What do you think of ShowMeDo

showmedo at googlemail.com showmedo at googlemail.com
Wed Apr 29 14:48:58 CEST 2009

On 29 Apr, 07:27, Steven D'Aprano
<ste... at REMOVE.THIS.cybersource.com.au> wrote:
> On Tue, 28 Apr 2009 21:56:08 -0700, kyran wrote:
> > I stumbled across this thread while typing a speculative 'showmedo' in
> > google, as you do while taking a break on a (very) late Tuesday evening.
> > To declare my interest, as things stand I amShowmedoCEO, CTO,
> > boywhomakesthetea etc.. I'm not going to plug anything specific and
> > normally let these things go but it's comp.lang.python and a
> > misconception is a misconception. Besides which, every now and then an
> > attitude really grates.
> Yeah, it really sucks when you spend time and effort to build something,
> and then discover that it isn't what people want.
> Or at least some people.
> [...]
> > As for the author immediately above, I think he fails his own test of
> > prudence. There are rather blindingly obvious download links below each
> > video.
> Perhaps you should forget your preconceptions and take a long, hard look
> at the site with the eyes of a first time visitor.
> As a first time visitor, this is what I see:
> * A bunch of "stuff" all over the front page. My eye is drawn to a bunch
> of thumbnails on the right hand side, which look somewhat vaguely what
> I'd see on YouTube. So I click on a thumbnail, expecting to see a video,
> but instead I get taken to a page with no video or download link. I think
> this is what you call a "series", but at first the page just looks broken
> to me -- where's the video?
> * Since I'm unusually interested in your site, and have nothing better to
> do, I click on the series heading, and go to another page. This one does
> have a download link, and a broken "click here to play" icon. Oh well,
> I'm used to video sites being broken on everything but IE, or requiring
> Javascript, or both. So I click on the download link, and learn that you
> require a login. Do I care enough about your content to create Yet
> Another Damn Login Identity? No.
> (And yet I care enough to spend 20 minutes explaining you how you could
> improve your site. Fancy that. That's because if you improve your site,
> it could be useful to me, but if I create a login account, I've got the
> burden of dealing with yet another login account.)
> * Since I'm feeling especially enthusiastic, I go back to the home page,
> and click a link under the "Popular Paths" heading in the "Blog roll".
> (You seem to be using the term blog roll to mean something completely
> different to the way it is used in virtually every blogging site I've
> ever seen.) This takes me to an even more complicated page showing a
> "Path", filled with things that look like clickable buttons but aren't,
> and thumbnails that at first glance look identical. If I spend a couple
> of minutes inspecting them closely and mousing over them, I see that the
> *left* hand side of the thumbnail is the author and the *right* hand side
> is something else.
> (No doubt some clever PHP programmer thought he was being clever to come
> up with that UI abomination.)
> * I see *one* thumbnail that has a "Click to play" icon next to it. None
> of the others appear to be videos. There is no download link. I give up,
> and decide that your website's UI is too large a barrier for me to bother
> with it any further.
> > All that being said, I do feel the need to make that point that we have
> > generated 350 odd completely free video-tutorials for the Python
> > community, including some truly inspirational demonstrations, if the
> > feedback is anything to go by. The site has been refined over time and
> > is at least striving constantly to improve. But some people will always
> > focus only on the negatives. They are few and far between but
> > occasionally, during those long, dark teatimes of the soul, it does make
> > one wonder why one bothers. You provide them with free videos, make no
> > claim upon them and all they do is moan that the format is wrong or
> > their time too precious to waste on a non-mandatory signing- up, though
> > not so precious they can't take time out of their day to whinge about it
> > in a group posting. I think it's the kind of attitude that kills the
> > spirit of FOSS stone-dead.
> You think that FOSS is under threat because people are willing to give
> you feedback that your use of non-FOSS software (Flash) is inconvenient
> to them? Oh dear.
> For every person who takes the time to write about it, probably one
> hundred people equally dislike your site but just walk away and never
> come back. You should be dancing for joy that Ben gave you valuable
> feedback about his user experience, instead of just walking away. Some
> companies pay tens of thousands of dollars to hire UI consultants to make
> sure their website is usable by first-time visitors, and that's excluding
> development costs. I've just given you twenty minutes of my time writing
> up my experiences for free. Is that enough in the spirit of FOSS for you?

Well since you ask, no. Your post is sarcastic, patronizing and full
of such useful, temperate terms as 'UI abomination'. How could it do
anything but generate defensiveness and opposition. You are right
about the value of feedback, but I think the spirit in which yours is
delivered compromises the effort.

To be clear, I joined this thread to address a couple of
misconceptions because I think naive readers might otherwise get the
wrong impression of the site. I do get a lot of feedback so would
rather ask for it thanks. When I start a thread asking for opinions
about Showmedo's UI, look'n'feel etc. feel free to respond. But I do
think the manner in which advice is delivered is important here, so
would request a degree of gentleness. Or you will tend to be ignored.

We do deliver tens of thousands of videos a week and most people find
their way to them quite happily. I'm sorry that you didn't but I think
your inability to navigate to the content is exceptional.

Anyway I will once again apologize for any intemperateness of my own.
But sometimes a kind word can work wonders and really spur ones
flagging energies. We use Python to build Showmedo (no PHP I can
assure you, though I think you meant CSS), are grateful to the
language and the community and rather proud to represent and help it
in some small way.


> --
> Steven

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