Tag Archives: yahoo

Internet tools needing improvement

There are a lot of software applications – apps – I use regularly – and some that I’m using less-regularly, because of “improvements” by developers. So many apps are becoming so poorly-designed that they are becoming unusable, yet I read about many of these companies whining about how many users they’ve been losing.

So let me do you a favor, designers: here’s more than a dozen ways that the apps I use regularly – and millions of others use regularly – really, truly could be improved:

  • Flickr – Bring back the narrative slide show view. Yes, most people just look at photos, and look at them on their smart phones. But there are a lot of us who want to see the narrative too – not every photo is self-explanatory.
  • Facebook – So many changes needed:
    • Make adding and removing people from lists as easy as adding and removing people from circles on GooglePlus. Right now, it is SO hard to do. And there’s no “at a glance” way to see who is one which list. I would use Facebook oh-so-much more if the lists were easier to use.
    • Make it possible to put Facebook pages into lists. I would love to be able to put causes I really love, and want to follow, on a list, so I could look just at that list sometimes.
    • Make it possible to delete smart lists from a person’s view of lists – I have a company listed on my account that I have NEVER worked for. I have no idea how it got there, but there’s no way for me to remove it! It looks like I worked there – but I never did.
    • Create a blog space for users the way MySpace used to have. I could create a blog that someone could view WITHOUT being a member of MySpace – but the only way for someone to comment it on it unless they were signed in. You would end up taking market share from Tumblr and Medium and so many blog spaces if you did that.
  • Twitter:
    • Make it possible to view lists I create, as well as the list of accounts I follow and the list of those that follow me, viewable however I want (alphabetical, oldest to newest, etc.)
    • Keep it simple! That’s the beauty of Twitter! Please stop trying to be like Facebook. I connect with people and organizations I really need to know, even get job leads, from Twitter – that NEVER happens on Facebook. You are going to ruin Twitter if you keep “adding” Facebook features.
  • YahooGroups, formerly my favorite app:
    • Please, please, please go back to non-threaded discussions. You’re threaded way of doing things have killed discussions on most of the groups I’m on.
    • Create a fee-based service for users who don’t want ads on their groups, including no ads in emails generated by messages on the group. I will HAPPILY pay that fee! So would many, many thousands of other users!
  • Google
    • regarding GoogleGroups: go look at YahooGroups from 2002 or so – if your interface looked more like that, you’d still massive numbers of users from not only Yahoo, but from various online collaboration web sites as well.
    • GoogleCalendar: Please reconsider your decision to stop sending calendar updates via SMS! I don’t always have great Internet access. And there are LOTS of people that still use feature phones that don’t have apps. We need our SMS reminders!
  • iTunes – STOP BEING STUPID. Instead, start beta-testing your interface with non-software developers, as well as people over 25. I am not a stupid person, and yet, it takes me way too long to figure out how to add a song to a playlist, how to remove one, how to play just one album, and on and on.

Those are my ideas. Get right on that, ‘kay?

Why I hate Flickr now

Why I hate Flickr now:

When I send people to look at an album on Flickr, they see only photos – no descriptions. There’s now no way to send them to a view that gives them lots of photos AND descriptions on a screen, as there was on the old, far superior Flickr. That means people don’t know anything about what’s happening in photos, other than what is seen. Something very big happened to me on my recent vacation, but unless you read the descriptions on some of the photos, you don’t know that. How many other big stories are missed because photo descriptions are now SO hidden? This is something nonprofits need to keep in mind if they are still using Flickr – it’s become a not-so-great way to tell your story.

What photo-sharing site do you use, and does it have a view where someone can see lots of photos AND descriptions on a screen?

(tried ipernity, but they don’t take American Express)

How Yahoo could THRIVE

Yes, this nonprofit management consultant is going to offer advice for a for-profit company on the ropes. I know it’s usually the opposite – corporations tell mission-based organizations – nonprofits, government agencies, schools, etc. – how they should do this or that. But there’s a LOT the for-profit world can learn from the mission-based world – and from very average computer users. And I’ve been a long-time Yahoo user – and have found myself migrating to other services, particularly over the last five years. Yahoo should listen to me!

Your mission

Let’s start with that word mission. Yahoo, what is your mission? Why do you exist, beyond to make money so you can pay staff and shareholders? I don’t know what your mission is. You need a clear mission statement that guides every business decision you make – and keeps you from engaging in activities that get you as muddled as you are now.

Yahoo home page & news search site

Let’s look at the Yahoo home page or the Yahoo news site in comparison to, say, your arch rival’s, Google’s home page or the Google news site. What I see when I look at your pages: a bloated mess. What I experience: memory-hungry sites that take forever to download unless I’m on the very best computer, sites that like some browsers but not others. Sites that seem to have no reason behind the design – my eye has no idea where to go. The experience is frustrating and confusing.

