This is part ‘first impressions’ post, part a summary of all the grievances, that I ranted to the support about.
I had some very strong feelings about many of the design decisions and they asked me to write it into a post on the forum, so that they could have some input from other users.
Now a lot of my issues are probably non-issues for experienced users, who would probably say ‘No, you have to go to panel 3, submenu 5, underpoint 9 and remove the tick. Duh!’ (actually, please tell me then), but a lot of my issues relate to lack of documentation and the general non-obviousness of the system. The tone of this is a bit harsh (I had this saved as Beeminder-bitching on my harddrive). I’m very frustrated, that I need a system like this in the first place (and I absolutely do) and that I’m kind of stuck with this piece… and I don’t think anything else is obviously better.
About the goal options hidden in Dashboard view:
Why would anyone click on a graph and expect to go somewhere.
I mean, someone who is curious (or who is desperately searching for options for a goal), maybe.
And when they do, they get immediately annoyed, because they have no clear idea where they are.
Maybe they really liked where they have been. Having in their short term memory loaded the whole overview of
everything and idly clicking things, suddenly being teleported without warning dazed and confused to god-knows-where.
(never underestimate, how much people idly click on things)
I think, labeled buttons are just plain better for important things like that.
I also don’t understand why there is a link from the “Gallery” to the “Dashboard”, but not vice-versa.
Or what exactly the difference is. “Gallery” is meant to be a pretty overview and “Dashboard” to be useful?
Why does the Gallery have the goal description next to the goal name, but the Dashboard has not.
And why isn’t it pretty. The first goals made by an user will not have short descriptions, but rather the
full ‘contract’ (fine print can only be discovered after a goal is set and going to “mystery land/click the picture”).
This is what one of my goals looks like in that view:
accountability: This is for sho…
Not pretty at all (or useful for that matter).
The only way, that this windows an look pretty is with no descriptions at all, I think.
Besides the description for the description is problematic: This can be more verbose and will be visible on your goal page.
But there is no element on the website, that is called “goal page” (did you mean Gallery, what is going on here?).
And why can goals have no spaces? “woldDomination” doesn’t look nearly as motiviating as
And why are my goals in ALLCAPS in the Dashboard and in small letters only in my Gallery.
This makes using camelcase (which I would want to use, bcs. no two-word goals) impossible, making
both goal lists harder to read.
And in the “Dashboard” view there should be a bit more space between the content of the Goal column and the Deadline column. And between the tick and an overly long comment, that ends with “…”.
Why use non-descriptive names like Dashboard and Gallery,
instead of “data entry and goal creation” and “pretty and utterly useless goal overview, that adds no value”?
So that people know immediately where to go.
To get to “Dashboard” you have to click you own username? That’s not obvious.
I’m not sure it’s sensible.
When hovering other a goal in dashboard, I see the following nonsense:
blue.bmndr.com/username/goalname is in the top lane…
(why on earth would a user want to see a URL here?)
And I know the ‘lane’-part refers to this whole weird road metaphor thing (a non-intuitive way to talk
about graphs). I never see anything recognisable as ‘bricks’ in my graph, or lanes for that matter (and
what are the weird yellow diagonal lines below the middle line (or lane (or whatever))).
Either commit to the metaphor and make the graph look really stupid or use normal graph-describing
language, like ‘You are above the line/on tope of the line/below/on top of the line.’, that is immediately obvious.
Or make a Youtube video where you show a graph, and point at each thing in succession saying ‘this is what we
refer to as a lane, this is a brick…’.
No way to change my username, which I picked unwisely as a random ugly String (they changed it for me on request, which is nice, but not having to deal with support is always better)
Why is there no way to find out, if my goal is a ‘do less’,‘do more’, etc. The goal type is very important information, and I’m supposed to just remember that?
At first I thought, that was what the colors were for, bcs. not having that information being obvious seemed inconceivable to me. It’s hard to find out, what the colors are for. I did. And I already forgot again.
Also I want icons. The goals could look so pretty. Why are there no icons? (Imagine having these next to your goals)
The documentation for Newbees had me struggling badly, because I did not
know, that the do-less category was a Premium feature. It does not tell
you that, in the document (something, that would not be known by a
newbee). I kind of just guessed that at some point and decided to have a
look at the “Premium” link at the top of the page. I wrote to the support, and they
basically said ‘good catch’. But it’s still in the documentation. What is wrong with them?
(I don’t think I’m even the first one to run afoul of that issue, think I read someone else saying
that in the forum)
No way to decide when your new day starts and no sane default value.
(Who goes to bed at midnight?)
This really tripped me up when entering report data at 0:40 being counted for the ‘next’ day.
I would like to change the hexagon next to my ‘Name’ into a different
hexagon. Maybe have some choice in the hexagonic department, to make the
site feel more like home? Or do the number of the dots somehow reflect my
exact premium status (if so, I haven’t noticed and found it nowhere documented)?
