Smooth the flow

I’ve used Google Reader to subscribe to RSS feeds for a long time. Every single time I click on an RSS feed and choose Google, I am presented with this option –

 

 

The thing is, that every single time I’ve been presented with this choice, I have always chosen the Add to Google Reader option. So over the course of my usage, I’ve gone through this process about three hundred times, every time choosing the same option. But Google will not learn from my history and do this automatically nor will they offer me a little check box that says “Always choose this option”.

Will doing that involve a bit more product design, some thought on how to let users change this decision in the future, and a bit more code? Sure. But it will also offer a much better user experience for a majority of their users.

When you design products, you should always give the user ways to make the process more efficient. Removing friction is the goal of good product design.

  • leonardspeiser

    Maybe it just didn't make the prioritization cut… 🙂

  • http://shripriya.com/blog Shripriya

    Yeah, the NPV wouldn't have cleared the bar, but aren't they supposed to be the consumer-focused company? 🙂 If a certain Lenny Speiser was helming that product boat, it wouldn't have been this way…

  • http://www.dlewis.net Dan Lewis

    I agree with you. However:

    I'm not sure this is entirely Google's fault. It may be a function of your browser (in my case Firefox) and Google just not speaking to each other. Firefox doesn't given the option of subscribing in Google Reader — just “Google.” So it'd be weird for you to not be met with a splitter page when choosing that option.

  • leonardspeiser

    True, but I think the people at Google can give you 150 billion reasons why that is probably not keeping them up at night…

  • http://broombox.com Broom

    Firefox has a plugin (or it's a greasemonkey script) that does this for you. Google needs to fix this, but there's a workaround.

  • http://shripriya.com/blog Shripriya

    Hmm, not sure I agree, Dan. Even if Firefox didn't provide the option, Google knows who I am so they can just make the page a pass-through and send me on to Reader especially since they know that's all I use. They could also probably figure out that I never use the Google homepage (if they wanted).

    If, on the other hand, this is a marketing tactic, they should have given up pushing the Homepage after maybe 25 tries at the most.

  • http://shripriya.com/blog Shripriya

    Thanks, Broom! Btw, been missing your blog – did you move it? Or can I get access?

  • http://shripriya.com/blog Shripriya

    Btw, love the 10 things posts on your blog!

  • http://shripriya.com/blog Shripriya

    Alright, I was subscribed to the wrong (old) blog. Found you from your post. Yay!

  • http://www.dlewis.net Dan Lewis

    I agree entirely. Regardless of how one gets to that page, Google, at
    some point, shoukd infer your intentions and skip the Ig v. Reader
    choice step.

    My point is that the threshold # of decisions before that inference
    can be made is increased due to FF's inclusion in the process. What
    Google sees is that for some reason, your browser itself gave you the
    option to go to that page, and you choose to take that option.
    Assuming (perhaps incorrectly) that FF could have offered and you
    could have chosen the less-vague “Google Reader” or “Google Homepage
    options, it makes sense that Google would keep the spliter page for a
    much longer time. If Google looks at your result — 100s of splitter
    options, no “Homepage” selections — as a habitual behavior pattern
    despite having a direct option, there's some excuse for leaving the
    splitter page as is. (Why disruot the expected, requested workflow?)

    But I doubt that enough of my assumptions are true in this case. So
    yeah, I agree with you.

  • http://www.dlewis.net Dan Lewis

    I agree entirely. Regardless of how one gets to that page, Google, at
    some point, shoukd infer your intentions and skip the Ig v. Reader
    choice step.

    My point is that the threshold # of decisions before that inference
    can be made is increased due to FF's inclusion in the process. What
    Google sees is that for some reason, your browser itself gave you the
    option to go to that page, and you choose to take that option.
    Assuming (perhaps incorrectly) that FF could have offered and you
    could have chosen the less-vague “Google Reader” or “Google Homepage
    options, it makes sense that Google would keep the spliter page for a
    much longer time. If Google looks at your result — 100s of splitter
    options, no “Homepage” selections — as a habitual behavior pattern
    despite having a direct option, there's some excuse for leaving the
    splitter page as is. (Why disruot the expected, requested workflow?)

    But I doubt that enough of my assumptions are true in this case. So
    yeah, I agree with you.

  • http://www.dlewis.net Dan Lewis

    I agree entirely. Regardless of how one gets to that page, Google, at
    some point, shoukd infer your intentions and skip the Ig v. Reader
    choice step.

    My point is that the threshold # of decisions before that inference
    can be made is increased due to FF's inclusion in the process. What
    Google sees is that for some reason, your browser itself gave you the
    option to go to that page, and you choose to take that option.
    Assuming (perhaps incorrectly) that FF could have offered and you
    could have chosen the less-vague “Google Reader” or “Google Homepage
    options, it makes sense that Google would keep the spliter page for a
    much longer time. If Google looks at your result — 100s of splitter
    options, no “Homepage” selections — as a habitual behavior pattern
    despite having a direct option, there's some excuse for leaving the
    splitter page as is. (Why disruot the expected, requested workflow?)

    But I doubt that enough of my assumptions are true in this case. So
    yeah, I agree with you.

  • http://www.dlewis.net Dan Lewis

    Thanks! I've switched to an email list, if you're interested — one email a day with one thing (two actually) I learned recently. http://dlewis.net/nik

    (And sorry for the comment spam above — my blackberry burped when sending and apparently spammed you.)

  • http://www.dlewis.net Dan Lewis

    They're actually really bad at consistent UI features — check out the many different in logins across their products.

  • http://shripriya.com/blog Shripriya

    No worries at all. I nuked the extra comments for you. Thanks for the link. Will do.