I’ve been struggling to explain SFW interface to people.
Which is weird. Because I actually think the interface is one of the stronger features. I have come to wish I could surf the web in SFW instead of say Chrome. It solves a bunch of issues Ted Nelson tried to solve but more elegantly and with less fluff, and stops much of the nasty fraying of our focus the browser saddles us with.
So am I crazy? Inreasingly, it looks like that may be the case.
But it’s funny, I was just pasting a web video into a post, and let’s look at how that looks.
Go to the YouTube page. (How do I know where that is?)
Search for the YouTube you want. Go to the page. (OK).
Click on it. (The Google link) Yes, the Google link.
(Even though there’s a video link above me). Either one. Just get to a video.
Are you on the page? (Yes.) OK, look under the video, there’s a little “share” link.
(How would I guess that that’s where I put a video in a blog?) Because I’m telling you now.
Click on share, then click on embed. (What does embed mean?) It doesn’t matter, click on it.
Select that text in there. Now press Control-C. (Huh?) Control and C at the same time.
(Oh. How on earth would I know that?) Because I told you. Oh wait. Shoot. Put in your size first.
(What size?) 480 width by 320 height.
(Which box is which?) Width is always first.
(How do you know that?) I just do. Now control-A
(How did you know the dimensions?) They just work well.
Now browse back to the tab with your post. (I closed that, sorry.) OK, re-open it.
(Do I log in again?) Yes. (I forgot my password). Click the forgot password link, and get your password.
(OK, firing up email). Ok. Waiting. (Ok, I’m in.)
Browse to the post you were making. (OK). Click “Text” instead of Visual. (OK I see a bunch of garbage).
Does it look like your post? (Yes).
Find where you want to paste it and click Control-V. (OK, it pasted my password in there).
Um. (Is this because I right-click copied my password from my WordPress invite email?)
Yes, maybe. Probably. (Right click copy and control-C go to the same place?)
Yes. (Is this in documentation somewhere? Why isn’t this documented?)
I’m sure it is, somewhere. OK, go back to the YouTube video. Click share, then embed. Set the dimensions. Control-C.
Then back to your blog. Paste it in. Click the tab to visual. Ready?
We do the copy method, because after initial difficulty, copy-pasting ends up being an incredibly quick way to put together a blog post — you copy-paste an embed, but you can also use the technique on URLS and the like.
I’ve tried other blogging products that are more user-friendly in the first sixty minutes, and I’ve always come back to the copy-paste method. Specialized ways to do these sorts of things up your productivity in your first sixty minutes by killing that productivity in your post-sixty minutes work. That’s a good trade for a website, but a lousy trade for a tool.
The question is always what sort of problem is it? Problems that appear sporadically (setup, settings, etc) should be brain-dead easy. Things you do every day should be efficient and flexible, and ideally tie coherently into an overall model of use. The test of the interface is what the average interaction with it feels like.