I came across uploadthingy.com via Hacker News last week. The idea is that you enter in your domain and a password, and it generates some HTML for you which allows visitors to upload files via your site, except the uploads are sent to uploadthingy. It basically takes away the hassle of having to deal with file uploads (no viruses for my server, thanks!)

The idea itself is intriguing, and I can see straight away where it would be useful. At work, we frequently have clients who need to send us files (such as artwork, proofs, etc) and this requires either clogging up e-mail with huge attachments, or trying to talk someone who may not be computer literate through the process of logging in to an FTP site. Almost everyone who has used the Internet has filled out a form before, and therefore this becomes the easy alternative.

Sign-up to the site was short and easy — I love short and easy — although there was a small bug with the “What’s this?” pop-up next to “Domain it will live on:” (top of the pop-up is obscured by my browser toolbars). I was able to log in and clearly see where I’d be picking files up from where I to receive any. It is clearly not by any means a complicated service to use, making it ideal for “mom and pop” sites who may not have the funds or ability to code up this functionality themselves.

Design-wise I had a few concerns. The purple links remind me too much of the default browser visited link colour, which may confuse visitors in to thinking they’d already clicked on certain things. Likewise, the navigation across the top is the same colour as the text, so it’s not clear that they’re links at all. I’m not entirely sure whether or not I like the little post-it notes everywhere either, especially as the majority of these seemed to have missing alt attributes.

On a personal level, I know I would struggle to find a use for it (and would not want to hand over a monthly fee for something I could code myself) but it’s definitely something I will be adding to my “link toolbox” for professional projects. It does make me wonder though… if we start outsourcing every component of a website, when does the website itself become redundant? ;)

Comments

  1. says

    Yeah, design could use a little work, but it’s certainly a unique and interesting service that I’m sure a lot of people would find beneficial.

  2. says

    Thanks for your comments on uploadthingy – you hit the nail on the head as to what we’re trying to achieve – and thanks for pointing out the bug (it’s actually just there to keep Murphy happy – haha) and also the missing alts, going to do that asap. We’re actually really having fun with the stickies… the metaphor just seems to fit (quick & easy)… And I can understand how you wouldn’t want to spend money on something that you could build yourself – but keeping it in a toolbox and being able to easily plug it into a professional project (printers!) is what we’re aiming for.

  3. says

    I use a very simple PHP uploader which puts the files up on Amazon’s S3 service. That way I don’t have to worry about putting up files on my own hosting, and rather than pay the monthly fee, I only pay (the very reasonable rate) for what I use.

    Also useful is that I signed up with a Visa gift card which I picked up from Natwest for a couple of quid, that way I don’t have to worry about using any credit cards for the service (I prefer to use my debit cards wherever it can be helped).

  4. says

    Well, you’re right about the links: I was like "Woah, when have I visited these places before?". And I didn’t even notice the top navigation links until I hovered over them. Nice idea, though, I guess. ;)

  5. says

    Well, you’re right about the links: I was like "Woah, when have I visited these places before?". And I didn’t even notice the top navigation links until I hovered over them. Nice idea, though, I guess. ;)