Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Web Secret #331:

I have spent the past 4 months binge watching Mad Men, House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black, and more.

How did I find the time to do this?

I didn't quit my job. Or decrease the amount of time I spend sleeping.

I simply stopped reading. I stopped reading "The New York Times," (except to do the crossword puzzle,) novels or non-fiction of any kind.

I am becoming illiterate. I need help.

Millennials don't angst over this type of problem.

My 20 year old son suggested an antidote:

Medium is a website brought to you by those guys who created Twitter. I'll let them explain it: "Medium is a new place on the Internet where people share ideas and stories that are longer than 140 characters and not just for friends."

For the person with a short attention span, Medium tells you up front how long it will take you to read one of their published stories. For example, a very interesting essay like "How to Know Everyone - a roadmap for professional relationship management" is supposed to take you 11 minutes. Honestly, these days I am mostly reading 2 minute stories.

But I feel less guilty. I read something.

Now for the person attempting to write a story, Medium is, quite frankly, a nightmare.

It has what the experts at Web Sites that Suck call "Mystery Meat Navigation."

As I quickly discovered, Medium's minimalist interface is, well, so minimal that you could spend hours on the site trying to figuring out how to do just about anything.

I dare you to figure out:
  • what Medium is. There is no "About" section. Right this minute I can't even remember how I figured this out. I may never be able to duplicate it again.
  • how to login or create an account. Turns out you click on the "M" in the right hand corner. Intuitive - not.
  • where to write a story. When you go to write a story, there is a helpful title prompt. I typed in a title and then tried to figure out where the field was to write the story. I waited for a sign. I clicked frantically in various empty spaces around my title. I almost gave up. Then I pressed "enter." That's what I was supposed to do. Intuitive? No.
  • how to publish a story. Once I wrote a story, I couldn't immediately figure out how to publish it. It turns out you have to click on a symbol "<" located in the right hand corner of the site to get to a button that says "publish." That's just not OK. How can anyone be expected to think "<" means publish?
  • how to find your story once it's published. So after I clicked publish, I decided to find my story "Blurred Lines - it's not just a song." It had vanished. Turns out you click the "M" and you can type the title in a query box. Oh.
  • how to find the "right drawer menu." Medium claims "If you slide open your right drawer menu, you can change how your story will be presented in reading lists and search results." Problem is I never found the "right drawer menu." I've never even heard of a "drawer menu" as a concept. I have given up finding the "right drawer menu."
Don't think for a minute that I am alone in my perplexity. The FAQ section of Medium, is full of missives from angry, desperate and confused users of the site begging for direction.

I would direct you there but I can't remember how.

1 comment:

  1. I don't have any problems with Medium. The slide out navigation is widely used and I find it perfectly understandable. The front page has a "learn more" button smack dab in the middle. The "write a new story" button is on the upper right hand side. Your published stories are accessible from your profile. They appear at the top of your list of recommended stories. The right drawer menu is just a slide-out as used on a lot of apps like Yojimbo, Devonthink and lots of websites. It's true that the navigation is not set out in what might be thought as a conventional way but that is the whole point. To remove clutter as much as possible. A couple of minutes clicking around should tell most people what is what. personally, I like the platform. I think it's ironic that the site you refer to "Web Sites That Suck" is itself hardly a great example of web design. In fact it's pretty awful.