Stupid Yahoo updates -- 07/24/11

I've been using Yahoo Mail for a long time -- I know I began using it in 1997 within a very short time after it was first made available -- so I have been through a number of so-called "improvements" over the years.

You can call me a Luddite, but I am very reluctant to move to "new, improved" versions of most software. I usually find that there are more annoyances than benefits.

Lotus Notes is one of my pet peeves. Besides all of its other uses (most of which I have no need for), it serves as our email system at work. Most products that run on Windows systems have accepted Microsoft's conventions as to what key does what, etc. so that they have become the defacto standards. Not Lotus. They march to the beat of their own, quite different drummer. Okay, that can be excused (perhaps) but even worse Lotus has a non-intuitive user interface and they seem to just love violating the principle that it is better to have a consistent user interface than to have a user interface change without some overwhelming important reason. I swear, everytime we have to upgrade to a new Notes version, I become less able to use it. They change how things work. They change the icons that make things happen. They change the names of things. The new release probably does everything the previous one did, but the location and the appearance and the label for where you go to make that happen have all been changed. (The fact that they get away with this cavalier attitude about such things is best explained by the realization that the people who have to use a tool and the people who make the purchasing decisions are not necessarily the same people.)

So... back to Yahoo... They have been nagging me everytime I go to open Yahoo mail -- try new improved Yahoo Mail, did I know there was a new Yahoo Mail, oh the new Yahoo Mail has so many cool new features, new improved Yahoo Mail is twice as fast as old Yahoo Mail, etc., etc.

And so I upgraded to their new version.

If you are on my notify list, you may have noticed the difference in the email I sent you about Friday's entry. Usually the URL for the new entry appears in blue and underlined -- indicating that it is a clickable link to that entry. On Friday the URL was in plain text -- and clicking it did not take you to that entry.

In the new and improved Yahoo Mail, URLs will be just like any other text and will not be clickable links unless you jump through some hoops. Oh, yeah, they made it so much "easier"  -- now they've improved it so that all you have to do is:
  • be in Rich Text mode
  • click the button on the format bar that looks like two rounded rectangles slightly overlapping -- is that tiny thing supposed to look like a chain that is two links long to indicate that it does linking? Here is piece of a screen capture with the icon circled -- and it is enlarged quite a bit (it is much smaller on the actual screen)
  • select the text that you want to have linked
  • when a window opens, paste the URL in the window, click on the done button on that window
Yeah, that is so much easier than just pasting the URL into the email and having it automatically be clickable link, the way I used to be able to do it before I went along with Yahoo's request that I upgrade to the latest and greatest and vastly improved version of Yahoo Mail.

Why do companies love to screw up perfectly functional software by adding "features" nobody asked for?

They also changed the way you send mail to a mailing list. I have a mailing list for everyone who asked to receive email announcements of new entries here. I used to set up an email -- address it to myself -- and then go down to BCC (well, it used to be one click but an improvement a year or two back changed that to two clicks), click my address book, then scroll down to find the name of my mailing list for this site and select it. Now, in the improved Yahoo Mail, according to their instructions, to send a note to a mailing list, I have to first open my address book (click Contacts), scroll down and click the name of my mailing list -- which will open up the entire list and I either have to individually select every name on the list (which is what I did yesterday) or find the Select All button and click that -- and only then do I go over to the right pane and select Compose Message. But when I do that, it does not put the list of addresses into the BCC slot. What I have to do is start with Compose Mail, click the + to the right of the BCC line, select the mailing list -- but there is no Select all button here, so I have to check the box in front of each address, scroll down, check the box in front of each address, lather, rinse, repeat... Nice job of quality assurance testing, Yahoo.

If automobile companies used this kind of user interface design work, then one year the turn signals would be on the left side of the steering column and on the right side for the next model year, and then on the back of the rearview mirror for the next year's model. (And for the year after that, there would be a <- icon to the left of the radio and a -> icon on its right that you would have to press to signal a turn.)

I've been watching -- and complaining -- about user interfaces for more than thirty years now, since back in the days when most interfaces were text-based, not GUI. I started my first programming courses in January, 1976 and went on to receive an M.S. in systems science in 1983 with Human Factors Engineering and the Design of Online Computer Application Systems, most of which considered how the design of user interfaces should follow best practices as established by human factors engineering. In other words, I do understand the differences between a well-designed user interface and one that was thrown together without any study or analysis or thought or or professional quality work or careful design involved.

previous entry

next entry

To list of entries for 2011

To Home (Index) page

If you ended up here while searching for Scott Dikker's Jim's Journal comic strip, you need to go here.