Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Overzealous Boy Scout

There's the story of the boy scout who helped the little old lady across the street--even though she didn't want to go. We seem to be getting too much software that falls into this category (and another category I call "Dumbware," but that's another post).

Here's how my ideal Netflix workflow would go...

1. I find a movie I want to watch.
2. I add that movie to my queue.
3. Lather, rinse and repeat.

Here's how my Netflix workflow actually goes...

1. I find a movie I want to watch.
2. I add it to my queue.
3. An Overzealous Boy Scout appears recommending movies I should like.
4. I close the antihelpful O.B.S. popup.
5. Lather, rinse and repeat.

Five movies. Five overzealous boy scouts batted out of the way.

While I'm on the subject, there's the issue of whether fresh Netflix Queue additions should wind up in the bottom of the queue or the top. Presenting two buttons, "Add to top of queue" and "Add to bottom of queue," would save another step. If designers believe this would be too confusing for users, we may be stumbling onto one of the root causes of Dumbware (but that's another post).


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