Bits & Pieces
My bookmarks are overflowing with online tools for just about anything, so it is not surprising that I have managed somehow to delete my link to Stixy — a fine, pinboard type of tool that one can use for about all sorts of things.
It is exactly this freedom that is empowering, but also, as I came to learn recently through observation, quite demanding. Once users are given a flexible basis they have to decide on the structure themselves, organize it, and this makes use more difficult for some. A similar case is Trello which may be way too unrestricted.
It’s an interesting thing to consider. Similar to an empty sheet of paper, an open space can be daunting. Once you channel use into a concrete case, it leads users from A to B; it makes it easier. And along with that, restricted.
The horror login rant
Since I changed my DSL provider from Vodafone to O2, but still hanging in the old contract, I have the chance these days to use both of their German websites. I have had a lot to say about Vodafone’s web in the past when their site was painfully slow. This has now somewhat improved.
O2’s, on the other hand, is fast and looks clean and easy at first, but then I could not find my login page without having the papers they sent me, because the page is not linked from anywhere on their site! They sell DSL (formerly by Alice) but don’t let you log in with those credentials from their regular login form and don’t even point to the right place.
Once you find it, the login form is a disaster of its own. The drop-down opens on roll-over of the “Anmelden” link and disappears the second you move the mouse a millimeter outside the drop-down area. It also disappears if you try to select a login value the auto-fill offers you. It is ‘orrible!
To be fair, Vodafone are not doing much better, but their form does not offer auto-fill so your mouse, at least with some care, remains in the drop-down area long enough for you to log in.
What is wrong with a regular, ubiquitous, firmly-put login form is beyond me. For two fields and a button there is no chance one would waste much space. The options to send you to this page or another (as seen on O2’s “regular” login) make also little sense for those should be clear on the main navigation — that is too much input for one click.
Here’s the technical stack we’ve used to build responsive news.
Nb. BBC is a large(ish) organisation so we’ve already got a fully operational platform upon which to write applications, so I’ve not listed every last thing, just the tools and technology that we’ve selected to create our project.