Wednesday, September 10, 2008

When Progress - Isn't

Yesterday was a big day in terms of the tech world - with the TechCrunch 50 in day 2, and Apple getting all fresh nanos and an update to iTunes. So, I thought it would be a good time for me to get caught up on my reading and to get "with" the day's happenings.

So I broke out my Adobe Creative Suite 3 (Design Premium) Installer (what the hell committee thought that was a GOOD name?) - and since I know that installing anything Adobe - and especially anything to do with Photoshop - would take forever, I planned accordingly.

For example, I had a separate computer all set up with my social network logins and browsers (including the new Chrome browser that I'm test driving) and I was all set to go. I even "allowed" myself 2 full hours (1 before lunch and one after) to read and get caught up. I even took a full 1 hour lunch (usually I snarf a sandwich at the desk) in between - to give it 3 full hours to do its thing.

I put in the installer CD - accepted all the defaults - and let 'er rip. An hour later, the progress bar was about 1/3 of the way ("Installing common components") - so I left to go to lunch.

I even WALKED to the nearest Whole Foods (about 3/4 of a mile away), ate, stopped in Best Buy, then walked back. The installer was now 2/3 of the way done.

"Great!," I thought to myself; "it will be done in just 3 hours." Well, sort of.

The installer got to 100% (there are two progress bars - just so you REALLY know how far you are) - and then just sat there. The hard drive would twinkle every now and then, but the "Cancel" button was still lit.

So I let it go for another hour. Still, nothing - progress bars at 100%. Then I let it go one MORE hour. Still, nothing.

Then, I get all "Bob Cusick" on it - and hit "Cancel", then just force quit the damn thing. Then, I thought - "Hey, it probably got some of the stuff installed - so let's just try to 'repair' it!".

What a good idea that was... NOT.

This time it took only 3.5 hours to "repair" all the stuff... and it just sat there doing nothing at the end. Again. So, this time I just did a restart - and it looks like everything is there... we'll see.

The whole point of this post is this:
  1. Make your progress bars accurate as to the real progress
  2. If you don't know how long it will take - say so - in text - up front
  3. ALWAYS tell the user, in text, what is happening
  4. Do not make such bloatware that it requires 3+ hours to install - or tell the user it will take 9 days when they choose the option to install that piece
  5. Have the "repair" function actually just repair - NOT blindly re-install

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