QuickTip Sundays: Yahoo Music Unlimited

I’ve been trying to install Yahoo! Music Unlimited on a friend’s computer for quite a while now, and finally, we just gave up. We found out that Yahoo! was discontinuing service soon to Canadians (the friend is Canadian), and figured it was time to move to Rhapsody, even though Rhapsody’s a few more dollars more. The point is, it was a rather frustrating experience, and part of the reason why Yahoo! is doing poorly — most of their services are rather frustrating.

There are no screen shots because I couldn’t install the software. Additionaly, there was no clear indication that the service was going to be discontinued for her.

Here’s what I would have done to make the service easier:

Tested the software on many platforms with many states of other application installs. One of the mistakes that many Windows developers make is they never test if for a typical install — which is when users install tons of applications, many of them of suspect quality, before installing your application. The developers always insist on a clean install of Windows, and how many of us have a clean install?

Put a “download software here” link somewhere on the site. If you go to Yahoo Music Unlimited now, there’s no explanation of what software you need to make it work — they just have a bunch of links to try this software now, which is entertaining, because they are about to kill the offering completely. The answer is that you have to download the Yahoo Music Jukebox, which I assume is a fine piece of software, except…

If the software doesn’t install, there should be an easy way to contact customer support for help. There was no install log, no click here if the software isn’t installing. Finding any answers at all on the Yahoo! website is a frustrating experience, and it took me upwards of two days to figure out that I should be contacting customer support. Additionally, there are seemingly three or four separate customer support contact screens, further confusing the issue.

Browser experiences are hard enough, but especially with applications, usability of said application is very important, especially when it’s an install of a paid service. Open source or shareware software, I could see less support — however, this is Yahoo, and the assumption is they are making some money off of this.