Category: Web

Crowdfunding: Things I Wish I’d Been Told Before Bothering to Try

I’m currently running a crowdfunding project for another site of mine.

It’s actually my second attempt at crowdfunding for the same web site. The first one was to get the site launched with the best start possible, and while it garnered a lot of support it only managed to reach half of the target amount. I was able to launch the site anyway, and it’s done very well in the six months it’s been up.

Continue reading Crowdfunding: Things I Wish I’d Been Told Before Bothering to Try

Fishing For A Friend

Time for some web site promotion. But unlike wannabe Perez Hiltons and self-important webloggers, I wouldn’t promote a web site (being paid or not) unless I thought it was any good.

The site is one I’ve used on and off for quite a while, called Fishing For A Friend. It’s exactly as it suggests: a web site where you can potentially make friends with people, based on hobbies and interest (and perhaps location). As far as I know it’s designed for people in the UK, but I would imagine there are people from other parts of the world.

The major difference between Fishing For A Friend and other web sites of this nature is the lack of heavy emphasis on photos, which puts the emphasis back on what a person is actually about. There’s no “profiles with pics get 3444532434 times more responses”, just raw information. It’s a blow to people who make friends based on looks, but who wants to be friends with those people anyway.

I’m promoting this web site because I had the opportunity to meet with the site’s founder, as well as a few other members in and around London, and they seem like a good bunch. I also like the direction of the web site and what it’s about, and wanted to help however I could to promote it.

Bad UX: Discarding Form Data

I promise I will add examples of good UX in the near future. But first, I want to address one of my biggest pet peeves online…

JobSite’s login form is guilty of a particular crime that several other web sites’ forms are guilty of. Basically, if you try to sign in to the site and just happen to get your email address or password wrong:

You’ve guessed it: both fields are empty when you’re told so. It makes sense for the password field, but my complaint is with the other, plain-text fields – in this case, the email address field.

Why is this a problem?

First of all, JobSite’s login form comes populated with your email address (if you’re a member already, or you accessed the site from a link in one of their newsletters), so it makes no sense to “forget” it if you get your password wrong.

Second, because the email address field is empty, a lot of time is wasted filling in the email address again. Worse still, the clearing of the field suggests that the email address was wrong – so a lot of time could be wasted in trying to guess the correct email address. Usually the problem is simply a small typo.
The only quick option then is to request a new password (or if security was an afterthought, retrieve the actual password) by guessing which email address was used to register.

Believe it or not, this doesn’t just happen with poorly conceived and poorly implemented login forms. I’ve seen the same thing happen with registration forms on various web sites (most of them fly-by-night), where one small omission will present you with a completely emptied form – meaning you’ll have to type in every single bit of information over. Unfortunately I can’t provide any examples off the top of my head.

The moral of the story: if you don’t want your web developers hunted down in cold blood, please think about how you implement your forms. If there’s an error with the data the user is submitting, try to keep as much of that information available the next time.