Spectra - the whole spectrum of WRONG



  • Sorry if this has already been mentioned.

    Right. Let's start off by handing you a pretty harmless link:
    MSNBC's Spectra



    Play around with the thing. Let the horror sink in. Scream a little, bang your head, if needed. Discuss.


    P.S.: I would love to hear what a professional (someone working in the field of accessibility) has to say about this Web ∞.0 application.

    P.P.S.: A friend of mine just mentioned that the thing can become even flashier, if you have a webcam enabled.



  •  It resized my browser, i left shortly after.



  • Hmm.. it seems a bit heavier on the eyecandy than is necessary and it doesn't feel like the easiest thing to use, but I don't see a huge problem.  It's certainly kind of "pretty" and fun to click around on.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Hmm.. it seems a bit heavier on the eyecandy than is necessary and it doesn't feel like the easiest thing to use, but I don't see a huge problem.  It's certainly kind of "pretty" and fun to click around on.
     

    There are plenty of other News Sites/Browsers/Readers ... This one is a bit different ... I don't see TRWTF ...



  • As for the accessibility, flash and accessibility dont mix, ever.



    As for the rest... i dont see the problem either



  • I'm mildly surprised that they used Flash. AS2, at least, isn't particularly well-suited for 3D apps; AS3, I dunno.Just to give it a stress-test, I loaded up about 10 channels. The CPU pegged shortly afterward, and FF's memory usage ramped up to about 196M. This is with only two other tabs open, mind, with static html displayed.

     Would a java applet have been a better choice here, or would that suffer from the same accessibility and slow third-party library problems that Flash does in this instance?



  • @pinguis said:

    As for the accessibility, flash and accessibility dont mix, ever.

    Nonsense. Flash is great for the metally-challenged. Wait, we are talking about developing in Flash, right?



  • Personally I think the eye candy is [b]way[/b] over the top, with the news stories that float around randomly in 3D and then zoom towards you and do a flip when you pick one.  And when you do a search they all slowly drop out of sight while rotating, except for the matching ones which fly into view.  It looks like someone just learned how to do 3D stuff in Flash and felt they [i]had[/i] to use it.  And what's with the color sensor view, which apparently requires a webcam?  Seriously, what's that doing in an RSS reader?  What also really bothers me is that even though a bunch of stories are floating around in front of you, you can't just click the one you want - clicking just brings in the next one in order, which you have to keep on doing until it gets to the one you want.  I'd much rather have a plain 2D list, which lets you look at whatever story you want in whatever order.

    I guess it's not a huge WTF though, more personal preference than anything else. 



  • Although it's totally useless, it looks and feels kind of slick.



  • @Nelle said:

    There are plenty of other News Sites/Browsers/Readers ... This one is a bit different ... I don't see TRWTF ...

    Different is good, right?

    How about inaccessible? Presumptuous? Plain stupid?

    First, let's see what a news reader needs to be able to do with ease.

    1. Present you with headlines, from which to choose articles of interest
    2. Allow you to search within the headlines and/or articles
    3. Mark what you've read clearly, so that you don't read the same thing twice
    4. Keep an archive, so that you can go back to what you read yesterday
    5. Be unobtrusive. While this one is disputable, I know many people, myself included, who keep their news reader minimized throughout the day. It's quite convenient.

    Now, let's see how Spectra covers each one of these:
    1. Well, yes, it does give you the headlines. Floating. Difficult to read. Impossible to select. It does not show you the article you selected. It shows you the first article, making you scroll to the article you need. How very useful.
    2. You can search through the flashcards you're currently memorizing viewing but that's it. Can't search in the archives, or in news you've not selected.
    3. This one is absolutely missing. But then again, you have to read (or at least scroll) through every single article, which renders the read/unread division useless.
    4. This one's available, yes. It doesn't seem easy to handle large archives, though.
    5. No points here. This thing is almost as bad as Crysis. Too bad we don't get the same graphics quality.

    Additional things which bug me:
    • What is the target audience here? Limiting things to 10 articles per topic tells me that anyone with more than a superficial interest in any given area is out of the equation.
    • The camera thing. I won't even start commenting on it.
    • The RSS/Atom icon (you know the one). They keep using it! Stop it!
    • Presenting text data as images. Wasting space. I'm no designer but even I can see the bad choices made here.
    • Accessibility, anyone? Flash, mouse-dominant controls, pop-ups all over the place, incomprehensible skewed text. The list goes on.


