All the buttons and popups

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inanecathode

All the buttons and popups

Post by inanecathode » Mon Dec 08, 2008 5:41 am

I used to use craigshelper all the time back when it was significantly less of a pain in the ass to use. Maybe thats not the right phrase, but its rate annoying at this point. Any time i want to do a search on a computer i havent already gone through the ordeal with.
Lets start with a couple simple things:
News popups. If i cared about the news for the site, i would click on a link. If it really is THAT important for you to tell the world, put a static frame, dont use that irritating popunder slider that shifts the entire page down. You're good with html, i get it. Streamline your site, just put a frame or a permanent news section at the bottom.
Transitions. The fade in fade out popunders really are unneccesary. All it does is take up processing power, and waste time waiting for things to fade in and fade out. Its not a problem for my machine, its decently outfitted, but for those of us who dont have totally up to date computers the fade in fade out boxes just waste alot of time. The reason TV shows don't use fade in and fade out of every scene isnt because they're not good enough to edit the tape like that, its because it quickly becomes annoying. Just skip to the next scene, i have an idea of whats happening, i wont be scared by instant appearing boxes, trust me, noone else will.
Bulkyness. You're assailed with so many buttons, options, popups, query windows, really i'm beginning more and more these days to just use regular craigslist, yes i have to search one location at a time but its VASTLY more streamlined. People who want to search classifieds generally want to get in, get their results, and get calling people. They dont want to dicker about with setting a dozen options that do nothing but pop up query windows and trivially affect the format of the results they get. Heres a really good example: The results options. You cant set the options before you search, so you're forced to make a search in the format you dont want. When you change the results view, theres a query popup telling me that it has to be refreshed. Gee, thanks, the whole REASON i'm changing the results format is because i dont like them the way they are, WHY would i care if its refreshed? I'm sure i'm not the only one scratching my head as to the ebay results either. Look, im using craigslist generally

Look, dude, i really like the concept i really do, but the implication you're going for just seems like you're trying to cram as many buttons, sliders, input boxes, options, query boxes and frames in as you can in a given amount of space. Does it work? Yes. Do the options sometimes make things easier and faster? Yes. Is it worth the hassle of setting every single option, and going through a myriad of query boxes just for a quick search? I don't think so. Streamlined is ALWAYS better. Popular search engines are used not because they have the most catered features, they're used because they're quick and streamlined, just look at google. There are essentially no options to set to speak of, yet its the primary search engine of the world. If you're totally stuck on the idea of having fade in fade out windows, silly query boxes and the like, make them a default off feature. If people want them they'll set that option, but leaving things on leaves people with cookies disabled or people who use craigshelper on different computers often wasting alot of time running through the options every time they get to the site.

Don't take this post the wrong way, i think you're a pioneer, but in my opinion i really think you need to scale back a bit and focus on fast streamlined usage instead of tailored fit searches and results.

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Tempest Nathan
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Re: All the buttons and popups

Post by Tempest Nathan » Mon Dec 08, 2008 1:31 pm

Ya, to some extent I agree with you. Part of the problem is that whenever I come up with a new feature, it's because a majority of the users prefer it. But then a significant minority of course don't. So I can either 'streamline' it by removing the old option entirely, irritating a good chunk of users, or leave both as options, arguably irritating everyone, but less. :)

I'm not really sure what you mean about the fade effects.. as far as I know there aren't any. There are a few slide effects, which take very limited processing power and don't happen very often, but not fades as far as I know. Oh, unless you mean with the options boxes - but those are built into the library for the box; it's not something I hand-coded. Could make them appear faster though if it's annoying.

The thing about a static news thing is that no one will look at it. I do have a whole news forum for that sort of thing, but when there's news that I actually need people to pay attention to, it does need to shove its way in there a bit. I agree that it can be annoying, especially when it's used a lot, as it has been lately because there's been a lot of news! But I see it as the lesser of two evils. I will try to reserve it for only the most important news in the future though - something I was already thinking about...

You're right about the pop-up in the results options warning about the page being refreshed - I'll take that out. And I know it sort of sucks having to run the search before being able to customize it, but that's *part* of streamlining - the alternative is to clutter up the main interface with more options that 95% of people don't use. Another pop-up that can probably be removed is the one that appears when someone clicks the 'Select states and cities manually'. Or at least the two warnings could be condensed into one.

Anyway, if you have more specific suggestions about exactly what you'd like to see streamlined, I'm all ears.

