The frustrating microinteraction of discarding a post

It is the little things that make or break the overall experience with an application. Words to be used to interact with users are better left for experts to craft.

Here’s a quick example of a microinteraction—discarding a post—in three Android applications.

Google+ asks if the user wants to “discard this post”, giving them two options—No and Yes.
Google+ asks if the user wants to “discard this post”, giving them two options—No and Yes. The title of the dialog: Google+.
Facebook asks if the user is sure they want to “discard this post”, giving them two options—No and Yes.
Facebook asks if the user is sure they want to “discard this post”, giving them two options—No and Yes. The title of the dialog: Cancel.

“Okay, there’s a yes and a no. I’ll try no. Crap!” Both Google+ and Facebook give me le USB stick. Every single time.

Twitter asks if the user wants to “save changes”, giving them three options—Cancel, Discard and Save.
Twitter asks if the user wants to “save changes”, giving them three options—Cancel, Discard and Save. The title of the dialog: New Tweet.

Of these three, Twitter wins. It is to-the-point. It gives the user a chance to act, not just respond. More importantly, it focuses on the user’s task, not the technology to accomplish it.

This post is part of the #blogg100 challenge—100 blog posts à 100 words in 100 days.

Update to Gmail interface

If you have enabled a setting to use Google’s new search interface in Chrome 29, you might see an update to Gmail as well. The main difference is that the black navigation bar with links to Google’s other web apps has been transformed into a button you need to click to bring up a list of services.

Here’s the current Gmail interface, without the “Instant Extended API” enabled:

Current Gmail interface
Current Gmail interface

And here’s the updated Gmail interface, with the “Instant Extended API” enabled:

Updated Gmail interface
Updated Gmail interface

To enable the update, go to chrome://flags, search “Instant Extended API” and select “Enabled” in the dropdown.

Google updates OneBox

I use Google’s OneBox very often to find out what things mean, which usually is no effort at all. Now, it’s even easier to plunge into investigation of the subject I’m interested in. Besides the definition, OneBox is updated to include the etymology, translation and mentions of the keyword/phrase over time. Very useful!

Google updates OneBox
Google updates OneBox

I imagine Glass

For a couple of days, I have been imagining what my life would be like, if I had a little piece of glass in front of my right eye. No, a little higher, so as not to obstruct my sight. When I was outside taking a promenade yesterday and when I was looking at the screen of my laptop working earlier this week—I kept thinking about how I would interact with the inanimate wise assistant.

When I pull out my phone to take a photo of my lunch, I imagine holding a fork and knife in my hands and uttering “OK glass, take a picture”. When my food is no longer warm and I am busy tapping around on the broad screen of the smartphone to share the photo with friends, I imagine choosing to share it with people on Google+ instead.

When I smear my hands with paint and have fun painting tigers and flowers with my three-year-old, I imagine saying “OK glass, record a video” without taking my eyes off of her smile. When I have an hour to kill in a city foreign to me, I imagine asking “OK glass, google nearby café”.

Imagine technology were not in the way of our interaction with each other. Imagine communication were something that was no longer bound to hardware. Imagine relevant information were accessible to you anywhere any time.

Imagine also not using a product, but being used as one. Imagine someone making a claim at your data and drawing profit from selling it. Imagine something making use of everyone’s data to manipulate and rule.

Falling down from the sky and sharing the moment instantaneously sounds alluring, but does not necessarily mean it is to my benefit. I imagine.

How to redirect your site to your Google+ profile (or any other site for that matter)

Gplus

Many have taken advantage of the sudden appearance of Google+ early to build up their social identities. The ever popular short web address services started to bud. Rather promptly, too. You may have seen people sharing their concise adresses like http://gplus.to/abc123 or http://gplus.am/123abc all over the Internet.

As I said, they are popular. Which means your precious nickname might have already been taken. If you have your own domain name, there’s a very simple way to redirect, or forward, your domain name to your Google+ profile. I have heard people dumping their blogs and using Google+ as their blogging platform, mainly because you reach out to people that already are following you.

So, the idea is simple. You want your friend to type your site’s URL, say http://example.com, in their web browsers and come automatically to your Google+ profile. Here are some easy steps to accomplish it.

  1. Create a new document in Notepad (or any other text editor).
  2. Save it under the filename “index.php” (use Save as… under File menu).
  3. Copy and paste the following bit of text into your index.php file:
    <?php
    $URL = "YOUR_GOOGLE+_PROFILE_URL";
    header ("Location: $URL");
    ?>
  4. Replace the phrase YOUR_GOOGLE+_PROFILE_URL with the address to your Google+ profile. (It is a long address. Mine, for example, looks like this: http://plus.google.com/110744082519634779396.)
  5. Save the file and upload it to the root directory of yoursite.com.

So, now you’re all set. Please, be aware though that this kind of a redirection only works if your web host supports PHP.

Tip: you can create a new directory in the root directory of http://example.com, say /gplus, and upload the index.php file there. That way http://example.com will be left as it is, but http://example.com/gplus will.

