Post #185

A few problems with

22nd January 2004, early afternoon | Comments (9)

The blogroll that I recently added to this site is powered by, and while I like their service, I’m not so happy with some of their content. Here are three things I’d like to see improved.

Problem 1: Duplicate account errors

Look what happens if you forget you already signed up for an account, and try to create a new one using the same details:

  1. Warning:
  3. INSERT INTO blogs_user (email,passwd,created) VALUES ('','#######',NOW())
  5. Duplicate entry '' for key 2 in /var/www/ on line 36
  7. Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /var/www/ in /var/www/ on line 18
  9. Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /var/www/ in /var/www/ on line 34
  10. Download this code: 185a.txt


Problem 2: Presentation of search results

This is what you get back if you search for a site (in this case I’ve searched for ‘’):

Screen shot showing a search results page on

Each time this page appears my mouse gets halfway to ‘click here’ before I realise that link isn’t what I want.

‘Click here’, underlined, in bright green, and the first link on the page — that’s four powerful messages they’ve combined there, and yet 99.9% of the time that’s not the link I actually want to click.

I can’t help but feel their wording is a tad misleading.

This, in my opinion, is more appropriate:

Screen shot showing an altered search results page on

However, from a user’s point of view I’d like to see the error reporting stuff below the results:

Screen shot showing an altered search results page on

(Note: they may have good reason for making the error reporting link so prominent; maybe error reports are a vital part of keeping the system clean and up-to-date and testing showed them this was the best place to put the message?)

Problem 3: Returning to your favourites list

One final issue I have with the site is that if I choose to add to my list of favourites I have no obvious way of returning to see that list.

I eventually realised I have to click on the logo to return to the home page (which also doubles as my favourites page), but nothing tells me that. There’s no ‘home’, or ‘favourites’ link in the main menu and no ‘back to favourites list’ link on the search results page. That’s not good.

So, there you are. The service provide is excellent, I just think the site could do with a little tweaking.

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Comments (9)

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  1. Huphtur:

    they should also try to simplify the markup of the sidebar.
    (make sure your logged in)

    it's loaded with <div> tags!

    Posted 44 minutes after the fact
  2. Cheah Chu Yeow:

    Obviously the web designer of never understood Human Computer Interaction. Hmm.. not that you need to actually, since these would seem common sense problems that shouldn't have occured. I have had the exact same issues (problems 2 and 3 as you mentioned).

    I've moved on to using Bloglines, though still powers my (minimal) blogroll.

    Posted 58 minutes after the fact
  3. [m]:

    My main problem with is the time when the list is actually updated. When a blog in my favorites list is updated, it takes a long time to show up in the list, 4 or more hours at least. Well, for me it is a liong time.
    I know that relies heavily on other, similar services and that not many blogging software has his built-in pinger, but the lag is just insane compared to, say, a desktop RSS crawler.

    Hey, maybe I could email all those blogs and tel them to manually ping[i] That would be nice.


    Posted 1 hour, 18 minutes after the fact
  4. Brent Hardinge:

    Regarding your Problem 2: That just underscores the problems of using "Click Here" as link text. It is very vauge and doesn't give the user any real idea of what they are clicking...

    Posted 1 hour, 45 minutes after the fact
  5. KO:

    Have you tried ? See

    It's just brilliant, so brilliant that I was amazed when I explored it a little bit. A brilliant idea, and currently very fast also. I hope it lasts...

    Posted 6 hours, 34 minutes after the fact
  6. Simon Willison:

    I absolutely love, but you make some good suggestions for small improvements. I have one more: the icons for subscribing and blocking a blog are small, almost identical and right next to each other. I've clickced the wrong one more than once and would love it if they were a bit easier to distinguish.

    Posted 10 hours, 37 minutes after the fact
  7. Jim Winstead:

    problem #1: fixed. (there was even a 'TODO' mark in the code about handling duplicate signups.)

    problem #2: fixed, but left at the top since the number of search results in unconstrained and putting it below the results would mean it was hidden for many searches. (they? testing? heh.)

    problem #3: fixed.

    1. eh. it works. i guess i could go back and make the markup more semantically-happy, but i’d like to think i have better things to do. patches gladly accepted. (

    2. bite me.

    3. not much that can be done about sites that don’t ping or, other than to contact them.

    4. yeah, that was dumb.

    5. quite brilliant.

    6. this is the complaint i hear most frequently, but it never seems to come with a suggestion on how to improve it. i tried giving one of the icons a bit of a reddish cast, but i don’t think it helped much.

    thanks for the feedback, everyone.

    Posted 1 day, 13 hours after the fact
    Inspired: ↓ Mark Paschal, ↓ Cheah Chu Yeow
  8. Mark Paschal:

    I liked the text links. I guess they didn't show up in some browsers, though? It was nice they scaled with the size of the text.

    Posted 1 week after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Jim Winstead
  9. Cheah Chu Yeow:

    Jim: Whoops I didn't realise how crass I sounded in that comment until I came back and read it over again after being alerted by Phil Ringnalda ( For that I duly apologize.

    I wasn't being constructive at all and I'm not proud of that - let my baser feelings get over my rationality in this occasion. I really am not like that in my rational self, believe it or not.

    Keep up the great work with

    Posted 1 week, 1 day after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Jim Winstead

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