And you too, computer, now that I think of it. I have a list here of things that are annoying that are similar to each other in that they interfere with my most basic use of the computer. Most of the time I demand very little of a computer. Writing text in a text editor or in the text boxes of web pages, and reading things. That is mostly what I do. It is astonishing that in 2012 when we are about to do this that these simple tasks can be thwarted by poor design and engineering in the software running on what is really pretty advanced hardware.
1) Reloading web pages. This is best exemplified with our local CBS affiliate, WCCO, news site. Let’s say I open up a web page that has an interesting news story. I read part of the page and then I get distracted by something shiny for, say, 20 seconds, then I go back to finish reading the story and the page reloads. I’m now back to the top of the page. I work my way down the text to find where I left off, and start reading again. Then, I get to the end of the page and I’m about to read the last sentence, and the page reloads. Or, worse, I start up one of the embedded videos on the page. And while the video is still playing, the page reloads. Why does this page keep reloading? How can you make a news site that reloads pages while the reader is reading them almost every time if the story is longish, or, amazingly, if the reader is watching a video? Why?
I’ve actually emailed WCCO about this. This problem has been going on for at least a year, and I’m sure others have complained as well. Haven’t they? I guess there is no internal mechanism at CBS or WCCO for problems with the user eperience to translate into a redesign of the technology.
2) Moving text boxes. This is a BIG problem with Google+ but it also happens in Facebook. You have a text box in which you are entering a post, status update, or comment, and while you are typing this in, suddenly the pages shifts. This is like the reloading page mentioned above but with a different technology and effect. The point is, your text box is gone and now you have to find it to write that last one or two words of the brilliant thought you were just about to post which you may have lost track of because of this distraction. This is like if Hemmingway was writing a novel and at random intervals somebody walked into the room and rolled the typewriter platten on him. The people who designed that technology clearly don’t use the technology.
3) Text Boxes that go on vacation. This is where you are typing text into a text box, like where you put your Facebook status, and suddenly you are typing and nothing is happening. Then, suddenly, all the text you were typing comes flying out. This actually has been known to happen to me in my text editor when it decides to take too much time saving backups and maybe something is wrong with the hard disk system. So, OK, I replaced the hard drive and fixed that, but still.
4) And another thing. Why is it that bringing up a simple file manager and having it populated with the file data takes so long? Isn’t that the most basic function of my system? Shouldn’t that happen instantaneously?
Internet and Computer Software Industry, please fix these things.
Thank you very much, that is all.