Friday, December 12, 2008

Sometimes good User Experience means ignoring sanity

Found on Launchpad's "register a project" page, this was one of four FAQ-ish bullet points:
  • Requesting Ubuntu CDs is done at shipit.ubuntu.com
    (this may sound weird to you, but a lot of people register projects asking for CDs!)
I think this is a practical solution to a real, if insane, problem.  Nice touch on the button, too.

1 comment:

Cory said...

Someone is bound to wonder why I consider this so insane, given the level of insanity that is perfectly normal when users use software, and of which I am abundantly aware. Here's why:

Registering a project to ask for CDs requires a cognitive failure on three different levels all at once:

* launchpad.net is not ubuntu.com. I'm not sure how you even end up at launchpad.net if you're looking to acquire ubuntu. None of the following google searches has a launchpad link in the top 5: "ubuntu", "ubuntu cds", "download ubuntu", or "download ubuntu cds".

* "Register a project" isn't that easy to find. I know because I just did it. Once you get there, it's the fifth item in a list, and "register a project" doesn't sound anything like "download ubuntu", although I can kind of see the word "register" might set off a bell for people who don't yet understand open source software.

* Registering a project requires you to fill out a BUNCH of stuff which looks nothing like a software registration form if you are reading the labels, and, how the hell can you fill out a form if you aren't reading the labels? I'm used to users not reading text on FAQ pages and instructions and such, users pretty much regard text on web pages as decoration. But you have to read a form to fill it out, don't you? How else would you know if you filled in what they asked for?

And in order for this to rise to the level where the above bullet is required.. this has to have happened many times.