Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How many clicks does it take to get through your profile on Facebook?

One of the students from my home institution is quoted in this article. I find it noteworthy that he is 19 and of the "digital generation".

Has our attention span come to this?

Just kidding guys. He has a valid point. How many of us have to deal with software that makes us nuts? No, do not answer that!

We hate it with a passsion. None of us has time for ten clicks to do one thing. Most of us wish we could just plug the machine directly into our brains fuzzy logic and, "make it happen just how we see it." (the Gregginator)

They make testing software like Morae to track clicks and measure the intuitiveness of software. If they really wanted to do us a favor, they would track the "annoyed click".

I bet many of you do not realize this; most voice software for customer service about 10 years ago began investing in ways for the computer to gauge your level of frustration. Vocal tones, how fast you do or do not answer a question,if you are hitting the keys hard, or a hitting a key repeatedly are signals the new software listens to for the computer to get you to a human faster. It knows you are going to implode or go postal any minute. Hint: Hit 0,1 or 9 repeatedly on most voice automated systems to get to customer service faster. Fail to give the expected or standard replies for at least three questions and you go straight to a human!

However, most of the soft ware we use daily does not learn from us. Microsoft et. al. assume we will just do their 200 steps because we are a captive audience. Click harder, triple click, whatever you like and you will not get help!

Course management systems? Do not get me started! They tell you they test these with human beings; I am not sure if I want to meet those human beings. They must have some masochistic tendencies or no free will. These systems can take multiple steps just to EMAIL someone. I takes no less than 6-12 clicks to email from the actual email link in our current LMS. The same applies for posting or replying to a post for a discussion board. Dropbox? Grading? Carpal Tunnel Syndrome America.

Most of us do not mind one or two clicks. Select, Cut, Paste are three easy keystrokes away. But if it takes a series of 10 moves to do something, we might as well be playing a master chess game against Bobby Fischer!

I leave you all with this thought: Life is short, save your clicks for when you are old.

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