  • @bstorer said:

    Flash is great for the metally-challenged.
     

    No way, Flash has plenty of rusty iron content!

    OH! Mentally challenged? You must mean ColdFusion then!



  • @rbowes said:

    Although it's totally useless, it looks and feels kind of slick.

    So does a seal coated in baby oil. But what good is that?



  • @archivator said:

    Additional things which bug me:
     

    • Excessive lists.



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    @bstorer said:

    Flash is great for the metally-challenged.
     

    No way, Flash has plenty of rusty iron content!

    OH! Mentally challenged?

    I go to all the trouble of coming up with a perfectly nice insult, and then I ruin it with a careless typo. This is the worst day ever.



  • @archivator said:

    Play around with the thing. Let the horror sink in. Scream a little, bang your head, if needed. Discuss.

    I quite like it, actually.



  • Wow, that is amazingly sucktastic!  A good example of someone bouncing up and down in his seat, waving his arms, grinning like a lunatic and yelling "Oh!  Oh!  Me!  Oh, me!  Oh, slap ME!"

    Seriously, I noticed first off how the headlines swirled off the top of the screen, even when I closed the bars at the top and bottom.  But that didn't really matter once I noticed that clicking just gives you the stories in order, like people here pointed out.  And when I changed it from orbital display to ... what was it called, automatic?  The one where I was apparently in the center of the circle...  I got nauseaus.  And as a frequent player of 3d first-party shooter games, I'm not generally inclined to suffer nausea easily. 



  • @archivator said:

    Different is good, right?

    How about inaccessible? Presumptuous? Plain stupid?

    First, let's see what a news reader needs to be able to do with ease.

    1. Present you with headlines, from which to choose articles of interest
    2. Allow you to search within the headlines and/or articles
    3. Mark what you've read clearly, so that you don't read the same thing twice
    4. Keep an archive, so that you can go back to what you read yesterday
    5. Be unobtrusive. While this one is disputable, I know many people, myself included, who keep their news reader minimized throughout the day. It's quite convenient.

    Now, let's see how Spectra covers each one of these:
    1. Well, yes, it does give you the headlines. Floating. Difficult to read. Impossible to select. It does not show you the article you selected. It shows you the first article, making you scroll to the article you need. How very useful.
    2. You can search through the flashcards you're currently memorizing viewing but that's it. Can't search in the archives, or in news you've not selected.
    3. This one is absolutely missing. But then again, you have to read (or at least scroll) through every single article, which renders the read/unread division useless.
    4. This one's available, yes. It doesn't seem easy to handle large archives, though.
    5. No points here. This thing is almost as bad as Crysis. Too bad we don't get the same graphics quality.

    Additional things which bug me:
    • What is the target audience here? Limiting things to 10 articles per topic tells me that anyone with more than a superficial interest in any given area is out of the equation.
    • The camera thing. I won't even start commenting on it.
    • The RSS/Atom icon (you know the one). They keep using it! Stop it!
    • Presenting text data as images. Wasting space. I'm no designer but even I can see the bad choices made here.
    • Accessibility, anyone? Flash, mouse-dominant controls, pop-ups all over the place, incomprehensible skewed text. The list goes on.

    You must curl up in a fetal position and bawl when you encounter 3D graphics of any kind.  I think it's a bit over-the-top as far as a newsreader goes, but considering that it's a beta many of your minor complaints can be addressed in future revisions.  Everything else just seems like pointless nit-picking.  Don't like it?  Don't use it.  Several people already made positive comments about it so obviously there is a demand for something like this.

     

    As far as accessiblity goes, there are plenty of non-flash newsreaders available.  And seriously, being handicapped means missing out on some things that other people get to experience.  This constant complaining because someone uses rich media and doesn't provide a blind/deaf/mentally retarded version of the content is tiring.  Besides, how else are we going to keep up-to-date on the impending genocide of the blind without tipping them off?  Once we've purged the land of the Unsighted and split up their possessions, you'll be thanking Adobe for Flash.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    You must curl up in a fetal position and bawl when you encounter 3D graphics of any kind.
     

    If only half of our OPs on the sidebar understood what a WTF is.



  •  Wheres the WTF? Its really flashy, its actually REALLY cool looking, I can think of a place to use that sort of interface where it would make actual sense.

     

    I thought that any moment now I am going to have bill gates jump out at me and steal my credit card. But that didn't happen. It sucks that you can't click on the article you want, you have to scroll. Their arangement/selection scheme sucks balls, but thats it, even with that i could just click x number of times to scroll past x articles, and was very responsive and animated.



