Mozilla is announcing Weave, an application that will enhance the browsing experience in various ways. I’m somewhat confused about what this means to users, but my early understanding is that this is a Flock-like approach, trying to make the browser environment a better one for socializing, multitasking, and customized uses.
Generally I think this is a positive thing. For reasons I don’t understand few of us really take the time to use and configure the many applications that allow us to customize our desktops in more functional ways. Google desktop, My Yahoo, Flock , and many more tools would allow us to build a great “control panel” for our online needs, but this appears to be a fairly low priority for most of us. I think it is analogous to how rarely people use even the simplest extra commands at Google search to refine their search. For reasons that escape me we don’t like to improve on design or functionality even when doing so is easy and does not take much time. Some do, most don’t. Why?
why? every little convenience has a cost, example, foxmarks, slows my life down when it wants to do its thing, or even firefox bookmarks, why the hell does the list close as soon as i click one, maybe i want to do more…. every digital pathway herds you somewhere… often, i dont want to go there, or there are hidden side-costs, a registration perhaps, that results in unwanted emails… i really want it simple, the machine is an informer, more than a computer, the feeling that i am driving, rather than being driven, is much rarer in a cool “control panel” than you might think…
ok, luddite meeting is starting, back later
Just back from the Luddite meeting too. Nothing changed.
I have to say, having worked in large software company environments for many years now (microsoft, symantec, etc.), my general feeling on “why” boils down to this:
The whole “customization is good” methodology ultimately substitutes for a lack of strong functional and usable design.
[I just ducked my head, physically, when I said that, dodging that Nerf Mod with the honed shards of an old sound card (or an exacto blade) jammed in the nose the ammo.]
If something does what its supposed to do really, really well, the user doesn’t NEED to customize. They might want to occasionally, but to make it work, they turn it on and push play.
I know I know, lots and lots of geek brethren disagree. But really, if the design is truly intuitive, excessively simple because it does what it does elegantly and blindingly quickly, and is rock-solid reliable, you don’t strictly _need_ to customize. The geek in me might *want to* occasionally, but for the most part, good design means I can pick up that IPod, twiddle the wheel to find the song, and press play. You don’t need 8 ways to do it to make it work, It just works.
My wife’s computer experience is the perfect illustration of this: She looks at my Windows desktop with 80 icons (my version of desktop customization to fit my sloppy needs), and says, “OK. this one is one click? Or two? Or right click? Or left 2 clicks? Do I ever have to 3-click? Oh wait – this one is a “slow” double click? I can never remember…” Or on the husband-tech-support-line, “OK. I changed the Windows setting. Now what do I do again to really change it? And I should reboot and then check it again, because sometimes it sticks and sometimes it doesn’t?” Unlike her Mac, where you change the setting, and, uh, its uh, changed?
That’s just Creepy. You should at least have a modal dialog box pop up that says your new application mixed with your security settings might jeopardize your software licenses, that we will gladly track and let you know when expire, for your own good, citizen 984938…