The Haters Club discussion

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I hate lousy interfaces

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message 1: by Donitello (new)

Donitello So I come back to Goodreads after a long stretch, and I think, hey, I'll change my Goodreads photo, and I select a new one, and an error message reads "Copyright must be entered (or longer)."

It's a personal photo! My friend took it! It's of me in her kitchen! It's MINE, I tell you!! MINE!!!

(Okay, it was hers, but I beat the crap out of her and took it fair and square.)

Why do these things happen, and more to the point who do I beat within an inch of their life now?


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

I've never seen that happen, before.

This is what I say when people ask me computer questions at my job. Isn't that helpful?


message 3: by Donitello (new)

Donitello Hm. It wants you to state in a little comment box that your photo doesn't violate any copyright laws. (Did the happen the first time I uploaded? Don't recall that.) So I originally typed in a simple "my personal photo," which apparently was insufficient. Just tried that again, and it rejected me again. So then I engaged a lawyer to write "This photo is my personal property," and the system accepted it.

Weird is right.



message 4: by Donitello (new)

Donitello Um, but my avatar still remains the same....


message 5: by Donitello (new)

Donitello Ouf.


message 6: by [deleted user] (last edited Feb 03, 2009 02:34PM) (new)

What? First you have to delete your current photo before you can upload another. Then you don't have to type in anything when you upload your new one. This is weird.


message 7: by Donitello (new)

Donitello I did delete my old photo from my profile, then uploaded another from my hard drive.

Any IT people here? Just curious: When you've learned to do a certain action on a computer, why do you have to keep relearning it? Each time I use the phone, I don't have to figure out new ways to dial. You don't have to learn new ways to drive every time you get into your car. Hm... tonight the dishwasher is doing the rinse cycle FIRST -- I'd better sit with it for an hour and figure out why....


Jackie "the Librarian" Doni, I think it's because you're an author, and anytime someone posts an author's picture, they need to have permission to do so.
It's different for the avatar photos, no one cares about us non-author folks...


message 9: by Donitello (new)

Donitello Hm. Thanks, Jackie.

Of course, I did give myself permission, but that's neither here nor there. The first question that comes to my mind is the first one that ALWAYS comes to my mind when someone explains a "rule" of the Internet: Why didn't that user info pop up when I tried the action? Which leads back to the question above: Why do you constantly have to be figuring out how to do the same stuff on the computer? Or really an addendum to it: If the stuff ISN'T exactly the same for some reason, why doesn't the system notify you right then and there and tell you how to do it differently?

Bottom line, WHY is info in the IT world spread so TRIBALLY?? Did all programmers experience some early trauma with user guides, so that now they can't bring themselves to write clear, timely instructions for navigating their stuff, and rely instead on people telling all their friends on Facebook whenever they figure some dinky maneuver out? I've been using computers for years now, and spent hundreds of hours figuring out this and that. How is it I'm STILL spending so much time learning how to do what I need to do rather than doing it? Do computer programmers have any idea what life-negating, soul-sucking, anguished BOREDOM their products produce?


message 10: by Donitello (last edited Feb 05, 2009 12:41PM) (new)

Donitello Yes, Bun,but there's a serious communication problem with this one.

I've been watching the whole thing evolve since I got my first PC in, I think, '89, which came with an incomprehensible, 1"-thick user manual in 8-point font. The writing was on the wall then. About 10 years later I was talking with a (really nice) kid who was studying web design. I asked him why websites were laid out so "unreadably" (layout term meaning "fatiguing to make your way through"), because the rules of typography and layout had been in place for decades. He said, rather gleefully: "We're breaking the rules." Now, I'm all for breaking rules, but I felt I must tell him about the exhaustive research showing conclusively how you can increase reading speed by 10% with this font choice, another 10% by that layout choice, how you can increase COMPREHENSION with the right line spacing choices, etc., etc. I said we KNOW how to make people 1) feel a desire to read your text, 2) read more of it, 3) read the most important parts first, and 4) understand it better. There was a short pause, then he said: "Why aren't they teaching us that in my classes?" So it seemed the writing was still on the wall. It's still on the wall today. Is that wall EVER going to get washed?

