Usability is everything in web applications and nothing brought this home to me more than my experience with Windows Live Spaces: http://livesessions.spaces.live.com Microsoft’s answer to www.myspace.com
Social networking is a massively important part of marketing and communication assisting with getting gigs, building a fan base and sharing your music with the world. Myspace is an amazing tool for this and amongst it’s many benefits is that is SOOOO simple to use:
– You sign up
– You add a picture
– You write a biog
– you upload a song(s)
– add any gigs
…and you’re good to go – it can take as little as 15 mins from any PC or PDA.
So, anyway, I’m signed up to a bazillion other sites like it so I thought I’d add Microsoft’s one to the list.
Here’s a blow by blow account of what happened:
– I logged onto the site from my Macbook. It told me that it would only work in windows. So I rebooted my machine and using bootcamp ran windows. (this was the first reboot!)
– Now running windows I went back to the site and tried to register a music profile. It told me I need to register as an individual.
– I registered as an individual but couldn’t see anywhere where I could upload my tunes.
– So I went back to the music section and it told me I need to download a special application to upload my songs from ( a simple ‘upload’ button clearly wasn’t good enough for this site)
– I downloaded the software and the message came up that I first needed to load the Microsoft .Net framework on my machine.
– I went to the Microsoft site and downloaded the .Net framework. After installation I needed to reboot my machine (reboot number 2!)
– After rebooting I tried to install the new software only to find that because I hadn’t had the .Net framework installed it hadn’t actually saved the installer to my machine.
– I went back to the site and started the download again.
– This time it worked! yay!……Just needed to….. reboot!…again! (number 3!)
– tired and drained, I ran the software which basically gave me a screen where I could find the Mp3’s and using a cunning ‘upload’ button to magic them away to the new live sessions site.
– I did this and then logged back into my personal profile and wondered how, now I’d uploaded my mp3’s how to get them on my page.
– I followed some instruction that took me to the music section where it said I was successful and for all my efforts I know had my own unique RSS feed and a URL that I cut and paste!
– bewildered I did this and went back to my personal profile and, following more instructions realised I needed to customise my profile by adding an RSS feeds section.
– I did this and then it gave me another interface where I could cut and paste any feeds I wanted into it.
– not being one to give up (you may have guessed this by now) I refreshed the page, reset my feeds up, my rss link and this time it worked!!
– I now had 4 hyperlinks in the top left of profile – not a music player, no ‘play’ button or other niceties… 4 hyperlinks.
– I clicked one and it loaded up windows media player and…..didn’t play my tune!…why?… because I needed to upgrade my windows player to allow some thingamy to play my mp3
– with ever last bit of strength I had left I went through the upgrade process and at the end it told me ‘you have the latest software, you cannot upgrade at this time!’
– I rebooted my machine (number 4!)
– went to my profile site
– clicked on my link
– it opened up Media Player and my beautifully crafted song played out my speakers – wahooo!!! – so I now have an empty profile with 4 hyperlinks to my tunes.
– at some point this week I will return and do battle with blogs, images, events and a biog if I can face it.
…the whole process above took 55 minutes and 4 reboots of my computer.