I have this theory about a radical improvement in user experience that could be made for any website that allows comments to be submitted by readers. Especially if any of those readers are male. I'd like to share this idea with you.
You see, I know a lot of people that make community applications or blogging tools; I even get to work with some of the best in the business. I'm sure they do fancy things like eye-tracking and usability tests and armies of robots analyzing comment forms. But there's still one behavior that's eluded them, even after years of experience.
Based on extensive observation in the nearly 7 years that I've been blogging, here is how men actually submit comments to a site:
- Skim just enough of the first few sentences so you can get a fair idea what the topic of a post or news item is.
- Scroll quickly, as fast as you can! Be careful not to accidentally read any of the other comments on the page on the way down. (Some of them may contain the information you're about to post.)
- Type out whatever opinion you've had on this topic your entire life. Don't waste time with spelling or punctuation, and be careful not to let any new information on the page influence your thoughts.
- Now that you've completed your task, submit your comment and then, at your leisure, review the other content on the page. If you find that the original post or any of the comments that preceded yours were written by people who share your opinion, bask in the confirmation that you were right.
Now the time has clearly come for modern Web 2.0 applications to reflect this reality. Where is all the innovation around accommodating this unquenchable need? We men need to inflict our comments on the web with wanton disregard for the context, content, and community in which we're participating. Let's get some Ajax on this motherfucker, stat!