26 September 2014

Ello improvements

Chris Reimer asks:

What needs to functionally improve here at Ello to make it a player?

I reply:

  1. Long text posts should be more legible. That means can the cool monospaced font, and display shorter text line widths. So much of the visual design of this site is crisp and nice, but this one aspect is fussy, twee, and a genuine usability hurdle. Why write something here when I can have it legible on my blog?
  2. Replies to posts are confusing. How do I know when there's a reply to something I've said? Right now I've opened posts of my own and discovered to my surprise that there were comments I hadn't seen! I presume that this is a result of bugginess of the feature as designed.
  3. Threads of discussions/replies are confusing. They seem to be in reverse-chronological order. Usually. So clarify that. I suspect this is also a bug, rather than design.
  4. Some kind of solution for an equivalent to re-sharing / re-tweeting. Maybe. On the one hand, I itch to re-share cool images I see here, and to make other folks' posts here available on the feed of people who follow me. On the other hand, re-sharing encourages meme bullshit. So this is a consequential decision about what this tool is actually meant to do.
  5. Linked feeds. I'd sure like a way to have either my Tweets show up here or the ability to easily tweet the presence of Ello posts. It's probably a good idea to do one but not the other. Which to do and which not to is a strategic decision about what this thing is going to be. :^)
  6. A big one for adoption: some kind of network import. The best would be to import FB contacts. G+ or Twitter contacts would also be good.
  7. Another for adoption, particularly important now while the network is growing: suggested Friends, based on simple "three of your Friends are also Friends with this person" logic.
  8. More feed lists. The Friends/Noise list pair is, to my mind, the coolest part of Ello — of course you want a different format for your short list and your long list! -- but if your network is complex enough, you need more lists than that. (Including, if you have a few lists, an automatically managed "All".)
  9. Strong Block tools. This has been much discussed.
  10. A crystal clear plan for privacy. Now the current Everything Is Public protocol is actually not too bad: it has a huge advantage in simplicity and clarity, but it obviously radically fails a lot of people. But it is probably better to introduce a system for privacy, and less important than exactly what the privacy rules are (though I have ideas, of course) is that they are absolutely crystal f%$#ing clear. The Lesson Of Facebook is that it's bad if users are unclear about what is visible to whom. Make it impossible to get confused.
  11. Provide permalinks for comments.

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