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Don’t Give Your Users Shit Work


via Zach Holman

Some people still like shit work. They can spend an hour moving Twitter accounts to special Lists, and then at the end of it look back and say “Boy, I spent an hour doing this. I really accomplished a lot today!” You didn’t. You did shit work.

It’s great that Facebook finally got user lists right: they’re smart, useful and respectful of users’ time. Google+ makes it tough for users to get started by requiring them to add friends to circles. I don’t want to do that (and definitely not at first), I just want it to work. Which is why I’m still not really active on Google+. Twitter’s implementation of lists is ok, in that I can still follow people I want and not be forced to think about making a list.

While the article references how social networks integrate lists, there are so many other ways users get stuck with menial tasks. Filling out forms, categorizing information, phone trees, etc. etc. It’s boring and I’d rather be doing more interesting things (read: checking out funny photos of cats).

Things are looking up though. Our mobile devices are handling organizing our music, photos and documents, so we don’t have to worry about where/how we store all our little things if we don’t want to. We need more things trending in this direction.

How can we help this, as it relates to building apps and websites? Build things with the user in mind. They’re busy and don’t appreciate their time being wasted. They just want to get in and get out, so help them along the way as best you can.