Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lots of Interface Changes with Google Services and Facebook, for better or for worse

There's been a lot of changes with the user interface of various Google services and Facebook and others (which I haven't gotten around, but I'm sure there are and would find out about it when I next log on to them). Getting something shiny and new is nice, but not always. So call me one of those few who are resistant to change.

Perhaps the maxim, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" rule should be followed. Having getting very comfortable with the way an interfaced was used, the Google and Facebook threw a curve ball at users and for better or for worse, we just have to grind our teeth and use whatever web interface these big boys throw at us.

Let's start with Gmail, I like the previous interface as the spacing was more compact and there was less wastage of space estate on page. Plus I could easily see more messages in one go. The new interface wasn't so nice in terms of spacing whether in message listing or composing messages. Although I could compact the message list to a certain extend but still a lot of space wastage. I still can bear with it though. But I would still prefer the old interface.

Blogger – again there is also a lot of space wastage. I couldn't see my blog post list in one go on a view and need to scroll down. The saving grace is that it has analytics next to your post showing how many views to that post. It would be good if they also give an option to compact the list like Gmail. As for composing, this one really sucks in comparison with the old interface. The compose box is either too small or too big. Usually I prefer to compose using HTML so that I can have more control over how the text and images are laid out on a post page, and this HTML composing box is just way too big, and when reaching at the bottom of the page, the text just feels really cramp at the bottom. To add salt to the wound, the "feedback" button gets in the way! I made many typos because of this "feedback" button obscuring my view. Now I have to write my post in Microsoft Word, copy paste into Blogger. A 2-step process.

Analytics – ouch! I can't tell squat about how my website is doing! Give me back my old interface! In the end I rely more on Statcounter to check my website traffic.

Adsense – well I gotta earn some side income from my blogs. Can't just rely on my day job to provide for all my needs especially since the pay rise is severely lagging behind the inflation rate. This new interface needs getting use to. It was not entirely bad, but could have been better. The old interface presented information that was much clearer to me.

I think more is to come from various Google services such as Feedburner, Webmaster Central, etc. Judging from the way they clobbered the interface, I shudder to think how the new interface with the other service would look like. May just push me over to other third party giving similar services with a better interface.

Facebook – oh, just what did you guys do to the wall? The new timeline is so user un-friendly I just want to unfriend it! For the Facebook pages, it was even more worse! Previously whenever I made a wall post, it would scroll down together with other fans comments. Now they separated in a different section. Worse, there is a barrier between me and my fans comment. I am not able to make any comments on their wall post unless they specifically comment to me. Now how frustrating! I'm not able to give any advice or comment to any of their comments, nope, not at all. Just ended up like a spectator in my own house. The new timeline is so bad that there is a Facebook fan page for Facebook timeline haters! Using Facebook to hate the new Facebook timeline? How ironic. The interface is so poor there are many who suggest going over to Facebook rival. Who could it be? Google+ of course. I'm going to check out the Google Plus for business and see how it fares against Facebook pages.

Granted, these services belong to them, they can do what they like. But don't forget, they also rely on users like us to use their services so that they can earn an income serving us advertisement for their revenue generation. Get it wrong, and users would move in droves to other services meeting their needs and requirement. Just like the social app Friendsters user moved over to Facebook when they found out Facebook was far more superior. If the new interface irks the users, they would surely migrate to greener pastures! And I am one of them considering it.

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