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Sunday, March 15

The age of stupid

Something in Alistair Campbell's blog caught my eye. He, like many others, was lamenting the changes to Facebook's interface.

Last night, I was trying to put a message on Alina's wall to thank her for sending me a Canadian review of my novel, and for doing the New Statesman piece. It went up as a status update. So then I put up something lamenting my failure to differentiate between a message and an update, and added as an afterthought ... 'and where did this new [Facebook] design come from?'

So this morning I tried to work out whether I was already, after just a few weeks, becoming a bit small c conservative about life online, (like those right-wing bloggers who can't get used to Labour people being here now, and pick us up on our twitter etiquette, whatever the hell that is) or whether in fact, the design changes made are just bad changes made for the sake of change.
I will mull all this as I go out on my road bike in this beautiful sunshine, and prepare to watch the new film on the environment, The Age of Stupid, later today. Now that is going to be a changemaker. I just know it.

I would have explained myself better if I had been able to track back through comments on a few earlier Facebook postings. Or if I could find a way, quickly, of scanning through all the comments that came in to various updates in the last 48 hours when I have been away from my desk. But I couldn't for the life of me work out how to do it. I could do it the day before yesterday.

Now the title of this post is deliberate - Campbell's obviously not stupid, some might think the opposite ('evil genius'). But if I've learned anything from reading Jakob Nielsen for a decade it's this, most people using the interwebs are not that good at it. And most interfaces don't work for vast numbers of people most of the time.

Nielsen keeps reporting this impirical truth.

When you have online properties which have in their remit the need to be able to be used by practically everyone surely the need, the techniques, the simple methods, to do this should be front-and-centre?

I don't feel they are in egov though. Oh they're there but they're not front-and-centre, and as Campbell says, in the rush for change you end up sounding like a small c conservative if you say 'hang on a minute'...

But having my contrarian streak, as well as being long in the tooth, web-wise, I will :]

So, with all the buzz about social networking and engagement where is usability? Does this 'stuff' pass the mom test?


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