SimplyHired.com and User Experience

Wait, this isn’t going to be as technical as it sounds, trust me! 

Oh well, now that I have scared most folks off…

I’ve mentioned before that I am looking for a Permanent Position in Project Management in South Florida.  I also have mentioned how I go through 170 web pages a day in order to apply to likely positions.  Mostly I do that through www.dice.com, www.monster.com, and www.careerbuilder.com, but there are others.

I also have a weekly sweep of specific cities, counties, and companies that I do on the weekend that is another 170 pages.

Roughly.

Anything that slows down the way I use the browser effects how efficiently I can do this.

I’ve noticed a nasty habit creeping in the way many web pages are doing things. 

First some really basic instruction on what happens when you click on a link – VERY basic.

See a link.  Click on a link.  The link will take you to the next web page.

Simple, right?  That is how it is supposed to work.  If it happens that way, success.  Happy user and the “User Experience” is enhanced so that you are more likely to come back.  That “User Experience” is a very important field, many people are working on that sort of thing so that you really do come back.  After all they have ads and that is how you pay the web page – by your clicks.

Next Helpful Hint.  Control Click.  Also known as “Ctrl Click”. 

See a link.  Hold Ctrl and Click on that link.  The link will open in a new tab on modern browsers.  The old page stays there so you can refer to it.

Shift and Click work the same way except that it opens that page in a new browser window.

Go ahead and try either, I should still be here waiting for you.

See?  Wasn’t that helpful? 

I think so because that is the basis for my opening 170 web pages in 6 browser windows.   My little Core 2 Duo 12 inch convertible tablet is not going to open them all at once.   Too much for Firefox to do, so I broke it all up into roughly 30 tabs per browser window.

For example, I have a set of tabs that open up automatically.  That set goes to Dice.com and says “give me the first 10 pages that show any ‘project manager’ position within 25 miles of my current zip, and exclude the following companies”.  It will happily do that and more. 

The result is one browser window with those 10 dice searches, one page after another, loading in background for me.   Next I can go through those tabs, one at a time and look at the links. 

Remember that “ctrl-click”?

The next step is Ctrl-Clicking the links so they all happily open up in the next tabs.  All the other web pages stay there, it just creates a new one for the next click.

This works well for any list of links like the ones you find on a search engine like www.google.com or www.bing.com for example.  Find a recipe site with 10 recipes all of which include your favorite food?  Just Ctrl-Click and they will all open in tabs as you click them.  It’s really handy and it’s built in to the browsers.

Ok, so now you say what’s the problem?

Simply put, there is a nasty habit many web pages are doing that work fine if all you are doing is one thing at a time.  Who has time for that any more? 

Click on a link on some web sites, and they will put up an overlay on top of your web page that obscures what you had, and presents new information.  This is usually called a Light Box.  Here is why that can be a nasty problem.

www.simplyhired.com does this when you click on a link.  They’re so anxious to get you to log into their site that they put up a light box asking for login information when you click.  Then you have to stop what you were doing and click on the close “X” up at the top right corner of the light box so it will process your link.  Completely in conflict with opening up a bunch of links in tabs and working with these at your own time.

The way around that is to right click on that link and select “Open Link In New Tab”.  Yes, it is another step, and it is usually done after the second or third try.  

www.simplyhired.com is an aggregator of other people’s content.  They try to be a search engine of other job boards and achieve enough success that I have been coming back.  Major annoyance to go through that click-and-shock every time you find a link for this one site that is so different from normal.

A Better Solution is to use www.indeed.com as an aggregator for job postings.  They work “normally” when you click or ctrl-click on them, they don’t get in your way with weird light boxes and unnecessary web clicks.  I have even tricked the website to give me my 50 links in one tab which I do with Dice and Monster.  They’re completely configurable that way if you choose to monkey around with searches.

Another website that is guilty of this nonsense is www.facebook.com in the way they handle pictures.  Their User Interface at this moment is putting up a lightbox that covers up everything you look at with the picture that you were clicking on.  It also puts you back up at the top of the page you were looking at to begin with when you clicked on that picture.   At least links are being opened the correct way – the way you want them. 

Again, this sort of thing seems kind of small and inconsequential but there are many people working on this sort of detail.  When you change the way someone else’s browser works, there has to be a concrete reason for the change and it has to be done so that there is a concrete benefit.

Rarely if ever does that happen.

After clicking on one too many friend’s links in Facebook, and one too many links on Simply Hired, I noticed a review box in lime green with white text.  Lime Green?  White Text?  What were they thinking?   At any rate, I gave them my opinion above, in a condensed format.  I may as well give them feedback.  After all, I told them I would under no circumstances recommend them since there were too many sites that do it right.  I’ll probably keep using the site because I have some searches that once in a blue moon show what I am looking for that are not shown on the big boards, but I really wouldn’t miss them if I could get to the rest.

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