The UX of Freshlogic

By | October 9, 2007

As a follow up to the Filespots review, someone at Freshlogic asked me to review their competitor called Folders.  Although I feel that my expertise should be PAID for, I still can’t help myself.  Someone asking me to write a review of a cool new Web 2.0 app?  What can I do?  Maybe I should set up a PayPal or Amazon.com wishlist?  Next project for sure!

Ok, here is my quick and dirty review of Folders from Freshlogic.  As always, I pull no punches.

  1. First off, Folders is a terrible name for a product?  Come on, seriously.  Come up with a better name.
  2. Overall, the visual design is OK.  I give it a B-.  The contrast is poor.  Too many light colors.  The text contrast is terrible.  Gray on Gray.  Green on Green.  Also, the fonts are tiny.  Give people a chance to read stuff.  That font is super small.
  3. View Details didn’t work.  No, wait, it DID work.  I was on the view with details in the first place.  However, this isn’t a traditional details view.  Details is a grid, with columns.  This is a different view altogether and it’s hard to read.  We proved that this sort of layout is inferior to the column grid in a test at Intuit on their shopping cart (Allurent).  A blob had 10% more drop off than the grid.  Sorry no screen shots available.  But it was an interesting test.  I could have fixed it, but the powers that be…oh well.  You know who you are!
  4. What’s with the ads?  Google has proven that text ads are much better than banners.  I would take the entire right side of the screen and put google ad sense ads.  it would make the user feel you aren’t pushing it in their faces.  Plus it would increase click-through rates.
  5. When I uploaded a doc, it made a visual wierd error.
  6. Some good news:  The Select Marquee feature is excellent.  It did exactly what I expected.  Drag and drop from the marquee was also intuitive for the most part.
  7. Right click context menus were very nice.  We use iconExperience icons too.  On the one hand, they are an awesome collection with broad uses.  The problem is that everyone uses them.  For a collection that big, they could have charged more.  There needs to be a high-end competition for those icons.
  8. Metaphor with address bar is wrong.  The arrow is supposed to drop down a menu like Vista.  Clicking the arrow did the opposite thing of what I expected.
  9. No tree.  Significant shortcoming.  A folder metaphor with no tree is like a desktop metaphor with no icons.
  10. Permissions and subscriptions are supercool.  They could be even more robust.  Give individuals permissions right there.  Hotkoko had this and it was awesome.
  11. Effects are smooth.  Nice, nice.
  12. No preview inline.  Uses lightbox.  Not a smooth interaction on that.  You should make thumbnails.
  13. Search has the smallest searchbox I have ever seen.  Please increase the font in the search and give it padding.

Overall, it’s ok, but nothing spectacular.  Here is my suggestion.  Starting tom morrow, go to EXT.  Find the beta1 demo of the Web Desktop.  I would immediately swap your UI for that framework and embed your application into it.  If you do, you will leapfrog your competition by 10 miles in 10 days.  I have seen a sample of it and it is “kick you in the nuts” fantastic.   (That’s good)

7 thoughts on “The UX of Freshlogic

  1. Lux

    Glen, if you want to get paid to do UX reviews, I would very strongly suggest setting it up as a side consulting business on a separate site. At the very least, you’ll need to carefully delineate blog content that you’re paid to create versus content that you create for free or risk falling afoul of Google’s “no paid links” rubric.

    See: http://searchengineland.com/071007-173841.php and many others for some details on how to do it without messing up your Google juice.

    Reply
  2. Glen Lipka Post author

    Nah, I don’t really want to be paid to do a review on my blog. I’d be happy to be paid to do a private review, but truthfully, I just do it for the fun of it. The reviews on this blog are purely for the love of UX. That way I feel I can say whatever I want.

    However, I still should put in a Amazon wishlist for you to get me cool Chanukah presents!

    Reply
  3. Lux

    However, I still should put in a Amazon wishlist for you to get me cool Chanukah presents!

    LOL.

    Reply
  4. Shawn Miller

    Can’t believe I missed this review until now! Good thoughts! We have some work to do on “Folders” before it’s as nice as our Web 2.0 mapping application called “Atlas”.

    You should give that one a review; we just did a bunch of enhancements… I think you might like it (http://atlas.freshlogicstudios.com/)

    Reply
  5. Glen Lipka Post author

    @shawn: I took a look at it. I just don’t get it. It’s pretty and all, but why not just use http://local.live.com. I don’t see the added benefit.

    It sort of feels like you are building stuff because you can, but not because of a huge demand from the market. You guys have oodles of talent that is visible from your work, but the products themselves just don’t seem breakthrough to me. Sorry.

    Folders has potential, but execution (as stated above) needs work. Atlas seems to be a visual “theme” on Microsoft’s site.

    I hate it when I am the bearer of bad news.

    Reply
  6. Shawn Miller

    @Glen: Agree with you that http://local.live.com is a great site, but last time I checked they don’t have near the specialized list of features Atlas provides. Not a shortcoming on their part. It’s not what their service is meant to do.

    Atlas provides many features above and beyond, including: events search, lowest gas price search, package tracking, wifi hotspot locator, movie showtimes… not to mention a GPS tracking API, Twitter feeds, Flickr integration… the list goes on.

    Too bad you don’t get it. At least we’re not the only ones who like it: http://scobleizer.com/2006/01/10/cool-virtual-earth-mashup/

    Reply
  7. Glen Lipka Post author

    Sorry, I calls em as I sees em. It’s a nice interface. Not sure how you make money off it. I’m not saying it’s not cool in a vacuum. I am just saying, “You guys are super talented. This particular application seems a waste of your talent in terms of solving world hunger or other big problems.”

    Reply

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