The windsurfer and user experience

This post is part rant and part non-rant about two topics that I feel passionate about. First up windsurfing (which becomes skiing during the winter months but that is another story), and the second user experience.

First up, I was windsurfing again yesterday, 20 knots winds from the south to south west, a bit like now, and it rocked! Water starts coming together nicely even starting to get the feel of when it will work and when it won’t. Once I was up a couple of times I was going like a “bat of hell”, ok maybe not as fast as the 29 other guys out there but it was fast for me.

During the afternoon a few things happened. The first two whenever I put my feet in the foot straps or hooked in my harness, WACK! I was in the water. Reason I was not using the board correctly and I need a lesson.

Second up once on a plane I started to get the feel of the board under my feet, adjust the weight a little and I started to change directions. Overall a fantastic user experience, I was in control! It was not all clean sailing but I am still learning and not surprised. The afternoon ended after about 1.5 hours of pure fun, even when I was being thrown through the air off my board.

Now contrast this with my upgrade experience with Windows Media Player 11 in the morning. I booted up my home PC, was prompted for a new WMP so decided to upgrade, we were to create a video from the cricket on Friday night. Went through the upgrade process, forced to reboot, something that always sucks but anyway. Once rebooted we did not open WMP directly instead I went into Movie Maker which uses WMP embedded. Made the movie in about 20 minutes work for BJ and I, the camera work is crap but it was a last minute idea.

Now after showing it to the family it was lunchtime, went up stairs turned on the XBox 360 for some tunes and NOTHING. The XBox could not connect to the PC, crap the upgrade must of done something! Back on the PC (while the BBQ was on) I opened up WMP 11 and was prompted to reset up my Windows Media Sharing, WTF! Went through the process turned the sharing back on, authorised the XBox done, now back for the tunes over lunch.

Still nothing.

Down to the PC more fiddling, adjusting the firewall settings, could this be it? Still nothing. Now this worked faultlessly BEFORE the upgrade, there was no mention of changes to my Windows Media Sharing during the process (not that I saw). Grrrr!!

Back up to the XBox and begin resetting up the networking, then I see it! When WMP turned back on sharing it changed the name of the share. Back to the XBox changed the settings to use the new share and we were back in business.

The issues with the upgrade were that WMP changed my settings and did not inform me the user what it was doing. I don’t mind if I know and then things don’t work its the not telling me that gets me, Robert Scoble agrees. Nor did the upgrade leave my system in the state it was before the upgrade, sharing turn off and a new name for the share.

Crappy user experience and the sort of thing that makes people hate upgrades from Microsoft. Being a bit of a geek I had problems, but what about the average job, it is just too hard.

2 thoughts on “The windsurfer and user experience

  1. I had been on the fence about my plans for the coming weekend (windsurf, or upgrade software…which would be more satisfying?) but your tale has cleared it up.

    I’d rather waterstart than reboot!

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