Thursday, March 02, 2006

my BUR of Awasu Japanese feed scraper

To show a little "transparency" (blog core value #3 in my list), I think I'll open a little window into my manic hyperspeed obsession world.

Here's one of probably hundreds, maybe thousands, but who's counting?...of my simple little web usability micro-analyses. I call them BURs, or Basic/Brief Usability Reviews. I give them out free, whenever the spirit moves me, and my carpal tunneled neck allows me.

This one is for my favorite RSS/Atom Feed Aggregator/Reader/Scraper, the awesome Awasu of Japan. I published it as a comment in the Developer Weblog page of the site, which is not labeled effectively. See if you agree with my remarks, after you visit the site.

BURs are slapdash, rushed, hurried, manic, like all web surfers and blog readers. We must find things quickly and easily, no matter what the web designer may whine in protest ("If it is too simple, the site will offend and repulse fellow geeks, it will be dumbed down and my design colleagues will make fun of me." To which I say, BULL! Sites are developed for users, not for design accolades, which are incestuous anyway.)


Taka [Awasu lead developer] or whoever is reading this, I have no complaints about your Feed Reader, but a ton of suggestions for vastly improving your website. This is NOT a slur against C-Squared, but just the humble gropings of a veteran web usability analyst, IT consultant, blogologist, and ad guy.

I will provide all my ideas to you for free, but I would welcome a small cash payment if my suggestions, when implemented, result in measureable results for Awasu.

Here are just a few enhancements for you to seriously and immediately consider:

(1) Contact/About page are standard features. I see no email address, but, like all users, I am in a hurry. I do Brief Usability Reviews (BURs) of sites, as though I were a hurried and rushed reader. Where is your email addy, or at least a web form with hidden address?

(2) Do you have a tab on main page of site that says "Awasu Developer Blog"? Is that what this page is? Is it clearly labeled as such?

(3) Link buttons do not exist. Come on friend, all software platforms offer HTML code users can highlight and copy and paste into their blog sidebars to *advertise* you, and to *drive traffic* to the site. I tried to create my own clickable button, but when I right click the Awasu banner graphic, no "save image as" appears.

(4) All smart companies use a "Spread _____" site, as in "SpreadFirefox", as a way to harnass and channel the enthusiasm of your loyal, ecstatic users. I have about 12 websites I could put your ads on, for free to you! But you have no ads or graphic link buttons. Tsk tsk. I have a text link to Awasu in my Vaspers the Grate sidebar, under Blog Tools. But I want more from you, to spread the contagion about the value and ease and super scraper capabilities of the phenomenal Awasu.

My neck hurts. thata's all for now. sorry. Ping me. ;^)


1 comment:

steven edward streight said...

I copy and paste my ongoing discussion with Taka here:

Taka Says:
March 3rd, 2006 at 7:17 am
>>> Where is your email addy, or at least a web form with hidden address?

The email link is in the navbar on the left of every page. We considered a web form but since we hate using them, we didn’t want to inflict them on others.

The preferred means of communication is via the forums.

>>> Do you have a tab on main page of site that says “Awasu Developer Blog”?

The DevLog is still experimental (I was going to emphasize that in the announcement but forgot). Once it’s settled down and proved itself useful, we’ll make it more visible in the site and add it to the auto-discovery links.

>>> Link buttons are available here but we haven’t yet started really promoting them yet.

Thanks for the feedback. Keep it coming!

steven e streight aka vaspers the grate Says:
March 3rd, 2006 at 7:35 am
You rock…HARD! You astonish me with your swift, complete, and polite replies. Dude, I want to promote the heck out of you. And I shall.

My dear friend, Link Buttons are of HUGE importance. Please do yourself a favor, *promote* them! We bloggers love link buttons. They are a status symbol, they even psychologically transfer credibility back and forth.

A credible, popular blog lends credibility to an ad or link button, and vice versa. Which is precisely why I have just yesterday started adding prestigious ads and Amazon Associates sidebar promos.

Thanks, Taka!

steven e streight aka vaspers the grate Says:
March 3rd, 2006 at 7:38 am
Sorry, Taka, speaking as usability guy, that tiny envelope is subtle, geeky, but just too underwhelming. Remember this always: web surfers are in a heated hurry, rushing around, foraging for relevant or interesting/entertaining content. And when they want to know who the heck you are, and how to contact you, the site owner, as well as the webmaster, they want a fast, easily recognized widget.

The web norm is About Us page and Contact page, as distinct items (objects) in the sidebar or wherever you choose to put them.

Do you have a Search This Site text entry box? I don’t think I saw one.

Taka Says:
March 3rd, 2006 at 7:39 am
Yes, you’re right. We’re all techies here and all that PR stuff is not really our thing, something of a necessary evil

I’ll tighten everything up and then start plugging the buttons.

Thanks for the poke in the ribs

steven e streight aka vaspers the grate Says:
March 3rd, 2006 at 7:39 am
OOops…you do have a Search Site box. Sorry. I’m moving too fast here. slow down stevie boy.


Taka Says:
March 3rd, 2006 at 7:43 am
>>> that tiny envelope is subtle, geeky, but just too underwhelming.

This was a deliberate decision since we wanted to encourage people to use the forums rather than email. However, it’s probably time to have another ponder over this.

steven e streight aka vaspers the grate Says:
March 3rd, 2006 at 7:45 am
Taka, I went to the Buttons page. This could be presented a wee bit better, my friend. First, I see some little buttons down there at the bottom. So I have to right click the button image, and “save image as” them? Then paste the image code and the img src code into my blog template?

I strongly suggest you look at the way Firefox does this, or Odeo. Evan Williams’ Odeo podcast buttons come in many shapes, sizes, colors, wording.

Users simply highlight the code, paste code into blog template, and the button appears. Are you trying to avoid hosting the image on your server? This is okay, I guess, but I don’t know anyone else, offhand, who does this.

Link Buttons can be a tremendous way to increase traffic to your site.

Your thoughts?