What Kind of Idiots Design Websites?

It seems that Goodreads has been working on a new look for its front page, and the results were rolled out today. So what we have now is a front page that’s not only more cluttered with features I have absolutely no interest in, cramming so much into the same space means that the text is now uncomfortably small. Yes, I can increase the size, and if I’m lucky, Firefox will remember it and keep the same setting, but why do designers think that most users have perfect 20/20 vision?

In an all too typical case of insult added to injury, it’s pretty much impossible to comment on the changes, even though there’s an invitation to do so. On the page describing the changes, comments are closed, and were never open, since there aren’t any comments. You can take the survey, but can’t add any comments to expand on the choices they give you. There’s a link to a feedback discussion thread, but you have to sign up for the discussion group. In other words, it’s pretty much shut up and accept what we gave you.

There are plenty of complaints in that discussion, one of which I especially sympathize with, since I’ve avoided anything to do with their recommendation system. Now, they will be shoving books in my face that I have no interest in, and Goodreads apparently was quite adamant during the ongoing discussion during development, that we would not have the option to hide it, or any of the other features. Other unwelcome additions are a “Want to read” at the head of every friend’s review, a selection of my own “Want to read” choices, as if I can’t find them on my own. And obviously, shoving them in my  face is just another way of “recommending” that I buy something. Do I give a crap about their “featured” group? Nope, but it’s there.

Make no mistake, the changes are about Amazon selling more books, not about what Goodreads members do or don’t want.


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