Usability – KISS

I’ve been enjoying CBC Radio’s Spark program that looks at technology and culture. The host, Nora Young, is knowledgeable and runs a great show. I pick it up on air from time to time and have downloaded a podcast or two.

As I was listening today, I heard that there was a wiki for sharing information and ideas so I thought I’d give it a try. The site is built on SocialText, which is an enterprise class system, probably good to be able to scale up as needed. I registered and added my two cents worth on one of the wiki pages. I found the interface confusing and got frustrated a couple of times when menus would pop up that made no sense to me. Now, I’m a fair bit of a web geek and am usually comfortable poking around these systems. I wonder what the more mainstream Web surfers do when they try to add comments here?

If you want people to really get involved in the conversation, you have to make it dirt-simple to do so. That’s one reason I don’t have captchas or membership requirements on this blog. I really like getting comments and feedback, so I keep it simple.

Update: Here’s the wiki I was commenting on. Craig Hubley’s comments after mine are worth reading.

4 Responses to “Usability – KISS”

  1. Heather Ross

    I tried out SocialText for use in collaborating between our course designers. My opinion of it was the same as yours. In the end I decided that Wikispaces, PBWiki and later WetPaint would all do what we needed for a fraction of the cost of SocialText (all three offer free versions).

  2. Daniel Lemire

    I agree. SocialText has some unique feature, like a good integration with email, however it seems that all of the various features are thrown together without much thought.

    My gut feeling? The source code must be a giant piece of ugliness.

  3. GrahamClarkAustralia

    Thanks for the link to CBC Radio’s Spark program. Where do I start? There are so many interesting podcasts I can hardly wait to get started. Not only that but the Spark page contains some great links which really resonated with me. I checked out World Changing and was absolutely blown away by what they’re doing. So much reading to do… Thanks, again.

  4. Dave F.

    My experience is that it’s hard enough to get people to use ordinary wikis, especially if they want to do any kind of formatting. So placing additional barriers to accomplishment doesn’t seem promising.


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