Hats

Goddamn I hate websites. “Web 2.0″ is a shitty newfangled term. Have I said that before? Probably more than once, but it’s worth saying again. I hate this shit. So I’m trying out WP.com’s “new” posting page on wordpress.com/#!/post/, and truth be told I hate this interface. It constrains the editing area to less than half of the horizontal screen width… just like Blogger! Except it was very possible to resize Blogger’s posting textarea almost arbitrarily. Things have probably changed by now though. The same actually applies to the older post creation page, but that was filled with visual clutter around the posting textarea which makes the space feel less wasted. Also this seems to insist I use the “visual” editor rather than the “HTML” editor, which isn’t really too bad, just not what I’m used to.

My Unicode input is still broken. And I’m using LXDE at the moment after having logged in to (and out of) Mate earlier. I’m using “earlier” in the very technical sense of occurring in the past, not the layman a-short-while-ago sense, because that happened more than two weeks ago. Apparently logging into Mate at all has magical Ctrl-Shift-U breaking powers. Go figure.

Okay now I want to insert a screenshot into this post, and how do I accomplish that— Eh, I guess that’s what that enticing “Insert Photo” button is for despite what I’m uploading not being a photo at all.
So I click that, and apparently Chromium stalls for a while because the filepicker was waiting for my external drive to spin up. What. Ridiculous, isn’t it? This isn’t really a failing of any website in particular though. I’m guessing Chromium uses some kind of standard GTK filepicker, so let’s blame that for causing unnecessary disk activity and blocking the user interface.

[screenshot]

Okay, now the preamble’s over. Take a look at that screenshot. (I was digging through ln.hixie.ch archives because I was bored, then decided I should go read his newer posts.) Suppose I want to view all the comments in a new tab. What do you suppose I do?

What I describe shall be the point of view of someone who’s been using the Internet for more than half his life but is new to G+. I middle click the doubled downward pointing chevrons. Uh… nothing happens.

Or actually something does happen. The cursor changes into the autoscroll icon. Good interface there.

I try the same on “60 comments”. Same thing happens. Out of exasperation I right click the said text. It shows me the generic context menu. What. Turns out it’s a <span role=”button”>. So, it’s a button, but not quite a <button>. Got that. This same bullshit happens on YouTube, which happens to the one other Google website I (semi-)frequently interact with.

To compound that, just to taunt you (or rather, in this case, me), it shows a very convincing underline when hovered that seems to indicate it’s a vanilla link. Like, you know, the venerable anchor tag. Showing an underline on hover isn’t a default styling for links in just about every browser, but having a style change on hover is usually a sign that something is, in a sense, “clickable”. It is, in this case. It just violates the user expectation that it’s a vanilla link that can be middle-clicked on or has typical context menus. This also applies to YouTube.

The “+1″, share and activity buttons aren’t too relevant to me. I imagine it’s part of that “social networking” fad that’s been ongoing since the inception of the Internet though.

Anyway, to actually open the darned post in a new tab, I have to scroll all the way to the top of the post then find that the date is actually a permalink. Is that what I want? I guess so. Using dates for permalinks has been a pretty common practice for a pretty long time already, so at least this doesn’t violate user (read: my) expectations. It’s still shitty from a UI point of view though.

Why is all this the way it is? Some misguided attempt at being “user friendly”?

I may very well be barking up the wrong tree because tabs are simply not the in thing anymore. Everybody (and their dogs!) wants to treat the web browser as an operating system in and of itself, using their own “window manager” / “desktop environment” and constraining users to doing what they want users to do. Doesn’t that strike as a fair bit of NIH syndrome?

Actually I guess the same thing can be said of tabbed browsing in the first place. Some DEs provide a panel of sorts to switch windows (Windows obviously has this, and it’s called the task bar). Why not double its height and group similar windows together, in a second row? With the tabs-on-top UI of (at least) Firefox and Chrome, this certainly seems to make sense if the panel is already at the top, but I suppose it looks retarded if the panel’s default position is at the bottom where nobody really looks.

Also apparently WP.com doesn’t let me publish this post until it saves a draft of it, and it’s been desperately trying to save a draft ever since I started typing. So I can’t publish it with this new post page.

Now excuse me as I get back to things that both interest me and make me feel overwhelmed with apathy.

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