It’s not terribly important, but seeing an icon like that sets up the expectation, that you can customize
it, like in Steam or even in bloody Windows 8. It’s a really bad sign, if Windows 8 does something better
Clicking the hexagonic icon in the top right and having the menu expand is all right.
But to shrink it again, I would expect to be able to click on anything else, not
necessarily the icon again. This is annoying, because it doesn’t feel
right to continue to use the dashboard, with the ‘thing’ hanging out. The space
feels jammed. Writing this down and seeing how silly that sounds, I
already don’t care anymore, but it did affect me, on like a subconscious
No way to have your own custom order in the goal list. They swoosh them around with every action you take,
disorienting you. I implemented that by adding numbers in front of each goal. Then at least I could
click the alphabetical order button twice to see my goals in the order I want to see them.
If you don’t want to implement that. Fine. Just give me the option to always start the Dasboard
in alphabetical order.
I DON’T GIVE A FUCK, WHAT YOU THINK IS IMPORTANT FOR ME TO SEE FIRST.
I WANT MY THINGS TO BE, WHERE THEY ALWAYS ARE. LIKE A NORMAL PERSON.
Apparently when you change a comment for a data entry and then click ‘update’, it reloads the
graph. It should detect first, if any data was actually changed. I think it’s not necessary to
even click ‘update’, when just changing a comment, but that’s far from clear.
Enough space for medium sized goal names to be fully shown in the
dashboard view. “12_evening-protocol” should not have to be abbreviated. There is so much
unused whitespace on the Dashboard even with half a screen of a 1080p monitor.
Seeing tons of data at once on one screen is essential for a QS app.
Same for comments.
What does this line mean exactly?
‘goal-name’ limit +11.25 safe for 4 days, 12:43:36 or pay $5
Nothing is documented. Nothing is ever explained.
I want to do some simple goals, like measuring my bodyfat. The goal
is successful (according to my intuition), if I lower it by a few predetermined percentage points till the end
of the year. I want to measure it weekly on every Sunday, bcs. any intervals shorter than
that would be stupid. But I get stupid derail prompts all the time,
during the week. So just get fed up and delete the thing and add impossible
values just to shut it up, so it doesn’t bother me in the interim before deletion.
Also, I don’t consider myself derailing on a goal, when I’m like maybe
a few kg lighter than I ought to be (for a weight-gain goal) temporarily,
so I don’t really know how to set this up. I’m thinking like a system,
where I pay a twelth of say 100 Dollars into a pot and if I haven’t met
my goal at the end of the year, I don’t get it back (or just a part of it, depending
on how close I got). I know, this is not how Beeminder is supposed to work.
But I don’t know how it’s suppossed to work in these cases either.
They say, do-less is a good category for ‘body-fat-percentage’ or ‘weight-loss’,
but they don’t actually tell you how to implement them in any sane way. Where is
the documentation. I need some worked examples for this or I’ll just give up on certain goals
and really only use it for ‘inputs’ instead of ‘outputs’, which is sad.
Since the ‘description’ is utterly useless and so unasthetic, that I leave it blank,
I of course want more space in the fine-print. A goal is a contract between
your present self and your future self. The future self usually needs
convincing to keep to that contract with its past self, which it will most
likely not recognize as a legitimate authority. Therefore the contract
must eloquently lay out the reasoning, why it is advantageous to
honor the contract and for more complicated routine-building goals,
which steps are to be taken exactly as vague contracts are more
easily ignored or opportunistically misinterpreted.
AND YOU GIVE ME AN 80 PIXEL BOX FOR THIS, THAT FITS 35 CHARACTER PER LINE?!!
American date format only. You couldn’t imagine how confusing and harsh to read,
that is for people living in non-American countries.
They tell you when a CC-charge did not go through, but don’t give you any more
information, like an error code or a more specific ‘request denied’ message or anything more specific.
Maybe that’s fine in America, where everyone can be expected to
have multiple Credit Cards (or it’s at least much more common), but many
non-Americans only have one, and if a derailment-payment doesn’t go through,
then that is an issue that needs to be fixed with that Credit Card company.
Referring to a more explicit error could speed up the process.
And until it isn’t resolved, the whole service is pretty much useless, as I cannot use/edit
a goal anymore, that isn’t paying them.
Even if you want to adhere to the insane implied policy, that comments should not exceed
a length of 10 characters before abbreviation, external apps (like Complice) of course
use longer comments. Whenever you see abbreviation dots, it’s bad design.
Goals should (to quote Baumeister) represent ‘clear, bright lines’. If you have to tinker
around with them all the time, just to make them work the way you expect them to using trial and error,
and need a month throwing different things against the wall, just to see what you could work with,
then that is definitely not that. This tinkering to get it right through iteration encourages touching
and manipulating your goals, instead of setting them once and have them mean something.
Or not getting immediate feedback on your actions, bcs. the graph apparently needs 15 seconds
to update the entry of one datapoint (yeah right, I’m waiting for this).
This all encourages weaseling out.
Often I derailed on some of my goals in a very real manner, but I couldn’t take the promise
I made seriously, because, well the ‘other side of the bargain’ was also far from what I expected.