Armen Chakmakjian

Features designed by geeks…

In iPad, Science Fiction on June 28, 2010 at 4:18 am

So I have a kindle (as you may know).  I love my kindle, but there are some days that this product reminds me of the latter days of the Palm handhelds (not the phones…think back before they bought handspring).

So Amazon comes out with a new set of features 2 of which I had waited for

  1. Pan and Zoom on PDF files
  2. Sharing (aka social media sharing)

So for Pan and Zoom, they did a good job given the hardware constraints.  you kind of use the same key to adjust the size that you do for the fonts, and then you pan with the joystick.  Works pretty well.  But this is a feature, while necessary, completely fails the easy to use test except for the people who design things like this.  You have to go to 2 different places on the keyboard and use the toggle to do several things.

I guess my main gripe is really the toggle. It’s such a goofy and inexact way of (probably) getting around violating someone’s patent on a touchpad for the product.  However, like I said, the feature allows you to do pan and zoom on pdf, so I figured it out and I’ll use it.

For the other feature, clip and share (or whatever they call it), from a kindle hw use model they nailed it correctly.  You use an existing known feature (highlighting) and then you give the user a choice (near the bottom of the screen) to share it.  The setup for facebook and twitter was easy but slightly slow because you have to do it on the awkward keyboard on the kindle.   Once you are done you go to the thing you are reading, and in this case it was the Atlantic Monthly Magazine which I subscribed to on the Kindle, and you highlight something.

Well, here’s where they goofed.  On Facebook (as you can see in the photo) , you get to see your personal comment, but there is no indication what article the clip was from (unless you type it in yourself).   You do see the Magazine.  However, the bulk of a text says Amazon Kindle twice in different ways, tells you that you’ve sent it to Facebook (well DUH!) and since you’ve got no indication what this is, I doubt anyone (but myself) has actually clicked on the link because they won’t know what this is.

On Twitter, it’s even worse.  Here given the 140 character limit, you’d think they wouldn’t waste space.  Every website that allows sharing, puts a little “wsj.com -” and then the title of the article and then a shortened url (bit.ly or whatever).  Not Amazon.  Look at the clip below from tweetdeck.  It says nothing!  it has just my text and an amazon URL and no indication what work the clipping was from.  OH, and an #Kindle hashtag.  you have no idea that this is an article from Atlantic.  All you know is that this is a link and that I have made an editorial comment.  I mean you could have put a hashtag for #Atlantic or something…

I don’t know, this feature doesn’t seem correct to me.  It looks like amazon has spent time trying to make sure that someone can get to the clip, they haven’t figured out how to tell someone WHY they should go.  Usually the why is Work & ArticleTitle and my editorial comment.

Anyway.  That’s my brain dump for this evening.

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