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oDesk Job Watcher

October 5th, 2007 at 4:00am — Rating: Firefox pointFirefox pointFirefox no pointFirefox no pointFirefox no pointLink

oDesk has a great web site and provides the best way to remotely track the work that a freelancer does. I have to give oDesk credit. You don't see a Monster.com Firefox extension or any other job posting site creating extensions, do you?

Overview

The oDesk Job Watcher is very useful for the freelancer on the go. If you are working remotely on a laptop, the oDesk Job Watcher provides a way for you to instantly view a job in the status bar and quickly view the job description by right-clicking and heading over to their site.

Installation

I installed oDesk Job Watcher and restarted Firefox. The job watcher appeared in a status bar section requesting that I wait while it "loaded."

I waited and waited.

Then I waited a little longer. It still said it was "Loading..."

It took 10 minutes before I took some action. I left-clicked on the "Loading..." title. Nothing. I right-clicked on it. Ah Ha! Context Menu. I looked over the menu and clicked the Refresh Now item...

...and waited...and waited.

Then, I right-clicked on the "Loading..." text and selected the Hourly option. Bam! There was a job posting. Hmmm...I think the initial setup needs some work.

Features

There really isn't much to this extension aside from taking up space in the status bar. After fiddling with the extension and finally realizing how to retrieve a job posting, the first job appeared.

Whoa!

For those who were here last week (or veterans of Fireday) and read that when it comes to Firefox extensions, the status bar is prime real estate. <soapbox>Pick and choose your best extensions for the status bar. Ditch the rest.</soapbox>

Anyway, when I noticed the first job appear on the status bar, I was floored. It took up the remaining space of my status bar. It was an entire heading of a job post. At least 50 characters. Maybe longer. And that was just the job post.

The entire area had the identification of the extension ("oDesk Job Opening-"), the title of the job posted, the type of project (Hourly or Fixed), and when it was published on oDesk. Phew! That's a lot of information to put on the status bar. Ohhhh, my precious status bar.

Right-click on the job section to activate the context menu. In the context menu, you get 4 options: Refresh Now, Hourly, Fixed Price, and View this Job. I thought that if you left-clicked on the job, it would take you to the oDesk site to view the full description. No, it requires an additional click to "view the job."

The idea was that every 5 minutes, the extension would go out to oDesk and pull the latest job and display it in the status bar. I waited 10-15 minutes and the same job was sitting in my status bar. Ohhhh, my precious status bar.

Configuration

Configuration for the oDesk Job Watcher is not quite up to par.

For example, a dialog box for the extension should contain more configuration options instead of a simple "job type to search" combo box.

Where's my "About xxxxx" dialog box? Who made this extension?

oDesk Job Watcher configuration dialog

I was expecting maybe a custom timer in the configuration. You know, for every x number of minutes, go out and check oDesk for anything new.

Also, an "Options" item could've been added to the context menu to easily assist the user in accessing the configuration dialog. Not that there are many "Options."

Conclusion

The oDesk Job Watcher extension needs work. No doubt about it.

Some recommendations were discussed above, but one big thing is to go back to the drawing board and work on the usability issue with the status bar. Make it an icon so when you click on it, it displays the job description. And a notification indicator would work as well. You'll know when you receive a new job because the icon will change color or a sound will play or something.

Lastly, I went to oDesk's site to look for a specific area where this extension could be found. I looked all over the oDesk web site and couldn't find anywhere to download the extension at all. The only link I could find was the Mozilla Add-Ons link. I'm thinking oDesk doesn't want anything to do with their own extension by not exposing it on their site? I don't know. I'm just throwing it out there.

Until this extension becomes more user friendly, I am rating the oDesk Job Watcher a 2 out of 5.