Friday, April 15, 2011

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I'm blogging at Tumblr now

I should probably mention this. I'll keep this account alive so I can follow fellow bloggers here if I wish, but my own stuff now lives at Tumblr. Feel free to join me, of course! :o)

Personal blog:
eBid Widgets blog:
Foodie blog:

See you there!

All the best, by Kimbo! x

Friday, November 27, 2009

Will today be the day?

Will today be the day that eBid finally announces when the all new site is going live? Well, no, probably not. We've been waiting a while now, to say the least, and there's nothing to show anything's different today. But one has to hope. 

eBid promised seven days notice of the "go live" date, and also promised the site update would happen before the next newsletter came out. Since the latter is due in less than seven days, both of these things can no longer be true. If eBid has one major failing in how it communicates with its customers, it's in the timing. 

Unlike most big sites the management at eBid actually have a human face (two, in fact, the owner's Gazza & Mark) and they post to the forums on an irregular but reasonably frequent basis. They've also improved on letting folks know in advance (albeit just minutes sometimes) about unexpected outages and updates. But there's one thing they never get right: the timing. eBid keeps time about as well as a chocolate clock. Estimates of how long the system will be down are invariably wildly optimistic, and guessing what the real timing will be has become something of a forum game. 

That's all very amusing in its way, but for something as important as a major system overhaul, flagging up a deadline and then wandering past it without a murmur is really unacceptable. 

I love eBid. I've tied my colours to its mast in a major way with my eBid Widgets site and the support services that I provide, but that doesn't mean I have to accept everything they do with religious fervour. It doesn't mean I can't call them on it when they get something wrong. 

So come on guys. This won't do! Tell us when the new site goes live. Make it a sensible date and time (not, for example, in the immediate build-up to Christmas) and then stick to it! And bear in mind when you're estimating the downtime... if you say "the site will be down for a day", and it comes back in five hours, you're heroes. If you say "the site will be down for 40 minutes" and it comes back in two hours, you surely ain't. So remember: be timely, be informative, and err on the site of caution.

And do it today, I'll look like a genius. ;o)

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Picture Paints - Navigation by Icon

I'm a creature of words*. I know this, I know I find writing and typing easier than some (though I'm under no illusions about being a literary genius!) and I read quickly and copiously. Because of this I find my web sites tend to get rather wordy. Each time I have a new idea, I slap it in there, write a paragraph or two describing it. Link it about all over the place, and it all seems perfectly clear to me.

Of course, it's not. It's a mess. A textual mess with odd bits of useful info tucked into the gaps, shivering under the onslaught of verbiage. Oops, there I go again. So I've had a total rethink on the Widgets site and it is now waaaay more graphical. In fact, it is icon driven. The text is restricted to where it should be - explaining concepts, describing options. Navigation is now by icon. The site is clear, clean and easy to drive. I hope. I'm sure you'll tell me if I'm wrong.

*Which makes me wonder why more of them don't make it to bloghood. Note to self: ramble less, blog more!