Wednesday, April 20, 2011

MOS Mashup: the summary or the saga?

Jonathan Lewis started a small conversation; what I gleaned from that thread is he and Tanel (and other experts?) mainly use MOS for "bug hunting" and looking up specific documents. Not so much for filing SRs. Therefore their comments revolved around the utility of the site in that context. However, the general consensus is that they do not use the Flash version, only the HTML version.

Lots of threads on oracle-l - I'll provide the first thread from the freelists and let you read through it if you like.

Robert Freeman "Do you ask the question: How do I work with Oracle Support....?":
Lots of varied comments here, great for "mining" what users are expecting. If I have a ton of free time, I would love to go through and categorize what I find here more thoroughly. In summary, 1 overtly positive comment, 12 negative and 11 on the fence (both good and bad). This thread was mostly about the analysts and not MOS, per se, but a few comments did tickle MOS (negative).

Jared Still "Just my opinion - the move of MOS to Flash is still a bunch of crap":
14 negative comments and 2 "neutral" - I did not find a single person who absolutely loved Flash, let alone MOS. In fact, the majority seem to feel that Flash is REALLY BAD(tm) and the HTML version is passable. General sense that the design was driven from top-heavy management structure, not from collected opinions of the user-base. A little progress seen on fixing bugs, but not nearly enough. MOS still excruciatingly slow.

Yon Huang "Anything Flash MOS can do HTML MOS cannot?":
A number of browser differences ("you got an error in XXXX broswer, try the YYYY browser"). Some comments about how Flash was initially better at creating SRs, but now it seems the HTML version is more robust. With the possible exception of annoying timeouts. As if it would take an hour to file an SR, say it ain't so!!!

Andrew Kerber "more MOS pain":
I think the initial issue might not have been the interface (MOS) itself, but more about how some documents are not published ("unpublished"). I agree, I also find this practice highly annoying. If I cannot see, don't mention it.

Don Granaman "Obtuse errors at MOS":
I also have seen a number of these errors, even recently. This can be generalized into a category of the "Unexplainable", strange messages that pop up for no apparent reason with no apparent solution path. Or like when the entire GUI is in Japanese.

Amit Bansal "Problems with MOS":
Browser and performance issues.

Jon Crisler "Metalink fiasco":
This long strand of messages wandered all over the place and I could not bring myself to read all of them. There are some good efforts to point to specific problems and possible solutions. I am dearly hoping that someone categorized that already.... you know, reinventing the wheel and all. :)

There is a ton more on oracle-l - what I have above only scratches the surface. Not to mention the proliferation of myriad blogs. But two I do want to mention are from the folks at Oracle who have started a couple blogs which have garnered their own collection of colorful ideas.

Chris Warticki's "Support":
I actually took it as a good sign when Oracle briefly pulled the plug on Chris after a noticeably contentious article. Chris knows there are issues with the GUI and Support in general, and he tries really hard to put a positive spin on all of it. Its just that there is only so much positive spin one can put on.... anyway, many of the folks who commented on the oracle-l articles are active here as well.

Support Portal - maintained by members of the Dev team:
I have had a lot of great conversations with Richard Miller, and I am glad he started blogging a bit more. As I blogged about earlier (a long time ago it seems), they have been doing a great job of collecting feedback and Richard did write a series of posts (1, 2, 3) about that collection process. Good stuff. The only major downside is... what did they actually do with all that awesome feedback? How is MOS better for it? *pause* I do not hear anyone singing the praises of MOS.

Whew.... that is a lot of stuff. Here is my Very Basic, Gross Summary(tm).
Customers want the online Support Site to be very fast and they want it to work. They do not want to see silly little nonsense messages. They do not want to jump through hoops and tie themselves in knots to do basic things. Customers want to talk with and interact with humans. Not monkeys reading scripts. Not a cumbersome website. Customers want a powerful search utility that helps them find documents and information quickly. Lastly, customers expect that when they are asked for their feedback, something will magically happen. When nothing happens, the pool of that feedback can quickly turn sour and/or dry.

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