Sep 23

Never underestimate the value of usability testing. Last week, we invited 5 people over to the office to do some testing. No one outside the office had tested the system before and only one had (barely) seen it before.

We had prepared an iMac in the office with a usability testing software called Silverback. Great piece of software!

Silverback is pretty simple, it lets you record all actions on the screen, including video and audio of the user. It’s easy to spot interaction, mouse clicks are highlighted beautifully. Very simple, but very powerful.

I didn’t realize how much of value this testing was for us.. We got it served to us, black on white. FAIL!

The advanced uploader? FAIL

The batch operations page? FAIL

The signup? FAIL

Well, not really, but they were definitely broken in a usability sense. Why is it so? Because spending hundreds of hours staring at the same damn page makes you blind! So what did we do? We fixed it of course! 🙂

Thanks to these testers, we have made some great improvements on usability, but is it enough? I personally think that it is enough now, but in the long run? I believe we have to have another usability evening to answer that one.

We will definitely do usability testing on new features in the future and continue to improve what we have. Please, as soon as we launch beta, help us become better!

Feedback is best given at our getsatisfaction site.

Getsatisfaction is a great place for everyone to vote on features, report bugs, and voice their opinions. You are warmly welcome! 🙂

Sep 17

Most people don’t know how bad a browser Internet Explorer is. We have stopped supporting IE6 because of its limitations and bugs (it is after all a 7 year old browser). How about IE7 then? I’m sorry to say that IE7 isn’t much better. It is amazing how much time we spend on fixing workarounds to make stuff work in IE, its very rare that we have issues with other browsers (Firefox, Safari, Opera), they usually work the same way. If not, the bugs will get fixed within a reasonable timeframe.

A little company like us, with only 4 developers, the time spent on IE is very noticable. Time tables gets skewed, delays, and in some cases we have to drop making cool stuff because it simply would take us too much time to make it work on IE. This was one of the reasons we decided to drop IE6.

Now, if only IE7 was as good as it was meant to be. It is not. The most recent bug in IE7 came with a security patch. It broke not only our code, but most of the sites using prototype js library.

I’m not alone when I say, Microsoft, take your responsibility as a marketshare leader and fix your bugs! I believe that not only we (the expono dev team) but thousands of web developer hopes IE8 will put an end to all this.

I also urge all existing users to try out other browsers like Firefox, Safari, Opera, or even the new google browser Chrome when it comes out of beta (which actually already works better than IE in beta).

Sep 11

We are LIVE! Sort of …

By Magnus Uncategorized No Comments »

After a couple of weeks of delays we are finally live on our production environment. We have made the bold but sensible choice of going 100% cloud computing. It significantly lowers our costs, and makes it a lot easier for us to scale. We have spent the last 2-3 weeks working on migration and deployment to the cloud. I will return in a future post, compiling a list of benefits and drawbacks. It’s a little too early to say right now.

Next weeks focus will be bugfixing and QA testing the production platform and software. We will slowly start invites as soon as we feel comfortable. Expect the server availability to be somewhat unreliable during next week, as we sometimes need to restart instances to make sure scripts work as expected.

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