Your guiding principle in your redesign should be quick to download. Put posters up all over your offices that say lightening-fast to download. Test and retest the design on a variety of devices and operating systems. Download speeds need to be lightening fast for everyone, not just those with incredibly fast Internet connections and using the same tools as your web designers.

Your news site search also seems to be broken, and has been for many, many months: I’ve often heard breaking news on TV, or want to look up the results of a sports event that has been over for a few hours, even 24 hours. I’ve used your search site to find those results, and the results are, more often than not, not the latest. I’m tired of looking up the results of a game that’s long over and getting back stories published the day before the game ever happened. I go to Google and get the results I need. So – FIX THIS.

That said, the results page for your news site search has the kind of design the rest of your site needs: simple, easy to navigate, easy to read.

Yahoogroups

Yahoogroups is a far superiour platform for online discussion groups and online collaboration than LinkedIn groups or GoogleGroups. The web interface is much easier to read and navigate than those platforms – although it could use a refreshing upgrade (but not anything that will make it more bloated in terms of bandwidth!). I cannot count how many times someone tells me they need an online tool that will allow them to collaborate with remote staff or students, or allow members of a project to share a calendar, have a shared but publicly-private message space for a group or class, and various other features – when they say they want a basic cloud-based, file-sharing platform – and when I show them YahooGroups, they say, “This has everything I need! How did I not know about this?”

How did they not know about YahooGroups? You don’t advertise it. I’m a better advocate for this service of yours than you are!

In addition to all the advanced features, YahooGroups allows for group members who do not want to join Yahoo to receive and respond to messages via email – and, like it or not, there are still millions of folks who prefer to interact with online groups that way. That’s a major draw to YahooGroups among some folks I work with.

Push Yahoogroups! Have people talking about it at conferences and on various online fora where people are asking, “Where can I find a group that does this and this and this?” Advertise it on TV. Highlight organizations, families, and other groups that love it oh-so-much and are using it for so many different reasons.

Want to make money with it? I would happily pay a monthly fee to get rid of the advertising. I’m not alone. Offer an affordable rate – say, $100 a year – for a group to have all ads removed from the web site and from emails sent from the group. I’d pay that for my group, which I use to distribute my newsletter, Tech4Impact.

Yahoo IM

Interesting that most people I work with also have Yahoo IM, and have for years. Since my colleagues all use cross-platform IM tools (I use Adium), what platform we all have should be moot, yet so many of us are still on Yahoo. But that could change. Are you going to keep Yahoo super-simple to use and integrate with other IM platforms? Are you going to make it the fastest and most reliable, or are you going to bloat it up with features that will eat up bandwidth?

Yahoomail

I have my own domain name and, therefore, my own custom email address. Yet, I also have a Yahoomail account too: I like using it for ecommerce (for anything I buy online) and the spam filter rocks. And the text isn’t as tiny as Googlemail – and I’m so tired of tiny online text. Advertise Yahoomail!

Shine

Get rid of Shine. Or radically alter it.

I don’t want advice on shoes (unless it’s advice for motorcycle boots), I don’t read horoscopes and loathe any publication that thinks it’s what women want, and I need advice for saving money that has less to do with bargains at department stories (how to get that designer look for less!) and more to do with how to save money on utility bills, water bills, rent, gas, etc. Movie news is fun – but I would prefer information about the best places to go in Canada or Mexico for single women travelers, how to get started kayaking in my 40s, the realities of starting a dog-walking business, certifications offered through most community colleges that can help my career prospects, the easiest veggies to grow in a tiny space, etc. I want something that it fierce and funny and intelligent. Partner with the people behind the magazine Bust and do something that women would actually like to read every day.

YahooAnswers

YahooAnswers is NOT living up to its potential. It could be awesome. Instead, the same questions are getting asked again and again on YahooAnswers. Some version of I’m 13/14 and I want to volunteer in my hometown with animals. How can I do that? gets posted to the community service section EVERY DAY. YahooAnswers needs a FAQs, with answers. And you need to pay some experts to regularly monitor and answer questions in certain sections, to ensure people are getting quality answers. For instance, give PeaceCorps and Girl Scouts small grants to cover their staff time for spending a few minutes every day on YahooAnswers and answering questions regarding their respective organizations.

Flickr

QUIT MESSING WITH FLICKR. Photos already take up a lot of bandwidth – stop adding scripts and other “features” that make it even more bloated!

Get Personal

I never see your staff on TV being interviewd or offering commentary. I don’t hear about your staff doing something wacky, or philanthropic, or participating in take-your-dog-to-work day. I don’t see or hear them at the conferences I go to. I don’t see them hosting webinars to help different business sectors, including nonprofits, to get the most our of the Interwebs. You’re just this faceless company, a fortress, with web offerings that are, more and more, not what I want or need. I don’t see you sponsoring or participating in things like AIR events by Knowbility.

Who are you, Yahoo? How are you going to let me know who you are? Woo me, Yahoo. Woo me.