The WordPress developers are at it again, changing things that worked like a charm. It’s no secret that I disliked almost all recent changes that were introduced by the people at WordPress.com, now there is a new change that I don’t really get, they moved the follow button away from the old action bar and placed it at the worst possible screen position. The follow button for logged-in community members was usually anywhere in the top bar on the left near the “My Sites” and “Reader” link, but now they removed the follow link and made a new button that you can find on the bottom-right. You can check that out, just visit a blog you don’t follow, and see where the follow button is located now. Or check out my following analyzed screenshot (Click on it to see the full size image):
As you can see, my native screen resolution is 1650 pixel by 1050 pixel, and if we think away the web browser bar and Windows taskbar, they basically moved the follow button 1000 pixel down and way more than just 1000 pixel to the right. Seriously, who does look for a certain button on the bottom-right corner of the screen? Yes, if you complain, they will most likely tell you that you get used to it, and that is right, but even then the question remains why they moved it there. You probably will get used to it, but I do think more about newbies, when the follow link was in the action bar on the top left it was literally not to miss since all important links were clearly visible and placed in that bar.
With that said, I do think the top bar gets more and more obsolete with the recent changes. Since they titled the article about the new follow button “Introducing: Our New Action Bar”, I am pretty much sure they want to remove the top bar completely, and that all the links will be placed within a button on the bottom-right corner. If that is true, they do again kill the usability, not only because the bottom-right corner is a dead zone, but also because it’ll take you one more click because you would now need to open the new action bar, while the old one had all links accessible. If they don’t want to remove the top bar, it’s even worse, as having links split to two locations is just everything but not user-friendly, but that’s how they sell the feature.
We strive to make all aspects of using WordPress.com streamlined and intuitive,…
Think about it for a while. This is so ridiculous, its corporate speech at it’s finest. I tell you the truth, products get streamlined when companies try to attract more customers, especially customers that are not really interested to discover the product or service, it’s basically like trying to sell dog food to people with cats. This is a recent and horrible trend you can see everywhere, it’s ridiculous, it’s like begging for customers that are in no way interested to use the service or product, while the long-term users that are already customers and that use the product heavily are left out completely, that is what streamlining really means.
Then the word “intuitive”, I feel some kind of pain when I see the word connected with something that is placed in the bottom-right corner of my screen. Really, a feature that is placed out of reach (Ask Google for “eye tracking study”), and something that is introducing one more click than the previous feature, that can not be labeled intuitive. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t get obsessed with the change of the follow link, but all the last changes they made give me the impression that they go the opposite direction but not the intuitive route. I just had to mention the recent change with the follow link too as I am long-time user and as I watch and document the problems since a while now, you can find several posts about the last changes here.