Why I hate the Delicious extension for Google Chrome

Posted December 16, 2010 in ephemera, user centred design  |  8 Comments so far

(Edit: less than nine hours after I posted this article, Yahoo! announced plans to shut down Delicious. I guess there’s a reason why people call Yahoo! the place good ideas go to die)

If you haven’t heard of Delicious, all you need to know is that it stores your bookmarks on the web. This is handy because you can access them from anywhere and share them with other people.

Delicious used to be pretty exciting. Social bookmarking, tagging, RSS feeds – the potential seemed mind-boggling. But then Yahoo! bought it and it started losing its edge. Nowadays there isn’t much excitement about Delicious, but it’s still useful.

One thing that makes Delicious particularly useful is the availability of various browser extensions. These extensions put a little button on your browser, allowing you to add and tag a page really, really quickly. Because it’s quick to add a page, you find yourself adding more pages – and the more pages you add, the more useful Delicious becomes.

I use the Delicious extension for Google Chrome quite a lot, but I think I hate it. Here’s what it looks like:

So you click on the “tag” button, ¬†and then this appears:

So far so good. But when you use this several times a day, you’ll notice some annoying and even hateworthy things about it.

The first thing is that it has no persistence. If you’ve typed a brief, witty description of the page in the Notes field, and then carefully selected some tags to go with it, you don’t really want to go through that process again. But if you accidentally click outside the extension, that’s precisely what you’ll have to do – because it forgets what you’ve entered! Having to re-enter stuff I’ve already typed isn’t something I enjoy, even when it’s a relatively small amount of text.

The second thing I hate about it is the placement of the Save and Cancel keys. You’ll notice that Cancel is in the bottom right, which is slightly unconventional – primary actions (Submit, Confirm etc) are usually placed to the right in forms like this. They’re also very close to one another. These two design choices conspire to make it a little bit too easy to hit Cancel by mistake – especially when you’re working quickly. Hitting Cancel closes the extension, meaning that – you guessed it – anything you’ve typed will need to be typed again.

So these are the two reasons why I hate the Chrome extension for Delicious. If it remembered the stuff you typed, however, I would probably love it. This shows how fine a line there is between love and hate in user interface design, or (more likely) how much of a pedant I am about these things…


8 comments so far.  Post a comment

  1. Lindsey
    December 16, 2010 at 10:39 am [ Permalink

    Is that save/cancel reversal universal to Delicious in all extensions? I usually tab down to Save and hit enter, but I agree it is very annoying.

    Still, I find Delicious to be incredibly useful–haven’t really found anything else to replace or better it yet.

  2. December 16, 2010 at 11:25 am [ Permalink

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they swapped the buttons to reduce the risk of people trying to click “Save” but clicking outside the extension instead. That kind of makes sense, but if so it’s an example of unsuccessfully using the UI layer to compensate for more fundamental problems (in this case, the fact that the extension loses user data when closed).

    You’re right about Delicious, nothing can replace it, and it’s pretty essential to me as well. If I didn’t use the extension very frequently, its little UI quirks wouldn’t annoy me so much!

  3. Rfah
    December 16, 2010 at 9:50 pm [ Permalink

    Yeah …. true! .. and the unfortunate thing is that NONE of the Chrome Delicious extensions come anywhere near the Delicious Add-On for Firefox .. IMHO… If only!!

    This glaring weakness with Chrome if forcing me back to Firefox, but I don’t want to go there.

    Well, maybe my ‘domestic blindness’ is preventing me from finding a suitable Delicious Extension for Chrome .. I dunno .. but all of the ones I can source are deficient in a number of annoying ways [alla 'Why I Hate..."].

    Unfortunately I am heavily dependent upon Delicious … Time for someone [Google???] to address this glaring hole, in the market and/or in Chrome.

  4. Rfah
    December 16, 2010 at 10:29 pm [ Permalink

    UPDATE!!

    Well founded rumours suggest that Y! is shutting down Delicious … now that will certainly solve the ‘Chrome Delicious Extension’ dilemma!!

    http://techcrunch.com/2010/12/16/is-yahoo-shutting-down-del-icio-us/

  5. December 16, 2010 at 10:36 pm [ Permalink

    Wow, that’s bad news! I hope their decision wasn’t influenced by my negative comments about the Chrome extension. If so… Yahoo, I didn’t mean it, I promise!

    So what happens next? Surely they’ve got to open source it, like Google did with Wave?

  6. Rfah
    December 20, 2010 at 10:56 am [ Permalink

    Here … this looks like a good replacement for the ‘not so yummy any more’ delicious bookmark manager.

    https://chrome.google.com/extensions/detail/oojbgadfejifecebmdnhhkbhdjaphole

  7. Aidan Whitehall
    February 3, 2011 at 8:07 am [ Permalink

    Some good points. I’d add the lack of the tag suggestions, which I find such a HUGE time-saver in the Firefox version… this small thing in an extension really is dissuading me from adopting Chrome as my default browser. Crazy, but true!

    I’m not sure I follow your comment re: the order of Save & Cancel. Certainly on this PC (Windows XP), every diagloue box has the buttons in the order “OK, Cancel, Apply, Help”, which (to my mind) corresponds with the order of “Save, Cancel” in the Chrome extension. Can you cite your examples in which you see this behaviour?

    Regarding the closure of Delicious, is that still on the cards? This mention alarmed me enough to do a quick Google, but I didn’t find much evidence to substantiate the assertion that it’s an impending move. Perhaps the closure is no longer imminent…?

    BTW, if you have any sort of programmatic control over this blog, may I suggest you allow the “Notify me of following comments via e-mail” checkbox take focus after having tabbed twice from the comments textarea. I instinctively tabbed twice and hit Space, and was surprised by the results. Thanks!

  8. Desmond
    March 11, 2011 at 6:49 pm [ Permalink

    Agreed with Rfah’s statement that the Delicious extension for Chrome completely pales in comparison for the one on Firefox. I like to go back and browse my bookmarks by tags, and I just can’t do that with Chrome. IMHO, the interface for Firefox’s implementation is so much cleaner and better, with the ability to bring up the sidebar with the listing of bookmarks.

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