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[Update: Chance Roth, from Cloud Canvas, indicated in a response to this post that there are changes underway for upcoming releases. His response made me re-evaluate this post, and I apologize to the Cloud Canvas team for using over the top abrasive language. I realize that a lot of hard work goes into launching a startup and getting this far. I have updated this post to tone down my dismissive language. I look forward to trying out Cloud Canvas’ upcoming releases.]

I must say, I am pissed off right now. And why is that? Here goes. TechCrunch, a site I visit regularly to keep myself abreast of what is happening in the tech world, had an article about the Founder Institute, graduating some startups. One startup caught my eye – Cloud Canvas. These days, the word ‘Cloud’ is the buzz word. Plus, I am looking around for a cheap Photoshop replacement, and thought that I could give this Cloud Canvas thing a try. Just two minutes on the site were enough to drive me mad. Here’s how the site looks.

Cloud Canvas Home Page

I wanted to see the features offered by this site. I wasn’t going to create an account just to try some site and then discard it if it was not up to the mark. Sure enough, the list of features was there.

Cloud Canvas Features

This list would have made an MBA proud. To a person like me though, this is just trash talk. Show me what it is doing. Any demo? Any visuals? Nope. As usual, when I can’t find what I want, I assume that I am an ass. However, in this case, I am sure I am not, since there is no such thing as a demo. This is an issue since Cloud Canvas is a startup, eager to get new users. And it doesn’t show them why they should use the site. And by the way, if you click on that ‘More Tools and Features’ link in the screen shot above, where does it take you?

Nowhere.

At this point, I was sure to include this site in my rants about GUI bloopers, so I soldiered on. The UI to create a user account was quite a treat to someone trying to find bloopers. Here’s the UI:

New Account Creation UI

Hmm, I can’t make out if all information is mandatory. To add to it, usually sites impose some restriction on the length of the user name, password and the characters it can contain. I can’t make out if such restrictions apply here. Since I am not told of any, I think there are no restrictions. Sure enough, something beautiful happened:

Amazing! The error popped up after I hit TAB to go to the next field. Now, why can’t this site tell me what it expected before I started typing? Also, the error message would have made another MBA proud. It gives the user no clue on how to recover. What do you mean by wrong length? What is the right length?

And the crowning glory lies in that little field called ‘Beta Invite Code’. Since is is not marked as mandatory, I kept it blank (since I don’t have a code) and clicked on ‘Register’.

Which missing field?

Which missing field should I enter? All? But I had entered all except one. But the site lost all my information. But, the bigger point is that if the site requires an invite, for God’s sake, make that obvious.

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2 Comments

  1. Hi Rohan,

    Chance from CloudCanvas. I really appreciate your time and feedback.

    Yes, at this exact moment we are not really live yet as you noted.

    I simply used the beta code and request as a quick way to make sure at least we captured something from today post.

    I have already been planning to some big changes to do something more interesting with the main page, so you can look back when you get your code.

    I can’t wait to see you rip my app to shreds too. So I can fix it to make it better.

    We are a very small team, focused mainly on the features of the app. Just about to get over the first major milestones and get the whole thing ready for public consumption.

    You’ll be among the first to know when we’re ready.

    Thanks,
    Chance

  2. Hi Chance,

    I really appreciate your response. I will definitely be on the look out for the new design.

    By the way, I do realize that my frustration got the better of my civility in my blog post. I apologize for that, and will update my post accordingly. I understand there are only so many things that a small team can do and it is hard work to get to the stage you are at.

    Count me in to test your app.

    All the best for your upcoming releases!
    Regards,
    Rohan


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