Close Encounter of the Third Kind

Sep 25, 2017

We put a great deal of effort into documenting DiskYT behavior. There is the intro page, multiple videos on YouTube and numerous pages on GitHub, describing in meticulous details all the DiskYT operations. If it was some CRM package, that would probably work. Unfortunately, this is not how people explore new things on the Internet. Most people prefer to muddle through without reading instructions and if the tool does not meet their expectations, they just move on.

In DiskYT the very first object that users create is a station (somewhat similar to the YouTube channel). The station is just a top folder, which contains all of your playlists (or folders with even more playlists). However, most people initially expect the very first object created to be a playlist and likely feel confused and disappointed, when the object created after initial drag and drop looks lifeless and not playable at all. The site visitors lose their interest at this point and just leave. The graveyard of multiple new channels without a single playlist seems to prove this theory.

Our first knee jerk reaction was to add even more prompts to guide users through the process. But on a second thought, maybe we can just automate playlist creation a bit more. Instead of creating just the first station, DiskYT now goes an extra mile, creating also a new playlist (a Disk) inside the new station and automatically navigating to the station’s page with the new playlist. It would hopefully make a bit more sense for the close encounter, making new users life easier.

There are a few downsides though. Now there is even more magic going and it is even harder to make some sense out of it. Also the documentation drifts even further away from the actual site behavior. With the limited resources we have to pick our battles though and apparently user experience is more crucial than any amount of documentation and help, regardless of how good they are.