When a product or service becomes cumbersome, users stop using it unless they are forced to use it (Microsoft Office 2007 is a fine example of being forced to use something). I am a big fan of having little programs or services to do things, but more often than not, using the program or service becomes cumbersome, and I dump it or simply stop using it when I find something less cumbersome.
Take Delicious, for example. I got a Delicious account four years or more ago, and saved all my bookmarks there, presumably for ease of use as I traveled between different PC’s and desktops. I work with two desktops and one laptop at work, and at home a laptop and one desktop share my workload. It was frustrating to have different sets of bookmarks on five different machines, not to mention that when I went to work on someone else’s machine, all the bookmarks I normally coasted to were not available to me. So Delicious was the answer.
That is, if I could remember exactly where to place the dots in del.ic.io.us in the address bar. That was the first straw for me, in a long line of straws that saw me using it less and less, until I realized I hadn’t logged into it for a year. All I wanted was a place to save bookmarks out in the ether, where I could easily access them from whatever pc I happened to be sitting at. I didn’t need to share them, tag them, sort them, or do anything else with them. Just wanted a list of my bookmarks where I could get to them, easily and quickly. I ended up starting a locked personal blogspot account where I could put links in an ongoing post that I update over and over with new links. It’s the easiest way for me to get to what I need. No bells, no whistles, limited choices and decisions to make.
I’m simple like that. I want a clean interface, a clean experience, just get me to the meat and potatoes of what I want. It is one of the reasons I use Open Office for my personal work, and for about half my business-related work. We are forced to use Microsoft Office 2007 for internal communication, but for much of what I do externally, I stick with Open Office, which gives me a quick, clean interface with all the tools right at my fingertips and no guessing about where they moved page settings or print settings. It is why I use the dumbed down versions of many pieces of software, including CoffeeCup FTP for moving files to my server, an ancient version of HotMetal Pro for creating html files, and more. The simpler the better. I am not fond of navigating through what I don’t need to get to what I do need.
Delicious could be a better product. I’m a fan of widgets that work simply, like the one from quanp.com (drag and drop to the widget on the screen). If Delicious had such a widget, I’d probably use it. But for now, my little blogspot blog will have to do as a simple way to get my bookmarks to a place where I can use them.