post draft update

Thursday, August 12th, 2010 05:07 pm
charmian: a snowy owl (Default)
[personal profile] charmian
In the latest DW news post, a new draft of the update journal page has been introduced! I think it's a big improvement on the last draft, and it's great that we can collapse all the things we don't need, like how it is in WP. The main qualms I have with it are that the text box still feels too narrow, and it would also be good if there was a way to disappear the boxes instead of collapsing them. However, I don't have many strong opinions about the update post page because I basically use only two features on a regular basis: tags and access lock. As you can see, I normally don't even change my icon. So I felt, that as long as the boxes were collapsible so I don't have to see the things that I don't use, it would be ok. However, some people brought up some good points about complexity:

from here:

It's got an on/off switch for everything including the kitchen sink, with collapsable menu upon collapsable menu requiring clicks to conceal or expose functionality that only a handful of people will need.

If our target audience is LJcode power users, let's just come out and say it. Diversity statement or no, when the site's interface looks like this we're making it very intimidating to new users. And I know Dreamwidth serves a different niche than Tumblr or Posterous, but it seems like it requires a lot more effort to do basic things on Dreamwidth than it does almost anywhere else.

Between invite codes and privacy filters, I wonder if Dreamwidth's real "killer feature" is insularity. And I don't mean that as an insult.


I think this is a pretty good point.


If the issue is that it is too intimidating to newbies to see that much, maybe the default setting should be that some of the options are collapsed or absent (or maybe hidden behind a 'more options' link, or maybe there should be a simplified setting as well.

Tumblr's update page, actually, is really simple and clean. I don't think there they have any problems with intimidation. But in general, Tumblr offers fewer options than an LJ code site. (although it has some features which LJ code sites currently don't have) Posterous's update page is also stripped down. (I think they should have the more options tab open by default instead of media, though, and I really like how it takes up the whole page.

Both Tumblr and Posterous were created post-Wordpress and are implicitly designed to be simple. LJ.... isn't really designed to be simple.

As for whether DW's target audience is LJcode power users: I doubt it is, but if it is, the site is going to have a problem when it runs out of LJ users who want to switch. Also, LJcode power users are quite a finite group, and if LJ continues to decline, in the future this will be a shrinking pool.

However, I personally continue to think that the invite code issue really contributes to the insularity by encouraging only people with a really strong reason to use DW to join. To join now isn't an insta gratification thing, and requires a lot of hoop jumping. However, I've talked about this issue before, so I'll spare you all, ha.

I don't think, however, that many users really feel that the invite codes in and of themselves are a plus, let alone a "killer" feature. Filters and access locking are definitely a plus, and LJcode sites continue to do this in a more modular way than most blogging sites. However, many of the users who wish for this use Facebook anyway. (I also wonder what if they code a pan-site version of this using Disqus?)

I was reading a blog post also, that said that the "killer feature" is overrated, because if a feature is really THAT great, the competitors will simply clone it. If this is really the killer feature of LJcode sites, if WP MU or Tumblr or Posterous were to include it, then LJ would suffer a mortal blow, right? Is this then implying the reason LJ is around is that no one else has implemented it?

I sadly can't find the article, though I've been searching for it, but anyway it said that other things, such as design and usability, are also very important.
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