1. 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…