Need someone to lead product management at your software company? I create software for people that create software and I'm looking for my next opportunity. Check out my resume and get in touch.

ThinkFree -- making it hard to sign up

Freshness Warning
This blog post is over 17 years old. It's possible that the information you read below isn't current and the links no longer work.

ThinkFree is an online office suite that promises one thing that others don’t—collaboration. I’m working on a set of Powerpoint slides with some other people and thought it would be nice to try an online tool instead of emailing the file around.

But they sure don’t make it easy to sign up. Trying from my Mac in Firefox 2, I filled out the signup screen and was greeted by a useless form error message. "Permission Denied"

signup error screenshot

No explanation of why. No suggestions how to fix it. Are they perhaps limiting the number of people who can sign up? Or did I make a mistake when completing the Captcha? There’s no way to know. They should read Simplified Form Errors.

The help files don’t mention the problem. But I notice in hte system requirements for OSX that Firefox 1.5 is required. I swap my user-agent string so the browser reports itself as Firefox 1.5 and try again. Still no dice.

Over to the Windows machine to sign up via IE7. This time it works. But the confirmation email that comes in is a multipart message with both text and HTML versions. Only the text version is blank, meaning my text-only email client can’t see it.

email confirmation screenshot

I’ve got to view the source of the HTML version to get the activation URL so I can start using the thing.

If it’s this hard to even sign up, how can it possibly be easy to use?

Charleston
December 11, 2006 1:23 PM

Geez, you'd think people would test this stuff in different browsers. I was trying out a similar project (salesboom) and none of the windows size correctly in Firefox or even let you adjust them to the correct size. Hence, the windows are unreadable and unusable. C'mon IT geeks from thinkfree, salesboom, and whatever "me too" collaboration tool that comes down the pipe. Online software services become commoditized so quickly (especially if Google creates something) that you need to get loyal customers. A product that is easy to use keeps customers from switching - especially those that do not like fiddling with technology. That is the market and if the forms can't even be filled out or the most basic commands used, that target market will be lost in the blink of an eye

digitalnomad
June 13, 2007 7:58 PM

Have to agree with you Adam. I had these same problems, and write blogs about this stuff. Now I too will have to give a bad report.

This discussion has been closed.

Recently Written

Great prodct managers own the outcomes (May 14)
Being a product manager means never having to say, "that's not my job."
Too Big To Fail (Apr 9)
When a company piles resources on a new product idea, it doesn't have room to fail. That keeps it from succeeding.
Go small (Apr 4)
The strengths of a large organization are the opposite of what makes innovation work. Starting something new requires that you start with a small team.
Start with a Belief (Apr 1)
You can't use data to build products unless you start with a hypothesis.
Mastery doesn’t come from perfect planning (Dec 21)
In a ceramics class, one group focused on a single perfect dish, while another made many with no quality focus. The result? A lesson in the value of practice over perfection.
The Dark Side of Input Metrics (Nov 27)
Using input metrics in the wrong way can cause unexpected behaviors, stifled creativity, and micromanagement.
Reframe How You Think About Users of your Internal Platform (Nov 13)
Changing from "Customers" to "Partners" will give you a better perspective on internal product development.
Measuring Feature success (Oct 17)
You're building features to solve problems. If you don't know what success looks like, how did you decide on that feature at all?

Older...

What I'm Reading

Contact

Adam Kalsey

+1 916 600 2497

Resume

Public Key

© 1999-2024 Adam Kalsey.