On speed and keeping users happy

Right, this might become a bit rant-y. I discovered this week, to my own great surprise I’ll admit, that I became an old lady. Ranting about how things used to be better in the olden days. Before they started messing around with, after email, twitter and google reader, is probably the online utility I use most: delicious. 

I was super happy when Delicious got bought (though to make sure they wouldn’t screw up my collection of almost 9,000 links I did set up a pinboard account) from Yahoo. It’d been lingering in a state of comatose staid-ness for a while and it’s good that someone came along and is kissing it back to life. 

However, there’s ways of bringing back things to life (or relaunching as techies like to call it) which are slightly better than others. And far be it for me to claim to know how hard it is to de-cobweb Delicious and move forward, but I fundamentally both agree and disagree with this statement of one of the new owners:

“We’ve been focused on making the transition from Yahoo happen as fast as possible. Because of this, we needed to reduce some functionality in the short term and introduce a basic set of new features to get the site out the door. From our standpoint, it’s a competitive market and we’re going to err on the side of speed versus perfection to hopefully build a larger, more compelling experience. We’ll always be listening to the community and will literally be updating the product on a daily basis.” (source: AllThingsD)

I agree that speed is a good thing, and I understand that you might need to reduce some little used current functionality, but what you can’t do is take the basics away in order to make new shiny things to attract new shiny users. 

The basics need to continue working, in the short term you’re not going to attract hordes of new users, but you want to make sure that you don’t lose your current super users. The basic stuff needs to keep going to keep them happy (don’t care too much about occasional users, you’ve probably lost those anyway). And you can have a slightly crippled version for a little while, but damnit, basic stuff such as how long it takes to save a link, how easy it is needs to either stay the same or become better. And it hasn’t. It has become worse, takes longer with more frustration and it makes me feel like I’m stupid, which is not good. 

In short: I love Delicious, it’s a big part of my online habits, I’ve collected years worth of links on there, and I don’t want to use something else. But you guys have to work with me: don’t make my life harder, show a bit of love for the superusers, and then start chasing new prospects. Make me feel loved. I’ve been loyal all these years. And you can go after all the new shiny features and users as soon as you have kept the basics. But love me a little too, will you? 

End of rant from what is now officially an old lady. 


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