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Where’s the beef, Blogger.com?

By on Jul 13, 2011 in Tech Takes | 13 comments

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There’s one good reason commenting on a blog hosted on Blogger.com makes me mad: despite being linked to a Google account, it’s the one Google service that doesn’t automatically log you in. With blogs, this means once you’ve entered a comment, you’re redirected to a login page and then redirected back to comment page

Wait, I didn’t get the option to subscribe to follow-up comments via email! Now that I have had to re-login, I see the option for that. So…leave another comment just to enable email updates? And the comment field cannot be empty? I’ll probably have to delete the second comment because it will probably be worthless? Fuck you very much, Blogger. FUCK YOU!

I abandoned Blogger.com’s blog hosting service long ago to get full creative control over my blog. Blogger’s service is not bad per se as much as it is utterly neglected. For the purpose of making press releases and pretending to still being the cool kids on the blog block, they put together a half-decent effort in Blogger In Draft. What isn’t so cool is that Google takes months / years to push these improvements out of perpetual beta testing. The majority of Blogger users don’t know, don’t care, or can’t be bothered with the hassle of shifting to another blogging platform even when they feel features are lacking. Even though the features have been developed as ‘Blogger In Draft’, they simply aren’t pushed out for greater public use!

Don’t get me started about the schizophrenic look Blogger blogs are forced to adopt because of the platform. Why should I be taken to a separate site altogether to post comments (as it sometimes does)? I know that’s an option offered to the user but why the fuck would you even offer it to your users if you care about a pleasant user experience! Why does clicking on an ‘About Me’ link take me to another, differently-styled site altogether? Honestly, WTF is the point of ‘Google Friend Connect’? Yay, I clicked a button. Now what? Where’s the beef?

Blogger.com templates are the metaphorical equivalent of Ronald Weasley wearing dress robes from the last century. Giving users the choice to change colours and set background images sends everyone back to the Geocities-era. This is not ‘customisation’! I am fed up of the same old two-column, here’s-a-set-of-links-in-sidebar design when I visit Blogger.com hosted blogs. The problem isn’t that it’s ‘plain’, but the platform itself limits what you can do. I have never come across a single Blogger.com blog whose design has delighted me when reading text on it. Add to that the verbal diarrhoea – and the users are blame for this – of chat boxes, buttons, ‘visitor maps’, virtual pets, ‘award showcases’ and whatnot.

(Even worse-off are those who still don’t know / care about shifting away from LiveJournal, who have to deal with a seriously antiquated system. On second thoughts, perhaps I don’t want all those spinning GIFs of Edward Cullen or whatever-the-fuck-the-name-of-Wolf-Boy-is to run over WordPress.com.)

Then there are bugs such as the one I mentioned that have been around for ages, yet there’s no way to file bug reports with Google. Sure, they probably have a ‘contact us’ form somewhere that is only revealed after browsing through ten pages in Blogger help and many patronising Are you sure you haven’t seen this help FAQ… screens. Going by my experience with Google customer support, they probably print out all those contact form submissions from they shiny Chromebooks using Google Cloud Print and use it to wipe their ass. Who gives a shit about user experience?

If Google really is dog-fooding the Blogger service (as it often brags about it does with other projects its developing), then how can they not notice the that are frustrating about the user experience for years now? How can they not see – even if they continue to have millions of users – that their community is decaying?



13 Comments

  1. Espèra

    July 14, 2011

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    Oh and asking users to log in after commenting isn’t the only annoying thing they do there. There’s an option to embed the comment box into the blog, such that a separate window need not pop up. Fair enough, except that entirely LACKS the option to follow comments.

    • Actually, it does. The embedded comment form has a ‘subscribe by email’ link beneath the comment box that allows subscribing to comments post commenting. The wording is ambiguous though; the first time I saw it, I thought it was for subscribing to blog post updates via email.

      This strengthens my point, not weakens it. Blogger.com’s UX is so broken that long-time users don’t know essential features exist; when they do, they are all implemented inconsistently!

  2. Vivek

    July 15, 2011

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    It’s true. Blogger’s comment system frustrates me to no end. Bunch of filthy pop-ups and whatnot. Gah.

  3. Animesh Sinha

    July 18, 2011

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    In what way does wordpress offer you full creative control over your blog? I can’t even see the code of my wordpress-powered blog. Have switched to blogger now. Blogger also offers a really large range of widgets… and stuff like Facebook “like” buttons also run, you can’t do that on wordpress.

    • I meant self-hosted WordPress, not WordPress.com. The latter has a many built-in widgets too and I think adding custom code (at least to the sidebar) is allowed through the ‘Text/HTML’ widget. In general, the design and the user experience for both the author and readers is better than Blogger.

  4. Nitesh Meghani

    July 26, 2011

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    Man, you have an awesome vocabulary. Any way to improve mine without reading all those books that you read (you probably read more than– no I’m not exaggerating– 40 books a year)?

  5. Karan

    July 26, 2011

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    Man, wordpress is just awesome. I was a blogger fan before (and their new UI–at draft.blogger.com–is quite nice). I recently set up wordpress on a free hosting account (link embedded), and I’m loving it!

  6. Karan

    July 31, 2011

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    Actually, you can change the “the same old two-column, here’s-a-set-of-links-in-sidebar” layout. My blog’s layout is something like your’s – Full focus on the content and all widgets / other stuff at the bottom.

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