So, as we all know, Pinterest is blowing up like the fourth of July. Similarly, so is Fab. What’s the secret to their success? It’s their design pattern.
You know, the thumb grid. The thumb grid and nothing else. This pattern sets off such a euphoria in users, I’m shaking my head as to why us web people didn’t put it together sooner.
My assumptions on why this pattern works:
- People don’t want to read
- People love photos
- Most importantly: People love thumbnail grids because it breaks from a linear pattern of consumption.
Linear Pattern of Consumption
In a grid, you can dart side to side, top to bottom to consume the same amount of information as you would by viewing everything in a straight line. But there’s one key difference. When you move in such an erratic pattern, your brain can’t remember if it’s consumed all the content. What this means is that you can never mark a page, or, more importantly, a section of time, done.
A section of time? When you go on facebook or twitter, you check to see what you’ve missed based on a section of time, usually since the last time you signed in. You usually remember the last post you saw, and then move through the timeline until you’ve consumed all posts after the last. Then, your brain marks it done. You close the window. You want to return. (How many times have you closed facebook and immediately opened a new tab and started typing “facebook.com?” How many?) But you stop. You know you’ve seen all there is to see, and you know that to see a fresh burst of content, you must wait.
But oh no, productivity be dammed, I want more photos. I need more cats. Enter the thumb grid. Linearity is gone. Your brain tries to mark what is consumed/not-consumed, and but eventually it gives up. There is no done. There is no mercy. And no matter what, when you want to log back on, there’s always going to be something new, and a lot of it.
A smattering of screenshots to hammer this home:
One last thing
They also did away with something I’ve suspected has been worthless for a long time: sidebars.
For example(from nytimes.com), no one is paying attention to this:
Full disclosure: Fab.com is a customer of my employer, RJMetrics.
Recently, I found a great way to explain twitter to older people. It’s Seinfeld.
Seinfeld was so popular because they’d take something ordinary that you thought no one else thought about (like double dipping) and make you aware that, “Oh my god someone else thinks this!”
That feeling that you get inside, when you realize you’re not alone in the world, and you know that people are just are crazy as you, is intoxicating. And if you’re really honest with yourself, you know that’s why you can’t stop checking twitter.
My grandfather, amazingly, has never seen Seinfeld. To him, my explanation is, “Twitter is Jewish people fighting over marble rye.”
Let me start this off by saying that nothing in particular triggered this post. That’s how much I hate WYSIWYGs. I was literally eating pizza and enjoying Ancient Aliens when my disdain for text editors shot out of my brain like a microwave-beam-emitting pyramid.
Where do I begin?
By this point in your life you’ve probably had some experience with a What You See Is What You Get editor. Do you remember your first time? Like any new love affair, you’d become so intoxicated with the sheer possibilities that laid before you that any blatant red flag was easily ignored. There were SO. MANY. BUTTONS.
But soon enough, you’re eating TV dinners and watching America’s Got Talent in silence. It’s not you it’s me…actually it is you.
“No, you cannot set the font of one paragraph (and only one paragraph) on your site to Papyrus… I will end you.”
In my experience with content management systems, you’re going to run into two kinds of users. The people who know HTML and
run ruin shit, and the people who have no freaking clue what they’re doing. And I don’t mean what they’re doing with text editors, I’m talking about using the internet in general. As it turns out, the only people who can use WYSIWYGs properly are the people who don’t need them.
From the first group, you’ll probable stumble upon the damage they’ve done after an emergency phone call at 2am on a Saturday, pop into HTML mode and…my god:
They modified the HTML? They seem know what HTML does but have no clue about the syntax… camelCase? How could this be? The anchor tag is finished, but was never started… Good use of of both <b> and <strong> tags for extra effectiveness. And of course, a browser-compromising piece of trojan glory I’ve come to expect.
What’s funny is that upon asking the user what happened to achieve such substantially FUBARed markup they’ll feign a blackout like they’ve been shotgunning Four Lokos for days. This never ceases to amaze me.
But, I wanted to see what I’d get!
Sure you did. But riddle me this, have you ever actually saw what you would get? Or were you just ecstatic that you could add inline images without ever having to decipher an <img> tag. Think long and hard before you answer that. I’m almost convinced that the sole point of these editors from Satan is to make it easy to place a picture of a cat next to text about said cat. SAD REALIZATION: The internet was made for cats, and cat-related nonsense.
Someone said there would be cake…
Solution: One WYSIWYG to rule them all (There was a point to this post)
WYMeditor In my opinion, this one is the only wysiwyg that makes me not want to abandon them entirely. Namely, for the ability to set predefined classes so your users can pick the different styles from a list, but have no control over futzing them or inventing new ones. And yea, it’s got the bare minimum toolbar that resembles Word 97. Because we got that on lock.
Who is this for? No, seriously, what user is using all the TinyMCE features? Or even half of them.
Real Solution: In 2nd grade, teach everyone Markdown instead of Cursive. #WeDontNeedNoPalmerMethod
OMFG markdown is so easy it hurts. In my opinion, people should be taught markdown in 2nd grade and HTML in 2nd and a half grade. That way, they’ve got a good 20 years of experience before they start causing mayhem in the real world.
This post was written in markdown, and it was delightful. Now back to alien Egypt.