From Blork, a great follow-up to my complaints about Snap.com the other day: How To Disable Snap Shots on Blogs. Step-by-step instructions about how to spare your readers from this annoying “feature”.
Dear users of Snap.com,
It is annoying, provides me (your reader) with no benefit, and in fact makes it radically less likely that I will read your post – the stupid pop-up windows obscure your text and make it difficult to read the pearls of wisdom you are trying to communicate.
Avenue A | Razorfish’s Garrick Schmitt has written a great post in the Digital Design Blog that riffs on information from their Digital Outlook report: Does the Home Page Still Matter?: Why Distribution Trumps Destination Online. Most of the web folks that I know have been working on this basis for some time now, but it remains important to underline that the old “get people in through the homepage” model is broken (and likely always was, it was just harder to figure out before).
Trying to force people into a specific usage pattern is a recipe for failure – trumped only by the mistake of trying to predict where users will come from in the first place. What does this mean in practice? Many things (and the conclusions in the post are right on), but two immediate things spring to mind:
- Deep links have to provide context within the URL itself (i.e., be readable)
- Don’t hide content in non-machine-readable formats that people can’t link to directly (and that Google can’t grok)
Scott Rosenberg takes up the case in his post, Terror of tinyurl.
From the earliest days of the Web to the present, there’s been a fundamental split between people who get the value of “human-readable URLs” and people who don’t.[…]
Today, though, we’re taking a step backwards, or at least sideways, in the cause of human readability, thanks to the growing popularity of the “tinyurl.”
I have had this discussion (arguing for human-readable URLs) with well-intentioned but clueless developers so many times it borders on the absurd. In fact, Nadia and I were just discussing it last night! Like Rosenberg, I understand why it’s important in the twitterverse, but outside of that relatively limited context, tinyurl is a user-hostile pain in the backside.
Matt Haughey describes the difficulties he encountered when trying to give himself the ability to encrypt email: It’s the user experience, stupid. Very early on in my internet life I started using PGP and, as Haughey does, I periodically revisit the subject and assess how far things have progressed. As he reports, however, things haven’t progressed very far.
My most recent foray into encryption and such occurred a few weeks ago when I downloaded and tried the free GPG system. I found that not only could I not use my old key pair (though I still know my old password) but I couldn’t easily find out why, nor could I figure out a way to address the issue. So now there is a public key out there in the wild – a key of long standing and signed by several other people – with my name on it but with totally out-of-date email addresses attached to it and nothing I can do about that.