adobe acrobat + firefox = pain

Is it just me?

Adobe Acrobat has given me a lot of grief in the past few months… in lots of different ways that I don’t really understand. I find myself constantly having to kill Firefox if it opens a PDF in a browser window.

In the last two days I’ve had a PDF file open in a tab that I was trying to close. I only wanted to close that tab, but everything I’d try to close it, Firefox would totally lose it and freeze up until I’d Ctrl+Alt+Delete and kill it that way.

I finally worked out what was going on this afternoon. It seems that when I ask Firefox to close the tab, Acrobat wants to check if I really want to close the application, and it throws up a dialogue box to that effect… but the dialogue box appears *behind* my frozen (and unmovable) Firefox window.

The only way to ‘click’ it to make it go away and to unfreeze Firefox and close the tab seems to be to go back to ‘View Desktop’, then choose to view your Firefox session, which then pulls the dialogue box to the front, for some reason, where you can close it. Firefox then behaves normally again, and the PDF document and tab close.

I’m not sure whether this is Adobe or Firefox’s fault… but I’d sure like to give who ever it is a slap. Very, very annoying.

Moo Flickr Mini Cards + Getting Real

moo cards
Moo Flickr Mini Cards launched recently, as you may have read elsewhere. I’m stoked to see so many people checking them out and enjoying them because I had the pleasure of working with the Moo Team on the design of the service.
It was interesting that Signals vs Noise wrote them up, because the design process that Moo undertook is really quite similar to the Getting Real methodology that the 37 Signals guys espouse.
Moo took a really inclusive and user centric approach to the development of this interface – doing user research and testing in a range of different environments throughout the design and development lifecycle. It’s really great to see that some of the things that we at Flow found when we were working with them are now part of the design – and it’s been great to see the design evolve over time as more and more people got involved in the Moo project.
So, designing, and developing and feedback were locked into a really fast and iterative process – and the end result is a process of selecting, designing and ordering cards that is – I think, and others seem to agree – really easy and enjoyable.
Based on what I know of their ethos and approach, I feel confident that Moo will continue to evolve and improve the interface and user experience of Moo Flickr Mini Cards over time.
It’s been really great working with the guys at Moo because of the responsiveness and user centric approach that they’ve taken to this project. I look forward to seeing how this product evolves and where else Moo shows up – they’re a really smart crew, doing really smart work! Yay Moo! :)
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Help Me Crazy Egg!

There’s a kind of grim irony in exploring Crazy Egg, only to discover that the very thing that would make their website and service useful for me would never be able to be detected using the tools that they provide.

Crazy Egg is designed to help you continually test and improve your site.

They do this by capturing where on your site people are clicking and providing you this information in a range of formats, from a simple list, to an overlay (which we’ve seen a fair bit of now, and is even included in Google Analytics these days), to a ‘heat map’ that looks a lot like something you’d generate from eyetracking, but is of course based on the volume of clicks in various parts of the page.

There’s obviously a lot of interesting information you can gather from this kind of data, and it’s particularly digestible thanks to the visualisations. It is only one of very many ways that you can establish what people are doing or not doing on your website, and it is far from telling you what is working and what is not. Crazy Egg says their data can help you:

  • Test different versions of a page to see which works better
  • Discover which ad placement gives the best results
  • Find out which design encourages visitors to click deeper
  • Learn which content leads to improved sales

I don’t have a huge problem with most of these claims… except for the first one – how on earth do you define what ‘works better’ based on clicks?

What Crazy Egg doesn’t tell you, though, is why something that you’re *not* doing is making people unable to use your service.

Case in point – me!

I got an email from Crazy Egg this morning to tell me that they’re up and running and inviting me to register and have a play with their service. It’s a particularly interesting service for someone in my line of work – might be another quick, cheap tool to add to the research kit. I’d love to use their services if only they’d make it a little easier for me!

I couldn’t find a word of ‘support’ or ‘help’ content on their site, nor did their blog appear to have a search facility so that I could see if they’d address the issue I was looking for help with.

My problem is that I want to try Crazy Egg, and I want to use my WordPress Blog as a test. I’m guessing that I won’t be the only person they’ve emailed today with this question. I’m guessing they’ve emailed a lot of people who blog today.

At the moment, I’m at the point of abandonment with Crazy Egg because of their lack of support. Surely an FAQ or a discussion board or a Wiki could be in order? OK, so they’re new and they don’t necessarily know what people need to know… let us all help each other. OK, so they do have a ‘Contact Us’ form… eh, at a pinch, perhaps, but I’m still disappointed.

Is lack of help content a bug? (They want us to report bugs… what do you think?)

For now, I’m hoping that someone out in blog-land can help me?!

I have my Crazy Egg Code and I was thinking of putting it on my blog homepage. Anyone got any idea where in the template code I should be putting this code? I had a quick look at places that seemed logical and couldn’t see anything that matched Crazy Egg’s instructions.

Seriously… not even an FAQ on their website. Who do they think their customers are?!

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wonderfully devious!

oooh. how did I miss this! This is how Peter Morville, god of Findability, described the quasi-tag cloud on Act Now (one of my favourite projects).

Thanks for the pointer to the Act Now site which is very interesting. Of course, they’re not really tags, but controlled vocabulary terms masquerading as tags in a tag cloud…which is wonderfully devious.

I like wonderfully devious. (Thanks for the link Melissa!). More thinking about tag clouds and controlled vocabulary is in order I think…