A very established design guideline is that software should be "considerate" (as Alan Cooper would put it), and never waste people’s time; interfaces should prevent errors that would otherwise cause loss of data, and it doesn't take years of usability finding to come to that conclusion, common sense would suffice.
A very established design guideline is that software should be "considerate" (as Alan Cooper would put it), and never waste people’s time; interfaces should prevent errors that would otherwise cause loss of data, and it doesn't take years of usability finding to come to that conclusion, common sense would suffice. We’ve nevertheless all experienced of how badly observed this design principle is. Sometimes it happens for technical reasons, and it seems to be the case in question here. I am talking about a loss-of-data problem I've experienced multiple times on My Maps by Google (web version). If you leave a map open on a tab in your browser (on desktop in this case), and come back after a few hours or the day after, chances are the app is going to look like it's working normally, except all the data you enter is not going to be saved. Apparently the app keeks working as usual, retrieving data from the database when searching for locations, letting you add them to your custom map, edit descriptions, add pictures... all interactions are working normally, but in reality all the layers and locations that you've been patiently adding are going to disappear as long as you close the map, and won't be there anymore. Apparently when this happens, the data is just stored locally on your browser, and when the map gets loaded again in the browser, all the work done is gone! (if you ever come to realise, because no error messages are given). This problem has been around for quite a while, 2-3 years to say the least, and from what I could judge a few weeks ago, it hasn’t been solved yet.
This happened several times in the past, and each time the only thing I could do was swear out loud till my neighbours were woken up, and acknowledge that the work I thought was gone. I once lost four full hours of meticulous work (search for cherry-picked, hard-to-find locations, adding descriptions, and so on). On that occasion, I created a post on the community forum that had generated a few replies, including from someone who seemed to be in touch with the team at Google. After a reply from me in which I questioned the competence of the developers who are working on the app, the post was deleted. Nothing offensive really, maybe I was a little bit harsh because of the frustration I was experiencing, but there was certainly no reason to delete the whole post, with no reasons given.
I should also point out that this was not an isolated issue, other posts on the same problem, created by other people, are still visible in the community forum, see for example:
A similar fate happened to another post that I created almost a year ago, to notify the Google team about a problem that had giving me headaches for months. After spending countless hours creating custom maps on my desktop computer, an update to the Android app caused all the markers on the existing maps to be rendered without the colours that were used on desktop, to differentiate the markers from different layers, and that for me was big deal. Not only the bug has never been addressed, but I recently found out that a clean and simple solution exists; I had to find that out myself, because nobody at Google ever bothered to reply. In this case, too, other posts are still available on the forum, but it's not possible to add comments that would help out other people.
I still have a copy of all threads from these two posts in my email, and I could not find anything that justify the deletion. You can judge by yourself:
This post doesn't exist any more, because someone deleted it (it's still indexed on Google, though: https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=%22Maps+created+on+my+Mac+%28desktop%29+are+not+rendered+properly+on+an+Android+device%22).
I've finally decided that I would talk about this on my own website, where I am the only one who can decide whether it should stay online or not.