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Author Topic: 4 ways to reduce clicks that I rarely see in stand-alone desktop programs  (Read 1073 times)
Paul Keith
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« on: February 15, 2011, 09:38:00 PM »

Preview:
http://www.thinkery.me/
http://www.surfulator.com/
https://chrome.google.com...apcgdgjgoacppghmjhbombbnf
http://www.diigo.com/
http://www.goalscape.com/
https://chrome.google.com...fhhbdohknifbiiknnkgjfbhoa
https://chrome.google.com...eognjmfkaieeeadojiibgbdp#

1. Search box and add:



From: http://www.thinkery.me/

When you think of web clippers and instant read it later add-ons, you either think of a program that bookmarks and then opens up a menu or something that bookmarks and doesn't show up anything at all and you have to go into the depths of the program to find an edit option.

Even browsers don't get it quite correctly. Google has a really bad native bookmark manager. Opera doesn't have a right click option. Firefox ehh... unless you are a tagger, it's easy again to just shut off your brain in organizing any bookmarks.

Basically most of the applications out there assume you want something buried entirely for later (collect) or process before you keep (rush your organization).

It's a minor tweak but it's a much more streamlined to process as you act.

2. Add it with Intention:

While some desktop programs have improved as far as power and options goes, setting aside the occasional "stock" tags or temporary storage folder -  Few programs still dare to integrate themselves into helping the user out.

Now this isn't without risk as it can alienate users away from the program if the intention is wrong - but if you consider how few non-cloud programs have browser extensions (I only know of Surfulator having it) then it's a case of most developers not considering it rather than avoiding it.

In DoItLater Alligator for Chrome if I add a memo in it's box, it turns my short notes into Google search links of my notes typed in.

Even better, if you don't add anything to the search box, it automatically adds the link of the page you are currently in and serves as a quick bookmark button

However Diigo one ups it with something even more powerful adding a search within a search feature in their Chrome extension:



You might say...well this is for web search. There's not a lot of fancy ways you can do this for desktop applications.

You would be wrong. In Goalscape for exampe, if you do a search for your keywords, the program would show a pop-up telling you whether your search is within the folder you are searching it in or if there's a word outside of the sub-folder that matches with your search keywords. (It will say "In out of focus goals".)

3. Less is more annoying than More

I could be perfectly wrong here since I didn't make any survey but I firmly believe that if you took the Linux Mint Update Manager and did a test for Windows balloon tips, more users will update their Mint distro than their Windows Operating System at a more recent rate.

Why is that? Because people don't like to click and even those who do like to click, rarely realize if they are postponing something in their reminders - they get used to tuning out those pop-ups and notifications.

This is including real time updates.

I have done more checking of blogs since using MyReminder for Chrome than I have in my entire time of using RSS Feeds and e-mail notifications and even page checkers.

 

Note that I may be the minority here but the reason I feel is because the way MyReminder works is that the notification message doesn't "hide" the note, it opens it. What notifies me instead is that little number besides the icon that annoys me to hell and makes me instantly click on it.

This isn't exclusive to that extension and alot of Chrome extensions do this but only a few gets it like MyReminder. Even DoItLater Alligator doesn't work because once you see that number 27, you tune out.

Same thing with e-mail inboxes and rss feeds. Same thing if a guy kept saying STOP! Eventually you treat it like a boy crying wolf.

However if a policeman gestures his hand to stop or you see a red stoplight - different stuff happens. You tend to stop more often.

Why is it then that programs often opt for alarms, for pop-ups, for longer annoyances? Because often times it's more information at a lesser click but the reality is we react more to sudden blinks then to static be it sound, color, sight and smell.

Alot of programs still underrate this. Not just for productivity.

Take spellcheckers. Everyone who's typed in a foreign language that isn't supported by a spellchecker often knows that posts become red underlines of hell.

Eventually you either drop the program or you ignore it and hence the spellchecker becomes a burden to be turned off completely. Why not have a middle of the line spellchecker? One that collects the misspelled words in your program and then occasionally would notify you at a certain interval (one or two words at a time) whether you want to add the word to the dictionary database?

I'm not saying replace the spellchecker. I'm saying have a yellow stoplight between the red (spellchecker off) and the green (spellchecker on).

4. Pop It Like It's Hot

For many users with Tabitis, the bane of browser tab overload has always been blamed on having a difficult time to organize the tabs or a difficult time to organize your bookmarks. Few people really asked to consider whether the problem is really in the category.

It makes sense if you think about it. When did most information overload explode? It exploded when people started using tags and tree folders to organize their data.

Even when GTD exploded, a bunch of guys basically ignored the innovation of the "context" popularized by David Allen in favor of GTD software with "stock" categories that merely followed the name GTD.

Then other people went the opposite road and copied the Inbox method of e-mails and creating a one click send to yourself e-mail folders that were more like read it laters and people loved it but it didn't really solve the problem, it just hid it for most unproductive people.

Again, it's really like a no-brainer. E-mail didn't sort things. It hid things. That's why there were many tips and tricks on how to organize your e-mail because e-mail is messy.



If the screenshot above is confusing, it works better than it looks.

What TooManyTabs for Chrome does is that it took a look at the category and not the organization of the tabs.

It didn't try to make tabs organized, it made tabs disorganized in a much better context.

It didn't try to make bookmarking better, it tried to make bookmarking humbler.

How did it do that?

If you enabled the custom columns in the options, you'll soon found out certain flaws in your folder naming that has been for the most part what led to your tabitis in the first place.

Let's start from the beginning: When you add tags to a Wikipedia article, what do you usually name it? One of them is at least the name wikipedia right?

Let's say you are limited to a folder, what do you name a set of bookmarks that you haven't read? You often name it by commonality. Even if you are drag and dropping while processing your notes. You name it based on Wikipedia. Based on research. Based on subject.

If you are organized all that works. If you are disorganized, you're creating a bibliography section of a book and that's not usually where your eyes want to look first.

You want content. You want context. You want the summary of the body of text you are reading.

That's why combining texts into one file like the recent link of Wikipedia's book creator can be awesome. Why? Because when you look back on it, you no longer have to rethink why you are reading those sets of files.

That is the power of Snap. It creates the illusion of lightweightedness making people opt for Chrome even though Opera was always able to handle more files at a more lightweight manner way way before that. It makes tickler files work because it's not about putting where and how. It's about dropping and popping.

That in turn makes bookmark organization more humble. You want something accessible but easy to pick apart just the same. Not easy to organize.

I know this interface is not going to be for everyone or most people (like how people preferred ReadItLater over Taboo for Firefox) but hopefully the idea of less clicks will still be easy to understand once you tried the software. Yes, the delete key is right in front of our fingers but "drag and drop" and "open, close, then edit" is very unnatural to the human brain especially when overloaded with information.

You don't open and then close a box before you punch through the cardboard and choose which is the fruit you want to eat at that time.

...and as much as the IPad has popularized the coolness of finger pointing, when you are overloaded with information - you don't grab a paper notebook or even your IPAD and slide it across the desk as if you were drag and dropping a file in order to put it closer to your other important items. You pick it up and you know it doesn't clone itself until you choose to "delete" the clone of that IPAD (although it would be kind of nice to have two IPADs but even with cloning, if everything clones itself, we'd have an even bigger waste problem.)
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