Filed under "Usability"
Ecosystems of Failure.
A brief conversation in the car ride down to SXSW brought to my mind a topic that I’ve been thinking about for a while now.
Title Of Blog.
Just to get some perspective on what’s to follow, let’s review: It’s two thousand and blessed six. Almost seven. We’ve come so far as a civilization. It’s been decades since we put a man on the moon. We’re building a space station. We’ve been able to determine that Abraham Lincoln had depression. Women can vote now! And Justin Timberlake is courageously bringing sexy back after it’s been lost for so, so long. This is truly a magical time.
So why do many respected and established web publishers seem to hate
<title> element and, by extension, me? Titles are great! With a properly-formed title, I can look up at the top of my browser an see exactly where I am and what I’m reading. The best sites might employ some nifty breadcrumb system, but there are certainly other options.
So in these modern times, when the aforementioned sexy is being brought back, crazy Korean dictators can detonate nuclear weapons underground with virtually no reprisal and personal jetpacks are just around the corner, it’s irksome to reach an article I’d like to bookmark and, when doing so, discover that my bookmark reads something like “Pete’s Blog.” This informational oversight is akin to an author like Stephen King labeling all the chapters of his new book “Stephen King’s Book.” A decision like that may then make way for a lively conversation at the watercooler that might go a little something like this:
“Hey Biff, are you reading the new Stephen King book?”
“Yes, Sally, I am. It’s great! What chapter are you on?”
“I’m on Chapter ‘Stephen King’s Book’.”
“Woah, me too! I can’t believe the main character’s wife turned out to be a succubus!”
“What? Oh, great. Thanks for ruining the ending for me, Biff. You’re a real jerkface.”
Titles are important, and not just because they save friendships and keep people from being jerkfaces. They describe the content of the active page in a browser, hidden tabbed pages and bookmarks. Do not sections, articles or blog posts have headlines? Titles? Other identifying markers? Wouldn’t it be more descriptive (and not to mention make you look more sexy to Google) to put the headline of the article in that page’s
<title> element? The incredibly dull title “Pete’s Blog” could easily upgrade to the more useful and descriptive “How Web 2.0 Suffocated The Creativity of a Nation: an article on Pete’s Blog.” Now that’s a title! That tells me something the next time I pass that bookmark or glance at my browser tabs. It also ensures that I don’t end up with a half dozen “Pete’s Blog” bookmarks with no idea what they really are.
So there you go. Use your
<head> (snicker). Let’s give the
<title> element the love and attention it deserves. Then we can all move on to bigger things. Like jetpacks.
You know, I’m getting pretty tired of bad designers or non-designers telling me how to do my job. I do this for a living, you know. Every day. I am fully aware of what my job entails and what demands I need to balance. But rather than get up to my elbows in manure, let me just put some ideas out there from people I think actually know what they’re talking about:
Positive affect makes people more tolerant of minor difficulties and more flexible and creative in finding solutions. Products designed for more relaxed, pleasant occasions can enhance their usability through pleasant, aesthetic design. Aesthetics matter: attractive things work better.
- from Emotion & Design: Attractive things work better by Don Norman
I can’t claim to have had any direct influence on the change, but the timing sure leans in my favor. After emailing Linkedin and posting my last entry, “The Case of The Lying Link,” the My Profile page has changed…
The Case of The Lying Link.
So I was on Linkedin tonight, accepting an invitation from a new contact, and noticed some outdated information in my own profile. Well, being the responsible contact that I am, I couldn’t very well leave the page without correcting these deficiencies…
The Case of The Perplexing Pump.
I’ve run across this interface design issue twice in the recent past, and it confused me both times. I took my camera back to the gas station the third time, just to document the interface behavior. How’s that for following through?