I occasionally make up words. I haven’t ever blogged them. I think the last one I made up was “Frauthentic” – a mix of “fraudulent” and “authenticity”. I use that term to describe things that come out of places like Pottery Barn that are supposed to look aged, vintage, distressed… you know. Like they come from “a simpler time” or something. Meanwhile, that espresso-stained box is made from about $3 worth of pine that was probably beaten with chains by a person who lives in a rain forest and is paid with wampum or worm larvae or something. Ah yes. $500 well spent, eh?
I recently made up another word. The word is “Navistration”. It is used to describe the feeling I get when I use flickr.com’s web site to manage my photos. While flickr.com is often applauded for it’s Web 2.0 shininess, it has also completely failed to evolve and fix glaring, blatant problems with its navigation.
If someone from flickr.com reads this, here is really the main rule that seems to be broken on every page of flickr.com:
Navigational, informational, or text-entry items that are of use to the end user but fail to appear until they hover their mouse over them is No Bueno(tm).
How did you decide where to draw that line? Is there some magical concept like hierarchically-prioritized navigational items or something that my mom is supposed to understand and apply selectively when she visits flickr.com? If that’s good navigation, then let’s just go all the way and show nothing on the page but the photo, and I’ll just wave my mouse across the page to find whatever else I might need.
Want an example? Ok. If I click on a picture of mine, I’m taken to the photo’s page. Looking at the page, I have no idea how I can add a description. I can add a note using a very easy-to-use (mainly because it’s VISIBLE) button above the image, but for some reason I can’t seem to add a description.
Ah! But if I hover my mouse in just the right place – there we go! Hover, click, and type. Great! Er. Or not. That’s actually pretty sucky. I shouldn’t have to perform magical incantations with my mouse to find the tools I need.
In some cases, like the picture’s title, there’s actually something there – it’s just not clear that you can do anything with it until you hover. This also sucks really badly. Just put text boxes there or something. I know it’s not as pretty, but being pretty is only part of your job. The other part (arguably the most important) is to be USEFUL.
And don’t think these are the only gripes people have – there are plenty more. For example, how do I un-join a group? There’s plenty to pick on, and that’s why flickr.com is the winner of the first fortnightly No Bueno(tm) Award.
As it stands right now, flickr.com is only useful because I can’t easily import everything I’ve done in flickr.com into another photo management site that is any better. If someone knows how to do this (and a better photo management site to use), that *doesn’t* involve me writing code or hosting the service myself, let me know.