Monday, May 20, 2013

Bad Usability of Google Play Music Manager

This new Google product SUCKS. This is a BUR: Basic Usability Review, which means a quick attempt to get things done. A full blown usability analysis would be more comprehensive, time-consuming, and patient.

Users typically are in a hurry, multi-tasking, and unwilling to spend a lot of time trying to figure out an interface. We don't want to have to learn whole new interfaces that violate our expectations and the norms established at the most popular software products and websites.

Checking the internet forums, I'm not the only one complaining about the glitches and dysfunctionalities of Google Play Music Manager. It's a really bad idea to release a product without doing usability testing, but nobody does this anymore. 

I'm reviewing the free "standard" version. Why would you upgrade to a paid version when the free version is full of problems?

Almost nothing about Google Play Music Manager is intuitive, i.e., compliant with software norms that users expect. Novelty in interface is a very bad thing, especially when there is no guidance from link labels, tool tips or help files.

Configuring the Google Play Music Manager. One problem right off the bat is I don't want my entire iTunes file uploaded to it, nor do I want all the mp3s on my hard drive uploaded to it, nor do I want to automatically add songs I upload to a file. I want my Google Play playlist to be very selective.

When prompted to upload music "Select music to add to your Music Library", you get the options: *iTunes Player *Windows Media Player *My music folder *Other folders. I chose Other Folders. I then went to my folder "MP3 Conversions" which contains my own Str8 Sounds music composed in Sony ACID. I then selected only one specific album "Age of Dissent."

The songs got uploaded, but with the default titles, which I always change. Also. there are 192 kbps, 256 kbps, and 356 kbps versions of songs, to accommodate various music hosting sites.

But in Google Play Music Manager, there is no indication of these variations. I want to keep only the 356 kbps mp3s and delete the others, but I can't tell which is which. I'll have to delete the whole library and start over again, selecting only specific songs, if that's possible.

Usability problems abound. It's not easy to see how to delete a song, edit the title of a song, edit the title of an album, etc. If you spend an hour fussing with this and checking out forums and help files, you might make some headway.

I had to Google "delete songs google play music manager" because the Google Play Help file did not list this topic. There is a "menu icon" that appears after the title of a song. You click that and get options like "delete". However, there are no tool tips that pop up when you hover on a tool icon, so you're groping around in the dark. The "menu icon" doesn't look like it would activate a menu drop down list.

It gets worse. Trying to do basically anything in the Google Play Music Manager is a major hassle.

I edited the information on a song. I changed the title, added the genre, composer name, etc. But there is no Save or Finished Editing button. So I clicked on Enter, which closed the Edit panel, but took me out of the album I was in.

So I see a big bright orange Upload Music button. When I click it, I get Download Music Manager message. I already did this. I go to the bottom browser tray and click on the Google Play Music Manager icon. I upload another album. The task progress bar indicates all songs are uploaded. I go to My Library. The songs are not appearing.

I'm done for today. I've already wasted too much time on this mess.

Time Tech "Google Play Music All Access Review"

Str8 Sounds "Age of Dissent" on Google Play

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