  • Hm, I nust be over-reacting, then.. Will take deep breaths. Right after I figure out why people take an over-fluffed, barely useful, and rather counter-intuitive web site as a normal thing these days.


    Right. Got that off my chest, will go create a blogger ranting account or something.

    Last thing, though, just out of curiosity, did anyone try the webcam color-matching?



  • @archivator said:

    Right after I figure out why people take an over-fluffed, barely useful, and rather counter-intuitive web site as a normal thing these days.
     

    Did you just wake up from a coma?



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    Did you just wake up from a coma?

    When did people stop using gopher, dagnabbit?? 



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    When Why did people stop start using gopher, dagnabbit?? 
    FTFY



  • @bstorer said:

    @morbiuswilters said:
    Why did peoplefurries start using gopher, dagnabbit?? 
    FTFY
     

    FTFY.



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    @bstorer said:

    @morbiuswilters said:
    <cfmessage message="Why did peoplefurries start using gopher, dagnabbit??">
    FTFY
     

    FTFY.

    CFTFY



  • I got so far as to add a "news channel" and watch the headlines flutter about. I clicked on a headline, not the one I intended to. Nonetheless it brought up a summary. So I clicked "full story" waited about 15 seconds. Noticed "transferring data ..." Then I closed my browser. I figure if I want news I'll get it from sfgate or news.yahoo or any of the other sites with navigation that doesn't fly around my screen.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    I tried the webcam color matching thing....

    It was, uh, useless because it takes the average color at the center of the camera and randomly throws articles from the nearest "color group" at you, pegging the CPU along the way. Unfortunately for MSNBC, my webcam doesn't have a studio light attached and I don't keep color sample cards on my desk.



  • call me bored, but I liked to play around with sound effects the different buttons and submenus made when mouse moved on 'em.- 



  • A useless website that eats almost 100% CPU to display ~10 rotating rectangles. An easy and quick way to pollute the planet.

    Was there nothing useful for these people to work on?

    "Read, play and interact with the news". Yeah, news are a great thing to play and interact with.

    What a waste of labor and electricity.



  • @bstorer said:

    I go to all the trouble of coming up with a perfectly nice insult
     

    why ?

     



  • @archivator said:

    Right after I figure out why people take an over-fluffed, barely useful, and rather counter-intuitive web site as a normal thing these days.
     

    had a course at the uni where they explained usability and different ways to test an interface ...

    most of the methods involve test groups, recorded sessions and result processing ...

    most companies do not have the budget to pay for it or simply they do not see the point in doing that ...

    so their answer is : design an interface, implement it, stick beta sticker over it and read the user statistics/comments/rants ...

    google does it, yahoo does it, msnbc does it ... its not a wtf, its a trend ...



  • @bstorer said:

    @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    @bstorer said:

    @morbiuswilters said:
    <cfmessage message=<cfoutput>"Why did peoplefurries start using gopher, dagnabbit??"</cfoutput>
    FTFY
     

    FTFY.

    CFTFY
     

    CFTFY 



  • @Nelle said:

    @bstorer said:

    I go to all the trouble of coming up with a perfectly nice insult
     

    why ?

     

    Not you again. Didn't you learn your lesson the first time? Don't make me call in a TDWTF Mafia hit on you.



  • @bstorer said:

    Didn't you learn your lesson the first time?
     

    What lesson would that be ?



  • @Nelle said:

    What lesson would that be ?
     

    I know you want to be just like bstorer when you grow up, but really, this is kind of pathetic.



  • (Retarded forum software - argh!)This is from Weng:(/Rfs-a)

    <quote> "I tried the webcam color matching thing.... It was, uh, useless because it takes the average color at the center of the camera and randomly throws articles from the nearest "color group" at you, pegging the CPU along the way. Unfortunately for MSNBC, my webcam doesn't have a studio light attached and I don't keep color sample cards on my desk." </quote>

    Let me get this straight... all it does is give you the headlines whose rectangle color most closely matches a color seen by the camera? That's a huge WTF there, too. Of what possible practical use is that?



  • @jetcitywoman said:

    (Retarded forum software - argh!)This is from Weng:(/Rfs-a)
     

    Wow. Epic quote fail.

    Even if the forum software sucks is inserting the quote tags manually really that hard?



  • I chose every single catagory and broke the specktra


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