Friday, April 9, 2010

Harmony Central - New upgrade spells disharmony

New upgrade spells disharmony

Harmony Central

Harmony Central upgraded their website and I hesitate to use the word upgrade. As a user and not a software engineer I found that the weakest link was the former search engine. The search engine would yield an array of information that isn't useful and my search required revision to specificity to get what I ultimately sought. I sought the reviews that other readers had posted regarding their experience with specific equipment. For me this meant selecting a instrument then finding the tab on the right side that brought me to a menu where I could select the manufacturer, model and ultimately read the review. Navigation was not effortless but would obtain my objective information in a short time. When reviewing I found that the review date to be handy as some people would have second thoughts and post more pointed reviews further down the road.

Now when using the upgraded site I found that the equipment reviews I wanted to read would take forever for me to navigate towards. Navigation on this site is atrocious and very frustrating as I found early on that if I hit the browser back arrow I was dropped off back at the home page with drop down menu's blank. Clicking on the forward arrow was an act of desperation where I was hoping to find my way back to where I was lost only to find that I've moved further into no man's land. The choice of font color is poor and difficult to read (this is an example). I spent a probably 20 minutes of my life trying to find a review - thinking I must be the problem, no - I am not a software engineer but I am an engineer and I would be fired if I produced this product. I did find some reviews but the first thing I noticed was the review dates had been deleted and the rating system revised to a 5 shaded star system in contrast to the old numeric 1-10 rating. Nothing good! Review dates are relevant and the star system is just okay.

The site is simply frustrating to use now. It's hard to find a logical reason for allowing this to go live! I want to believe that the old software is very difficult to upgrade or transfer. What happened? A tell tale sign, I saw a comment from a moderator who wrote "We'll lose some people who don't like the new site, and gain some people who didn't like the old site. Life goes on!," to which I might remind this person what a sage person once said, "Glass, China and REPUTATION are easily cracked and never well mended” …Benjamin Franklin. Another fact that should be addressed is that there is an overwhelming amount of negative reviews in the user forum. Members are unhappy about the new preference defaults as the new defaults cause problems with your inbox of your primary email unless you reset the preference (maybe FaceBook is helping HC?).

The site recovered from an outage this past December 2009 but maybe that was the Pink Elephant in the room. As an account holder I found that my messages were deleted; rating changed, my reviews disappeared, and some of my reviews have been deleted from my account. I must admit that I am not a frequent poster on HC but my heart goes out to those that put in the time to build the site with their opinions and information for their account have been damaged. The site requires you to be hyper skilled in order to glean information. The ultimate loser will be whoever owns the site. Thanks! When one door closes another opens up! Who ever is behind this catastrophe is also responsible for creating an opportunity for new entrepreneurs. I guess that is the greatest part of this upgrade.

Is this a disingenuous attempt to sell Harmony Central's soul to the corporate machine? Stay tuned as the site evolves or self destructs.

"The law of gravity would be thrown into dispute were there a
commercial interest involved." - Lord Macaulay

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