Monday, July 27, 2009

I can get no satisfaction

This is bad when something that is supposed to be your satisfying helper brings you only the dissatisfaction. It might sound weird, and well, it is weird, but it is what it is.

While working with the great Twitterfeed service -- really, can't see anything bad about it despite on some slowness on responses and not really trackable errors from time to time, but it's still great service -- so, I got into some minor problems. On the page with feed stats I couldn't see the title of posts, just statistics of clicks, with no good idea which post are they referring to. Well, keeping in mind how valuable feedback could be for delivering the best UX, I decided to let them know.

And this is when the story begins. I was sent to Get Satisfaction site, which was pretty straightforwarded with an advise to ask a question. I did, went through the set of two or three screens, put all tags in place, title, uploaded an image, set my mood, whatever -- and clicked on the submit button.

Wow, I forgot to sign in, so I was given a several choice here. To register (nah), to use OpenID or to use Windows Live. I do have my Gmail account, so went through OpenID option. Well, never worked. It was asking me for my OpenID account, I was typing my Gmail one and was getting an error, like -- use a valid OpenID account or something like that.

Well, while I do not use my Windows Live account, I still have that. So I tried that and to the greatest extent of surpriseness it worked flawlessly! Except the minor disstraction again that I was asked for nickname, email and one more image to verify that I'm a human (not something I would suspect when using one-button-sign-in thing). One more thing was an email verification by email.

However, what was really frustrating is that I was sent back to the page with my original question asked and nothing else. It looks like it forgot about all titles, tags, images uploaded, mood, and everything-everything else. Come on, you should work on you flow, I said, and started from the very beginning. Then I clicked on submit button and...

Yes, it is what it is. An error. Unrecoverable and fatal. Untraceable and unexpected.

The link of "report this problem to us..." sends me to the Get Satisfaction page on itself. Well, it's good that your try to eat your own dog food, but not when it's broken. Otherwise, it leaves a user in speechless state, which is pretty unpleasant I should say. When I have a problem, the last thing I want to know, that there is one more problem to deliver my problem report.

So now you are not only adding some distraction working with product of Get Satisfaction, you actually do the same for your client, Twitterfeed. And this is really-really bad.

P.S. Shit happens, no doubts, but by no means, shit should be deliver to a user. Even when you've totally fucked up (read, unable to accept a problem report), provide an alternative way (read, good-old email would work!).