@gnowgi is always encouraging us (rightfully) to post on Stemgames where our posts can be seen and commented upon by everyone instead of posting on just Telegram with its much more limited audience and a lack of accessible archive of posts. So that got me thinking, why we do what we do. Either Stemgames is more difficult or Telegram is easier (or both) leading to more friction posting on Stemgames and less friction here. This could easily make for a scientific experiment whose results we could post on… ahem… on… github (?). So, here goes –
posting on telegram (all actions starting from zero)
- click on Telegram icon
- click on Glab group icon
- hit enter
posting on Stemgames
- click on Safari
- type stem (Safari fills in the rest)
2a. close that big yellow banner that pops up everytime encouraging me to download the app but somehow forgets that I closed it the last time and don’t want it back
- click on big blue + sign
- type a topic heading (this could be the biggest hurdle)
- choose a category
- select and delete that encouraging but useless text about what kind of activity to post today
- type something (took me 7 steps to reach Telegram’s 3rd step)
- hit done and then be scolded that the title must be atleast 15 chars and the post must be at least 20 chars
- change the title and the post (big hurdles)
- click done
Friction in software design must be one of the most overlooked characteristics. There is some reason a billion people can use WhatsApp without any training but can’t use a banking app (even for just checking on their balance).
By the way, I clicked “cancel” on my initial test post on Stemgames instead of actually posting it, I was prompted whether I wanted to abandon it or not. The motive is to help, but becomes overbearing in use.
And, the process gets even more complicated if I want to post images. With Telegram, I just drag a photo from my Photos app onto the Telegram app and done! Telegram even auto-resizes the photo so it is small and not full res which is just a waste of bandwidth. With Stemgames, I have to go through a bunch of shenanigans before the images goes up. And all 3200 pixels of it, even though almost everyone will only see it in 800 or 960 px width.
There have been several (more serious) studies about the impedance afforded by having to think up of a title for a document before typing what we want to type. Case in point, the legion of “untitled.doc”, “untitled-1.doc”, “untitled-2.doc” littering our hard disks. After all, when we write on a piece of paper, we don’t have to first write a title. The act of thinking of a title is such a big cognitive commitment that we just give up or bypass it.
So, the invention of digital notebooks (such as Microsoft One Note and Apple Notes app) which don’t ask for a title – they just make one up for you. Unfortunately, they have to usually then store these notes in a database and not in files, because the filesystem requires a
title name. Thinking up of a name for a file is just as difficult if not more so than thinking up of a title because of the restrictions imposed by the OS. We win some, we lose some.