July 29, 2008 |
Here at Profy, we keep a running tab of which authors are going to write about which topics so that we don’t all end up writing the same article. Most of the topics clear out rather quickly, but sometimes we end up waiting for months for a beta invite to review a new application.
I have several I’ve been waiting on since the beginning of the year, and like any early adopter magpie, when I see the shiny new invitation in my email account, I jump on it. Such was the case this morning with Delver, which debuted their private alpha with a new design, new logo, and a whole lot of disappointment.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not reviewing their application, which is supposed to be an intelligent social search engine. I’m still excited about what I think the product could end up being. However, I received my invite, was able to log into my account, and quickly discovered that I have no invites. Now, I understand the idea that you don’t want to quickly flood the system with new users and immediately crash it, and that makes sense. But when you are talking about a social search and I have no way to find any friends to socialize my search with either by a site-wide directory or giving me some invites, well, I can’t even really take a look and give you any feedback, can I?
That’s when I realized just how much of a rut Web application developers are in. Launches of new Web apps are starting to feel like they are created on an assembly line. Everything is so monotonous, from the buzz seeding to the press releases in inboxes, that no one is thinking outside the box any longer. Why didn’t anyone sit down, realize what the app is supposed to do, and come up with a plan for inviting users and letting them get set up with a social network right away? It doesn’t do any good to test an app in alpha status without having users replicate anticipated usage. And if app developers really think they are building the next big thing, then they need to be thinking of exactly what users are looking for, and will want to use the app for, and design everything accordingly, from the UI to the test processes. Otherwise, it will just be more of the same old thing. And we’ll be writing the same old articles using terms like “EPIC FAIL.”