What I'm saying is that electronic communication is far more about electronics than about communicating. I can deal with the young technology part. It's the crappy communication part I've lost patience with.


message 11: by Tracy (new)

Tracy A) i'm not sure why it's giving you problems. if i'm entirely honest, my avatar would technically fail the "do you own this picture" test, since i may or may not have just pulled it off of getty (if you look at it full size, it has a watermark on it. however, i did take it into photoshop and resize it, so maybe that's why goodreads is ok with it. for some reason, resaving things always seems to get you around the issue, even if you never actually solve the issue, or even figure out what it was).

B) your web designer friend is exactly the kind of kid graphic designers HATE with a passion. there's really no difference between graphic design and web design, but since web design involves all new technology by necessity, most schools haven't yet caught on to that fact. i spent over 2 years learning how to create typography using a compass, ruler, plaka and illustration board. i spent a year making paint chips by hand, which is much harder than it sounds and almost completely irrelevant in a world that has such things as pantone books. my partner, on the other hand, who majored in digital design, got to jump right in and actually learn the technology relevant to his future career. he didn't, however, learn the rules of typography or really even basic visual communication. on the one hand, i'm glad i learned to do so much stuff manually, even though i'll never use it. on the other though, it would have been nice if i had learned how to make a freaking pdf properly in school, rather than on the job.

in short, resave your image and try that.


message 12: by Donitello (last edited Feb 05, 2009 12:37PM) (new)

Donitello BunWat wrote: "Yup. The whole IT thing has this big communication gap at the center of it. Science and math geeks don't know how to talk to regular people, plus they are pretty sure we are mostly stupid and mea..."

Exactly. But considering how essential computers are -- they're basically a public utility -- it's a quite a serious problem. Imagine if our mail, phone, or transportation systems were run so badly.

I get how geeks see things -- I used to work in Silicon Valley, and have actual, breathing geek friends. Don't get me wrong, they're good people. But some COO should have stepped in LONG ago and said: "Okay, here's the deal, kids. Your s**t gives us lots of great options in life, but the cost of people trying to figure out how to use it is WAY too high.* Yes, YOU know how to use it, but the fact is that we don't. And we don't want to. It's kind of like why you take your car into the shop -- you don't want to do tune-ups yourself. And just as car mechanics don't possess godlike abilities that all of humanity envies, well, neither do you. You are just another person with a job to do. So now you need to make your efforts pay off in better bottom-line results. You have two months."

I swear, if someone made this happen, I'd consider sleeping with him. Or even her.

(Okay, that last line was a joke. But only just barely.)

* [I don't have the latest figures, but last time I looked, user confusion cost something like $300 billion PER YEAR.:]



message 13: by Tracy (new)

Tracy amen, doni. amen.


message 14: by Donitello (last edited Feb 05, 2009 01:30PM) (new)

Donitello BTW, Tracy: Your insights speak exactly to my central point -- your partner went further with tech knowledge than you did with communication expertise. Hopefully some decision-makers will come to understand the value of what you bring to the table. But try to do your part by TELLING THEM THE VALUE OF WHAT GRAPHIC DESIGNERS HAVE LEARNED OVER DECADES. Techie stuff can be done by well-trained chimps. Communication is an art that human beings spend a lifetime perfecting. Please, please tell your bosses that IT DOESN'T MATTER HOW "HIGH TECH" THEIR COMMUNICATION IS -- people need to get the information they need QUICKLY, EASILY, AND CLEARLY.

In the meantime, I'll try resaving my image, if I can bloody well figure out how in less than an hour. (Another excellent example of my central point, I think.)


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