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Tempest Nathan
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Re: All the buttons and popups

Post by Tempest Nathan » Mon Dec 08, 2008 9:48 pm

One thing I'm curious about though.. You say it's not worth setting all the additional options. But then you say it takes you too long to configure all the options on all the computers you use. So why not just... not do it? The search works just fine in its default setup and is very streamlined. In fact you can get a search by entering your zip, typing in a keyword, and clicking "Search Now". Just seems like a bit of a contradiction. Anyway, give me some more specific examples of what you'd like to see changed and I'm sure I'll get the idea. I'm going to go cut out a couple of those notification boxes and make the options boxes pop up faster right now. (They're pop-ups btw, not popunders.)

Edit: Just made another little improvement too. If someone's already seen a news item, but hasn't told it to go away forever, next time it comes up, it won't do the drop-down thing - it'll just load there with the rest of the page.

Cheers.

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Re: All the buttons and popups

Post by Guest » Wed Dec 10, 2008 8:13 pm

Pin in the ASS now. K.I.S.S

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Tempest Nathan
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Re: All the buttons and popups

Post by Tempest Nathan » Wed Dec 10, 2008 8:57 pm

Guest wrote:Pin in the ASS now. K.I.S.S
Riiight... aside from making perfect sense, that statement is extremely helpful! Thank you! :roll:

papasmithnc
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Re: All the buttons and popups

Post by papasmithnc » Mon Jan 12, 2009 12:40 am

"Look, dude, i really like the concept i really do, but the implication you're going for just seems like you're trying to cram as many buttons, sliders, input boxes, options, query boxes and frames in as you can in a given amount of space. Does it work? Yes. Do the options sometimes make things easier and faster? Yes. Is it worth the hassle of setting every single option, and going through a myriad of query boxes just for a quick search? I don't think so. Streamlined is ALWAYS better. Popular search engines are used not because they have the most catered features, they're used because they're quick and streamlined, just look at google. There are essentially no options to set to speak of, yet it’s the primary search engine of the world. If you're totally stuck on the idea of having fade in fade out windows, silly query boxes and the like, make them a default off feature. If people want them they'll set that option, but leaving things on leaves people with cookies disabled or people who use craigshelper on different computers often wasting alot of time running through the options every time they get to the site."
I'm sorry, I have got to disagree strongly, not so much with this person's main points but, with the manner in which they were presented. To this poster I would say, come on man, this program is a vast improvement over searching individual craigslists for a lot of people. If you want to make a suggestion, do it calmly and make it respectfully. Keep in mind that this programmer has essentially provided a valuable service for little more than free. If you don’t already know, programming can be tedious and demanding. I know from experience. I mean, take a chill pill.

With that said, I would like to say to Nathan that I hope you don't take what the above poster said as screaming for a reduction of features. Leave a default mode with the most often used options for those who want a simple search experience. I would agree with that. However, I know my searches benefit from the additional options. Perhaps better formatting and presentation of the options would be in order but, I recognize that is just the natural process of refinement. Thanks for a great program and keep up the good work. I’ll be giving another donation through PayPal in appreciation.

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Tempest Nathan
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Re: All the buttons and popups

Post by Tempest Nathan » Mon Jan 12, 2009 1:10 am

papasmithnc wrote:I'm sorry, I have got to disagree strongly, not so much with this person's main points but, with the manner in which they were presented. To this poster I would say, come on man, this program is a vast improvement over searching individual craigslists for a lot of people. If you want to make a suggestion, do it calmly and make it respectfully. Keep in mind that this programmer has essentially provided a valuable service for little more than free. If you don’t already know, programming can be tedious and demanding. I know from experience. I mean, take a chill pill.

With that said, I would like to say to Nathan that I hope you don't take what the above poster said as screaming for a reduction of features. Leave a default mode with the most often used options for those who want a simple search experience. I would agree with that. However, I know my searches benefit from the additional options. Perhaps better formatting and presentation of the options would be in order but, I recognize that is just the natural process of refinement. Thanks for a great program and keep up the good work. I’ll be giving another donation through PayPal in appreciation.
Thanks papa s. And don't worry - I get a lot of this. Usually what people are looking for is not for the default options to be more streamlined, but rather for them to be exactly what they themselves use. Not speaking of the OP specifically, but often people are unable to comprehend that others may prefer different options, and that theirs aren't necessarily the only logical way. :)

So, I try to do exactly as you suggest. Keep the defaults as simple and functional as possible, while giving plenty of power to more advanced users. Of course there is always room for improvement, and I'm always open to suggestions. And hey, even when they're not presented in the most positive manner, they can be helpful - as you can see earlier in the thread, I was able to make a few improvements based on the above suggestions. And of course no matter how good I manage to make it, not everyone will be satisfied. But that's ok. :mrgreen:

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