ma.gnolia thoughts

So, I went to the Future of Web Apps summit in London this week. I may have a full post about that soon—but this isn’t it.

During a presentation by Tara Hunt and Chris Messina (Fostering Online Communities), Chris showed a cool new feature of ma.gnolia that really piqued my interest. Despite being a long-time user (my first bookmark was on 12/31/2003), I thought I’d try ma.gnolia (again) with a fresh perspective and an open mind.

Here are a few of my thoughts on the site and app after using it for just a few minutes:

  1. Using OpenID – Good job :)
  2. They need help with their “Blank state” pages (pages that don’t have data yet). When I first signed in, and didn’t have any bookmarks, friends or groups, my main page was a bit bare. Blank slates are a great opportunity to show the user either what the page could look like when they’re really rockin’ or, a call to action on how to start rockin’. 37Signals has lots to say about this subject.
  3. The Dashboard widget is neat. A few complaints about it:
    • it doesn’t allow me to sign in with OpenID (which the main site does)
    • just like their popups, the tag suggestions are based only off MY bookmarks, not other peoples. This is something that may seem small, but by showing what others have tagged a site with (and even helping you type them), you can amplify a common vocabulary.
    • It puts the contents of my clipboard in the description portion… yuch!
  4. My import from still hasn’t happened yet! What gives?
  5. It’s slow. Could be bad timing on my part, or my sketchy WiFi in London, but it’s a lot slower than at this moment. I’m going to reserve judgement on that for now.
  6. It’s NOT just a pretty a clone (anymore) – SHOCKING! I held this belief until talking to Chris about the site, and actually playing with it myself. I now see that I was unfairly judging it (I do think they have an image problem though). What it gives you above and beyond are the community aspects of something like Flickr. A really neat bit is the “give thanks” (which is the feature I alluded to before)
  7. Their pagination really stinks… in a few places, each “page” is 5 or so items… What.The.Hell!
  8. Commas instead of spaces for tagging. This is 100% a personal preference, but I like spaces!

I think they’re doing some good stuff—I’m not ready to throw out just yet, but I will be posting to both services until one of them is less compelling to me.