Ello design: Where and what post metadata are, presentation, Fitts, dates, bring back the 1950s, usernames, Search
I'm increasingly finding myself frustrated by some Ello design aspects. Particularly in my own posts, which tend to the longish.
Post metadata, including the direct links to posts, are at the bottom rather than the top of the post.
Worse: if a post has comments, then the metadata are buried at some indeterminable spot in the middle. And there is simply no fast path to find it. Fitts's Law says to put important controls at the edges of things. And while this isn't entirely a GUI element (though it most certainly is), it violates over 60 years of interface design. Yes, Fitts figured this shit out in nineteen and fifty-fucking-four. C'mon, guys.
Add to this: there's no content Search yet, so when I want to dig up a specific post of mine, I'm stuck with the process of:
- Go to my Ello user page: https://ello.co/dredmorbius
- Repeatedly scroll down to load up most or all of my posting history. This is still reasonably tractable. If the site proves in the least useful or successful, it won't be for long.
- I've now got all my posts visible ... in long format, which I'll address below.
- Look for what I was trying to find in the first place. Usually using the browser's "find in page" feature.
- Scroll down that item until I can find the actual fucking link control I was looking for in the first place.
I don't like make-work interfaces, and unfortunately, this is a make-work interface. Ello needs to address this.
There is no collapsed post view.
I'd really like to have an alternative to the default "Friends" and "Noise" views: a short collapsed view showing the the post title -- or, well, since Ello has followed much current convention and fails to provide "title" metadata, the first line of the post -- the author, posting data, and some indication of activity. A brief grid. Allows for scanning a lot of content quickly.
An ability to toggle expansion / collapse of a particular item.
Not absolutely necessary, but it would be useful. The problem with such features is that the toggle control itself gets buried somewhere on expansion. Either at the head or tail of a post. Neither works. I'm generally loath to floating elements on a page, but here's where an "expand/collapse this item" control would be useful. Reddit's "expando" controls are a good model here.
Real fucking dates
Only knowing that something was posted "5mth" ago really isn't that informative. Fuck the flat minimalist shit and give us timestamps and datelines. UTC by preference. There are other alternatives, but then you get people referring to "your post of XX o'clock" and we've all got to pile in and say "but the hour depends on your timezone". Yes, we're still having this discussion in 2015.
Usernames along with avatars.
I've hacked Ello's CSS to provide a visual representation of userID and Username, but the mechanism (CSS
:after elements) isn't searchable on the browser page. Which means that when I'm trying to find a post or comment by a specific user on a page, I cannot use text search to do so.
I try to refrain from swearing at designers, but sometimes it's necessary: this is a really fucking stupid design. It's yet another make-work feature. It takes a fundamental and innate capability of virtually all text-based tools, of which Web browsers are a class, and breaks it. It's infuriating and there's simply no excuse for it. I'm very much hoping this is part of the upcoming Ello UI/UX redesign.
Full text search
Ello's pretty much reached the limits of utility for me without providing this capability. The lack of it is a major reason I make little to no use of Diaspora. If it doesn't show up soon I'll be making plans to decamp for elsewhere. Cool and edgy and artist-friendly and B-corp and the anti-Facebook is cool and stuff. But you've also got to make shit that actually works and is useful.
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