Another tip: I’ve seen it elsewhere and I think it looks neat. Instead of creating a directory called /gplus, name it simply “+”, so that the address http://example.com/+ would be redirected to your Google+ profile.

How has your social media behaviour changed?

I hear (read) many people use Twitter less and less, now that they have Google+, where they send updates that do not need to be limited number of characters. Reportedly, their Facebook usage has almost stayed unchanged.

For me, it is different. I use Twitter as never before, almost having an inexplicable urge to never miss a tweet, as though just to please myself. And Facebook – well, I don’t really follow my friends’ news there. I just post my own news (usually as a cross post from Twitter) and reply to not-so-frequent comments.

Despite largely negative critique, Google have succeeded after all, I guess. Not making me switch from another service, no. But I think they succeeded in putting me, myself, the “You+” from the Google+ introduction mapin the centre. I have noticed how I am becoming more and more self-centred. What it means in the long run, I am not sure. 

What do you think? Has you social media behaviour changed after you started using Google+? If so, how?

Google Searchwiki, Sidewiki och Wave

Webb 2.0 handlar om att dela med sig, bidra med sin kunskap och umgås med folk digitalt. Bland annat. Och främst handlar Webb 2.0 inte om någon teknisk innovation, som automatisk uppdatering av bloggar eller roboter, i framtidsperspektiv.

Google har varit en av de ledande leverantörerna av söktjänster de senaste tio åren. Nu har de kommit på två sätt att göra webben en ännu mera social plats genom att låta sina användare personifiera sina sökningar och säga sin mening om webbsidor:

  1. Google Searchwiki låter användaren personifiera sina (och endast sina) sökningar så att oväntade och icke önskvärda sökningar hamnar i en sorts papperskorg eller arkiv. Varför det kallas för wiki återstår bara att undra, för användare endast kan redigera sina egna sökningar och endast se ändringar själva.
  2. Google Sidewiki är ett tillägg till Google Toolbar. Google Sidewiki används för att lägga kommentarer till webbsidor. Detta är också rätt så långt från de traditionella wikis: användare kan inte ändra på andras kommentarer, dock kan de se dem och interagera med varandra.

Google Wave är den Googletjänst som inte bär på namnet “wiki”, men som verkar vara både närmare den traditionella beskrivningen av wiki och ett alternativ till en wiki. Men Google Wave verkar inte vara mycket användbar än. Till skillnad från en Webb 2.0 applikation.

Google Maps shortcuts in Firefox

There are several shortcuts in Street View that you might not know of. I discovered them by accident and I am glad I did. Just in case my mouse doesn’t work and I want to move around in the Google Maps Street view. (Mind that the shortcuts are only tested in Firefox on Windows)

Shortcut Description
Alt + A Pan left
Alt + D Pan right
Alt + W Pan up
Alt + S Pan down

I usually use Alt + D to set the cursor to the address bar in Firefox (and Ctrl + E to get it over to the Search bar). That explains the accident that helped me find the shortcuts. Now, sometimes the shortcuts wouldn’t work, which I do not have any explanation for. But I know how to get around it.

  1. Make sure you are using Firefox on Windows
  2. Make sure you are viewing Google Maps in Street view
  3. Move around by doubleclicking a circle or a rectangle somewhere in the image
  4. Go ahead and try the shortcuts now

Do you know of any other shortcuts in Google Maps?

Update: Apparently, you do not need to hit Alt with the letter. Just use the letters for navigating around in the street view.

Работа и отдых на Google

Сегодня началась последняя неделя перед зимними “каникулами”, в течение которых, хоть я и буду дома в Риге, у меня дел навалом. Провести время с семьёй, поесть жареную рыбу, встретиться с друзьями, посетить врачей, накупить еду, построить дом, подстричь волосы, вырастить дерево, обновить гардероб, приобрести яхту и остров – это только некоторые вещи, которые я планирую на мои две недели дома. Вот только успею ли?

Согласно шведским законам, у студентов каникул, как таковых, нет, и это проявляется в том, что, как только приеду обратно в Скандинавию, нужно будет сдавать экзамен уже на следующий день. А после него вечером на работу.

Кстати о работе. Повышенную зарплату буду получать не с 17-го декабря, через день после достижения 24-летия, а где-то в конце апреля, начале мая, т.к. компания, на которую работаю VM Media, обновляет записи возрастов работников раз в год. Ну и ладно. Могу потерпеть. Обидно тем, у кого день 24-го года рождения приходится на май-июнь. Только-только исполнилось 24 – а значит и зарплата должна быть выше – а ждать её повышения ещё целый год.

Image:Massage chairВ таких случаях хочется работать на, скажем, Google, которые, можно сказать, стали основателями и движками новой культуры работодателей – даёшь работу, давай и отдых! (По ссылке – фотографии, при просмотре которых нынешнее рабочее место становится несравненно и невыразимо мало.)