After voicing my concerns in Gmail Help they directed me to a place where you can vote on new features for Gmail. Low and behold “Discard drafts to trash” is in the Helpful Additions section.

gmail user experience suggestion

If you are a Gmail user and a decent person, please go there now and vote for this feature.