So most of you will, by now have got the new Tumblr dashboard features. What does everyone think of it? I know there’s a lot of hate going around so I’m here to give my opinion.
First of all, try to understand that this is coming as much from someone who’s interested in web design/graphics design as someone who uses Tumblr on a regular basis. I’m going to cover every single feature that I would use often, whether that be on this blog here, or one of the other blogs I contribute to or run (notably Nerdcrafteria).
New Posting Style and interface:
The way the box pops out is something I’ve always liked. It’s always seemed to me to be quicker, and it is. You don’t have to load a whole new web page for a start. Pop out text boxes can make everything more efficient. Right now I don’t feel like I’m writing a serious article, like I would in a word processing program, but instead feel like this is blogging on the fly, in a very personal way. Once I’m done here all I have to do is click one button and it feels like I’m seamlessly returning to my dashboard feed.
The interface, in the opinion of someone who has had to design an interface before and who has used Tumblr for years now, feels cleaner. Features that I don’t have to use aren’t visible to confuse me. Overall, in this regard it feels easier to use.
A problem I do have with the posting interface is that it relies heavily on people knowing that the little arrow beside your blog name and the gear in the top right corner are clickable and can bring up more options. These are basic options. Along with that the twitter symbol at the bottom doesn’t make it immediately obvious that you want to make this post for to twitter, which I don’t. Good news is it’s obvious when you turn it on and even gives you a pop up box with the tweet in it. Tags too can seem confusing to the new user. How do I separate them? I know, but only because I used the old interface and understand the workings of the website. What about new users? Or people who don’t have that amount of experience?
To me the reblogging interface is really where the efficient and sleek design of what I’m going to call “blogging on the go” comes in. Reblogging is designed to be quick and simple, usually involving the reblogger adding only a few words (not a paragraph), if even that at all.
Now in just 2 clicks I can have a post reblogged, should I wish to, and with no page loading. It feels faster. Now whether it really is is a matter of opinion, but online that’s not a huge deal. If I think it’s faster then to me it is faster.
Tagging is easy to do, once you know how to separate them, and deleting tags is easier than ever. Literally all you have to do is click on a tag you already added and delete it. The bigger box for tags makes them feel less crammed in and easier to see
Drag and drop functionality:
Drag and drop uploading is something that’s becoming increasingly common. Now you can do it on Tumblr. Admittedly this is only useful if you don’t have all your windows open on full screen (iMac and dual monitor users will most benefit from this), but it’s still a case of making it easy and more friendly to use. Drag and drop to move things feels natural, so why not have it on websites?
A problem with the photo thing though, is the rearranging of photos in a photoset. To test, I uploaded 10 photos (the max). They uploaded with 1 large at the top and 9 smaller ones below it. Ok, that’s fine, but I want a different one up the top. I spent a minute or two just dragging them around and eventually got it, but it shouldn’t have taken me that long. Something that was said to be so easy to use shouldn’t be that difficult. It is a step up from not being able to re-order them at all, but a step when we consider how easy it was to change the layout before. Now if I want to change the layout I have to drag them around a bit first. Initial reaction, not very intuitive at all.
While I think that the new features are an improvement, they are held back by certain aspects. Usability is good, but is severely lacking in places. I imagine a new user might find it difficult to pick up on some of the symbols.
However, aesthetically it is a massive step up. I’ve gone into detail on this above. Interfaces feel clean and open, uncluttered. Overall it feels like Tumblr is finally becoming a friendly and open website, where you are encouraged to express yourself.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I can see that another few posts have popped up on my dash, as I haven’t even left the web-page.
But first, what are your opinions? Do you agree with anything I said?