1

Reading is so 1990s (Read 3539 times)

    I never professed to be any good at creating websites. It's not what I get paid to do at work even though it's still computer programming. If you're a frequent visitor of the forums, which you got to be if you're reading this, then you'll notice that many new users have the same questions and comments: - the date on my run entry form is wrong - how do I use metric instead of English units? - could I display a different starting location other than the US? I went back and read the welcoming page after account creating, and it states clearly what I had to do to customize my log. The problem is that the instructions were nearly a page long, and not too many people would read it. The result was no one knew that they need to set their time zone, or they can create new workout types. Let me assure you that it's not your fault. Creating software is more than slapping pages together. In the software industry, there is such a thing called "Human factors engineering". Basically, its purpose is to help design a product that is intuitive to its target audience. For example, when you see a link on a web page, you know that after you click on it, you'll be brought to another page. Here lies the problem. We are trained to pick out non-text contents of the page because they let us get to what we want to do. Whenever we see a prompt, we'll look for a button and push it immediately without reading the prompt itself. Our attention span shortened such that a shift in user interface concepts was needed to present the same information. Thus, a setup wizard was created to guide the user along in small easily digestable chunks. So, gone was the page of instructions on how to set up your account. It is replaced with a welcome page. The idea is while the users are still focused on the registration process, use the opportunity to let them set some commonly used settings so they won't think the site is broken when things aren't working the way they expected. We're much better at receiving information via pictures instead of works, so create a picture of where they can go to customize their log. This is my little experiment to see if it will reduce the number of posts in the support forum. The whole point of software to make your life easier. Along the lines of "There is no such thing as a stupid question", if it's not obvious to you on how to do something, then the software is not designed properly.
      Hey - Eric: What you've created here is just fine. More than fine, in fact. When you add in the fact that it's actually FREE, "fine" gets elevated to "awesome." I have yet to find any bugs or quirks I can't just mess around with to make me happy. In fact, this place is actually better than some software I've used that I actually DID pay for. So there. (and for the record, I'm an idiot in general and barely computer literate (arguably barely literate, period), and I somehow managed to set the time function right.)
      E-mail: JakeKnight2002@aol.com
      -----------------------------

      vicentefrijole


        In fact, this place is actually better than some software I've used that I actually DID pay for.
        Isn't THAT the truth!!! Tongue By the way, Eric, your Welcome Page is a great idea. Judging from all the improvements you make (without even being asked) that actually improve usefullness of the site, you obviously have a knack for the 'human engineering' side of things. Well done! Big grin
          Eric, the site rocks! No worries about that. And I feel your pain... I do tech support and we constantly get calls where the user could have resolved their own problem if they had only read what was on their screen. On many of my calls I ask the user to read me exactly what the error, prompt, dialog box, etc... says and then explain that it is intructing them to do x, y or z. It's extremely frustrating, but I guess they're what keep me employed.
          The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare. -- Juma Ikangaa, Tanzanian marathoner

          Help to defeat Lou Gehrig's Disease. Please sponsor me in The Ride to Defeat ALS. I'm riding in memory of my dad.
          http://runpebsrun.blogspot.com
            As a begginer runner, I find this site to be a god-send. I can start saving some of my running data, in a low-key, un-pressurized way. When it was time to set up my options, it was very intuitive and easy. In the end, it just helps me to have a logical place to put this information, and to know that I can keep coming back to tweak it if something was not right. As a professional graphic designer (who has designed a few web sites), I can assert without doubt that the layout and design is superb. I can shop for whatever I want anywhere else. This is a good log/planning site and it should concentrate on being that. So far it is doing it better than anywhere else I have seen. Congrats.
            Will be weightlifting and running to get into the best shape I can before turning 40. Here are my progress pictures: http://tinyurl.com/584qwt
              This is a good log/planning site and it should concentrate on being that.
              That's actually a really good point. I hope that by being so open to changes and additions, this place doesn't lose the basic stuff that makes it so useful. In other words, it ain't broke ... so I hope it isn't fixed too much.
              E-mail: JakeKnight2002@aol.com
              -----------------------------

                I know you want to keep things minimal, but maybe a revised FAQ would be helpful. For example, you can now enter a run with either time or distance. And some questions seem to come up over and over again - like how to set your time-zone if your calendar is off, how to customize workouts (those were both mine, which have been asked many atime!). Is there a search function on the forums? If so, I cant find it. If not, that may help too! Thanks!
                  That's actually a really good point. I hope that by being so open to changes and additions, this place doesn't lose the basic stuff that makes it so useful. In other words, it ain't broke ... so I hope it isn't fixed too much.
                  The site started off as just a running log. Although it has grown to other areas, its primary focus will always be the running log. I disagree with the if it ain't broke policy. Technologies will continue to change, mostly for the better. If I stagnate, this site will become other running sites that motivated me to create this one in the first place. What's important is to not deviate from the original goal: create tools that will help you and all other runners train better.
                    As a begginer runner, I find this site to be a god-send. I can start saving some of my running data, in a low-key, un-pressurized way. When it was time to set up my options, it was very intuitive and easy. In the end, it just helps me to have a logical place to put this information, and to know that I can keep coming back to tweak it if something was not right. As a professional graphic designer (who has designed a few web sites), I can assert without doubt that the layout and design is superb. I can shop for whatever I want anywhere else. This is a good log/planning site and it should concentrate on being that. So far it is doing it better than anywhere else I have seen. Congrats.
                    cordovez, Thanks! I put a lot of effort into making something that's easy and intuitive because I want (the collective) you to use it. I'm still not happy with it, but with each iteration, it will get better.
                      I know you want to keep things minimal, but maybe a revised FAQ would be helpful. For example, you can now enter a run with either time or distance. And some questions seem to come up over and over again - like how to set your time-zone if your calendar is off, how to customize workouts (those were both mine, which have been asked many atime!). Is there a search function on the forums? If so, I cant find it. If not, that may help too! Thanks!
                      Yeah... the FAQ. I need to update that. Writing is never my strong suit. When combined with my desire to create new and exciting features, the documentation areas are neglected. I think they'll remain that way for a while until I can take a breather from new features. I will put in a search function for the forums because there are enough threads in there that information can become lost. eric Smile
                        Thanks eric for the forum search engine. Time Savers are so crucial these days.

                        Ricky

                        —our ability to perform up to our physiological potential in a race is determined by whether or not we truly psychologically believe that what we are attempting is realistic. Anton Krupicka