Interrogate an Interface

 DraftIn.com – Project One

For project number two I choose the web application DraftIn.com to analyze for my project. This application is designed for users interested in technical writing as a source to easily copy-edit, sync versions on clouds, make mark downs, and overall analyze drafts. The internet has created a place for users to share nearly anything in a matter of seconds, and these cloud like tools have instantaneous changed the world of writing and copyediting indefinitely. Previously when editors were contracted by writers- editing and proofreading could have taken months or years because the process of finding, mailing, and copyediting was so extremely slow. As the times of technology have advanced: researching, documenting, typing, copyediting and proofreading have changed drastically because of web applications like DraftIn.com.

The creator of DraftIn.com, Nate Kontny states in the About Section, “You don’t need writing software; you need someone’s feedback on your work. You don’t need distraction free text editors; you need to find ways to write more concisely, more clearly. You don’t need real time collaboration software; you need bigger audience for your writing. I’m working on Draft to provide you what you need. What I need.” (DraftIn.com, About). In my opinion, this is a great opening quote and really relays a message to his users! Nate Kontny did not create this website for an audience but for himself. Unlike most web application created by a coder working a day job for a company looking to profit of the advertisements, Nate created the Draft In application because he identified a need in his own life and he has shared his own designs with the public.

DraftIn.com is a simple site in appearance. It uses white space as a means of simplicity but Home Page ImageI also find the use of white space to be intriguing. Users cannot find out many details about the site from the home page which is displayed to the left, but I think this grabs one attentions and forces you to enter further into the site to understand exactly what DraftIn.com is all about. As you continue into the site, you will be asked to create a username and password. In all of my internet searching (which is a lot) I have never found a site that did not ask for my phone number, home address, and other irrelevant and useless contact information. I was pleasantly surprised when literally a username and password was all DraftIn.com required before you were able to roam the site freely, I found this to be the websites greatest linguistic affordance. The next step users will typically take is to upload a first draft. There is a red IMPORT button that can be found on the left hand of the screen that allows users to upload a draft from the following options which include My Computer, Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote, Link (URL), Box, FTP. After researching some of these options which I had never heard before I found that DraftIn.com has partnered with other creative web applications to make accessibility easy and convenient to the user. Specifically I Googled Evernote which is a software and service designed for note taking and archiving. Ideally the site might have a bit of detail underneath the word Evernote for users who are not sure of this tool. A constraint of this web application could be that users would not utilize this tool because a description is not provided. After a document has been chosen from a source for upload a window will pop up similar to the image displayed to the right. The text reads, “Anyone with this link can see and edit your document. You’ll get an email alert to accept or reject their changes” (DraftIn.com). Following this statement is a URL, highlighted for the convenience of the user to copy and share with other interested parties. This simple pop-up states in two short sentences both the purpose and outcomes for sharing a URL. I think the last sentence is most crucial because as a new user I would be worried that other would make changes to my work without my consent, but adding that you can accept and reject changes gives new users a piece of mind in receiving edits. Next users can access their own drafts by choosing a documents listed on the home screen. When entering into the editing center there are TOOLS AVAILABLEseveral tools available in the dark grey square box displayed in the right top corner, see image to left. After selecting the square box a drop down will unfold with twelve options including To Do, Mark Snippet, Comment, Footnote, Hemingway Mode and much more. Each of the options was designed to help users design, edit, copyedit and proofreading writers content on the web that can be shared to a number of viewers by means of a web cloud. The Draft In application serves a variety of users for convenience, simplicity, and accessibility. The Hemingway Tool can easily be summed up into the simple statement “write drunk; edit sober” – DraftIn.com advises users to use writing and HEMINGWAYediting as two different functions. When this function is on – note image to the right which can be found in the bottom corner of DraftIn.com page – users can only write, and the ability to delete anything within your document is turned off. This tough is especially helpful in rough drafts because all initial thoughts and ideas are good, and can always be revised later!

While DraftIn.com has many obvious affordances some of the constraints are not as obvious. In browsing the site the tools available are helpful and creative but overall the tools are limited. Many editors have probably got in use to the tools accessible on word including bullets, styles, highlighting, erasing, strike out and so much more and unfortunately these tools are limited on DraftIn.com. While I do not necessary see a purpose for all the tools available in Microsoft and on Word within this web application, users might feel a  constraint when they so happen to want to use a specific tool and it is not available. Similarly the tools are not available in a top header similar to Microsoft applications but rather highlightusers would have to highlight the text and then follow the grey box in the drop down to view all the tools and further select the tool they wish to use (please refer to image on the left).

In short that is DraftIn.com: a creative, user friendly, simple web application for writer and copy editors interested in the accessibility of online web clouds for the purpose of sharing drafts. DraftIn.com is a relatively new site which Nate Kontny has developed for users but for himself as well. This site includes three of the five multi-modes discussed previously in lecture which include linguistic, visual and spatial. Of the five modes of communication, linguistics is one of the heaviest uses of communication on DraftIn.com. It is a source of function between Nate and his audience, organized for writing and content development. The next largest source of communication within the web application spatial, because the site is designed for the simplest of users and emphasizes the audiences and users purpose for entering the site. The spatial development helps users avoid distraction and focus on the purpose, to develop content and edit drafts. Finally the visual mode overlaps with the spatial mode in that the visual design is simply. The web application helps users create content and the minimum distractions included in the layout and style help the audience achieve a single purpose. Overall I identify an overwhelming connection with the spatial and visual modes which relay a large affordance for users who typically get distracted on websites which elaborate designs and advertisements. I am excited to watch this site as it develops progressively over the few year and really taking off! It has great potential and I look forward to using it in my own daily life very soon!

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