If you're a developer and like to keep up-to-date with the trends in IT, and maybe learn a useful extra, you probably also read www.dzone.com. Community based, users post links that must get 4 votes to be promoted to the first page. The natural consequence is that the quality of the links depends solely on the number of active, voting users (since the "providers" and the "consumers" are the same group in this model).
Recently I noticed the announcement posted above the links list:
Well, I'm not a usability expert, but I think there is an elementary problem with the design of the dzone site that keeps users from voting. At least, it's keeping me from voting for links, new or front page.
I'm a mass surfer (and prolly most dzone readers are too). I use the middle mouse button to open tabs in the background (Firefox), and when I finish with one page, I close it and move to the next.
With dzone, this led to a problem. Once, I middle click on all the links that seem interesting from the main page, I get a bunch of opened tab that don't give me any additional information (except from the comments, maybe). So I use the middle mouse button again to open the links to the original pages, to see what they're really about. And I get something like this (but usually with more tabs :D):
So, in order to get to vote, I have to keep all the dzone tabs opened (or at least the links list), read through all the original pages, and then come back to the dzone site and actually rate the sites from what I remember. Or, keep on switching from each site to dzone to cast my vote. And that just ain't my style :)
I'm sure there are solutions. One I can think about right away would be to open the full original pages in a iframe and keep the dzone summary with the vote-up and vote-down buttons in a top iframe, similar to the way google opens images in the image search. Even better, mess with the original page a little and add the vote-up, vote-down button fixed in the upper right corner (this would be really cool, since when you go to the close tab button - if you use it - it is very easy for you to cast your vote).
There might be better ways to solve this. But if I'd have an option to cast my vote in the same place where the content that is producing it is located, I wouldn't miss rating one link.