Where do you talk about Twitter when Twitter is down?

Twitter is down. The problem: I don't have a place to talk about it. My Facebook friends don't care about Twitter. My AIM buddies don't care about Twitter. Only people on Twitter care about Twitter being down. And even worse is that there's a good chance you won't find this post without Twitter, so you won't even read this until Twitter is back.

Here's to complete isolation in the digital age, all thanks to a dumb little addictive website that didn't even exist a couple years ago.


Worst web registration form I've seen in a while

I don't complain about much when it comes to user experience (oh wait, that's not true), but I couldn't pass this up. This is the registration form for CBS 2, a local TV station here in Southern California.
I had originally wanted to post a comment on the news story of a high speed chase about how terrible the television coverage was (they cut to commercials every minute at times, no joke). As it turns out, they require registration to comment. No biggie, I thought. What's one more registration? That's until I got a look at the form...
(scroll down for my analysis below the image)

I can't tell you how many things are wrong with this form. This registration form - to interact with a news website - REQUIRES a security question, a birthday, and...MY HOUSEHOLD INCOME?!?! Not optional; no, they are REQUIRED for registration. Oh, and it also lets me opt in for spam too. I won't even talk about the very large ad bordering the registration form, nor the myriad of font usage.
Now, I understand the need for an ad-based media company to want to be familiar with their demographics, but there needs to be somebody within the organization that stands up to this sort of idiocracy. Just because the ad guys tell you they want all this information doesn't mean you should bow to their every request. Garry Tan pegged it when he said that when "*anyone* makes a product lousier, [designers] should get up and shout, and raise hell."
It's a well-understood principle that the shorter and simpler your registration form is, the more chance the user has of actually filing it out. Even Facebook experimented with an extremely simple signup process. Simplicity is key, and when you make something too complex, people will just leave. When I was greeted by this registration form tonight, I was initially overwhelmed at the amount of information this site wanted, just for me to leave a comment on a news story. As it turns out, I never got around to filling it out. I'm not concerned about my privacy; heck, there is enough information about me out there already. In this case, the amount of effort outweighed the benefit for me.
CBS is not a financial institution, my bank, or my social network. They don't need to be asking my household income or to fill out a security question. Heck, I'm surprised there isn't a field for my social security number.

Moral of the story: If you make a task on a website too difficult to complete, it's going to decrease the number of people who actually do. And in my case, that's what happened.

Best viewed in Internet Explorer 7?!?!

This screenshot is from the footer of the City of Tustin's non-government website.
clip6008536_45Kb.jpg

My problems with this picture:
  1. How is ANY site best viewed in Internet Exporer 7? They might as well put "better viewed drunk."
  2. It stopped being cool to put a "Best viewed in..." line in like 2002.
  3. The IE7 button is linked to an XP-ONLY version of IE7. Good luck getting it installed on Vista or Win 7.
Somebody, please tell this guy about Firefox. (I wouldn't even bother trying to sell Chrome to him for a few more years.)

Facebook privacy FAIL

Facebook changed their default privacy settings to be a little less restrictive, but I don't think I'm ever supposed to be seeing non-friends in my newsfeed.

Pictured on right: my newsfeed - the highlighted block is from a complete stranger
Pictured on left: friend's profile where post originally appeared