Archive for the ‘Voicemail to Text’ Category

As a writer who works in the interactive design industry I’m frequently exposed to new technologies far sooner than the average consumer. I like to think of myself as a post-Beta Beta tester. Most times I have great experiences with a new technology or web experience and can’t wait to tell everyone about it. Sometimes, though, I have the rare experience of a new technology that isn’t completely prepared to be presented to the public. Case in point:

Yesterday I received an invite from a UX friend to check out Ribbit. Their claim to fame, besides giving Google Voice a run for it’s money, is their conditional call forwarding technology that allows users to receive their voice mails as text messages.  Since I’m a fan of anything that sounds like it will make my life easier, and/or is high tech or web related, I decided to give it a try.

The sign-up process itself was fairly easy – a basic fill in form, with easy to follow call outs. When it came to activating the service, however, things got a little dicey. I’m pretty savvy when it comes to tech and products, but in this case, I was flummoxed as how to perform the task they wanted me to accomplish.

Looks simple enough, right? Nope. No it’s not. I didn’t have the option of having two numbers entered into my phone before hitting the call button. I can’t think of any time when any Blackberry user would – so this was incredibly foreign to me. Of course, my first “thought” was that I was doing something wrong.  Though, being a stubborn techie, I gave it a go anyway entering in the numbers in the only way that made sense. There were no directions for my specific phone, after all, and their own site said that Blackberry users (me) and Verizon Wireless customers (also, me) could use their service.
This is where “content” should have come in. Before this screen should have been another screen which allowed me to choose my phone style and wireless carrier, and then the UI should have provided me with step by step “phone specific” Ribbit install instructions.
But no such luck. I had moved forward, fingers crossed, that their simple graphic would get me where they wanted to go. Mea Culpa. I got a big #fail.

Another problem? You’re zero for two here, Ribbit. This. Is. Not. Awesome.  Properly placed “content” could have stopped this problem before it started. Remember, one of the most important aspects of user experience is making the user feel positive emotion so that not only will they return, but also pass along the information about the business/product/service. At this fail point, I’ve got zero positive emotion bringing me back. By now I had decided I’d give up on Ribbit. I just don’t need a piece of technology that makes me feel like I making a mistake because their processes are missing a few steps.

I wish I could say I left Ribbit and it’s issues behind. Except now I have a new problem. I can no longer get to my voice mails through my Blackberry. When I try, I get a shrill alarm sound that goes off in my ear and the call won’t go through. The only way I can hear my messages is to call my number from another line.  That’s pretty sad when you need a second phone to check the messages on your mobile phone. It sort of defeats the purpose of being mobile.  In the meantime, I am waiting for a developer/rep from Ribbit to figure out how to undo what their instructions had me do. It’s been more than 24 hours since first contact, and all they’ve done so far is ask me to tell them exactly what happened, step by step. No answers on how to undo the voicemail problem, however.

What’s the lesson? Don’t rush to be a post-Beta Beta unless you’ve done your homework. And if you have that gut feeling that a website isn’t giving you all the instructions? Stop.

Take my advice, dear reader.  Wait until they work the bugs out.