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Windows Live Essential Suit- Blog writer’s usability, performance, and product vision

June 4, 2010

Writing (authoring) the blog through your computer software or on internet?

This is an initial test of the blog writer usability and performance.  The inspiration of this test is from Michael Arrington‘s post to the TechCrunch on 6.2.2010.  The orignal post emphasized the photo fuse functionality, however, I did not get a luck to get the photo fuse function in the current release of the photo gallery.  The photo fuse feature might still be in its Beta. Or I have to find it later, which is hidden somewhere in the Photo gallery.

Instead, I found the blog writer within the essential suit is quite interesting.  I have never experienced writing a blog fully locally before. The Blog writer gives me a chance to do it.  In the below, I wrote the initial test report of the blog writer usability and performance.

After downloading the suit, it took me about 17 mins to install the whole suit, which is about 129 M. The reason of the slow installation might be because of  my internet connection or their server.

The blog writer launching speed is  quite efficient, about 2-3 seconds, faster than the MS Office word launching speed.

In general, the blog writer looks very similar to the MS office word. It is easy to insert pictures, videos, Map(bing Map). It is very interesting that Live suit uses Youtube as the default video storage space.  If you you upload a video from your local computer , then it automatically goes to the Youtube.

The usability:

User navigation: it has top editor tool bar, right side navigation bar. navigation difficulty, similar to MS Word. User navigation Score: 8/10

Layout: main toolbar, editor tool bar, right navigation tool bar. Simplicity score: 8/10

Interface Color: It has light blue color, which is similar to the Windows Messenger color. The color is also the color used by the essential suit.  Vision comfortableness: 9/10

Font: It is possible to change the  font family, style, and size. and color.  User satisfaction: 9/10

Paragraph: It is not feasible to control the paragraph spacing. It can control the left, right, center, justified align.   User satisfaction: 8/10

Picture: It is easy to insert a picture, once at a time.  User can adjust the picture effects, dimension, text wrapping, margining, borders, link. It is also possible to insert photo album. Photo album consists of several photos from existing album or your local computer. It is also able to edit the album style, text wrapping, and margins.  User satisfaction: 9/10

Video: User can control the caption( the text under the video), text wrapping ( the position relative to the text around the video), and margins ( the space between text and video). User satisfaction: 8/10

Over-all feel of the usability: 8/10. This is considered satisfied for most of users.

The performance:

Blog page authoring performance: The speed in authoring the text, picture, video, photo album is easier than the WordPress.com.  Wordpress.com (not the customized WordPress ) can not control the picture effects, dimension, text wrapping, margining, borders, link as easy as the Blog writer.  Wordpress.com uses TinyMCE as its default editor.

Blog writer/Wordpress.com — 9:7

Blog page publishing performance:  It takes Blog writer 13 seconds to publish the blog. It takes WordPress.com 4 seconds to publish the blog.

Blog writer/Wordpress.com — 13 seconds: 4 seconds

Blog writer’s vision:

Overall, the Blog writer aims solely to facilitate the MS live.com blog writing process.

Technology vision

It uses part of MS office techniques for handling the text, image, video, bing map, photo album.  This technique is deviated from the main stream of blog authoring techniques, such as the TinyMCE, FCKeditor.  All of later ones encourage users to write blog online instead of local. It is also challenging for the current techniques to be updated to its online version. which will be mainly based on HTML 5 and Javascript 2. The heavy investment of such technique may therefore not be very cost effective in the long run. However, if the Windows live team can create an innovative way to re-use the C++ codes as browser’s native SDK, that would mean such technology still owns its future.

User adoption vision

Most of blogger are used to write blogs online or write blog using Email (posterous.com). It is not easy for bloggers to switch to the Blog writer in a short time, estimated 10-15/100 overall. However, considering the main goal of the blog writer is to help live.com users. Then the user (the specific live.com blog users) adoption rate can be slightly higher, 20-30/100.

Suggestions:

If the blog writer can be extended to a general blog writing software, which is to write a blog for a general site, not limited to the Windows live. Then, the user adoption rate can be increased. For doing so, the open protocol has to be supported by the Blog writer. The available protocol include RSS, ATOM, JASON, Pubsubhubbub etc.

Note: the evaluation score is from myself, rather than based on a Lab study. There is no IRB involved in this process.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Eric permalink
    June 4, 2010 7:23 pm

    (I’m on the Photo Gallery team) – sorry Photo Fuse was elusive for you. To do a Photo Fuse:
    * In the gallery, select the multiple photos that represent what you want to fuse together
    * Go to the “Create” tab in the ribbon
    * In the Tools group, next to Panorama, should be Photo Fuse
    * Select that and go into the Photo Fuse UI to composite your pictures into one

    Note that – as the TechCrunch video shows – you need to play with the size of the box used for selecting what you want to merge so that you don’t get odd transitions between various photos. If the photos are very different or people moving a lot or the background moving a lot, well, that’s not ideal to get a good result.

    Cheers.

  2. chelveWachini permalink
    August 15, 2010 8:26 am

    Very Interesting!
    Thank You!

  3. October 20, 2010 9:49 pm

    I have been surfing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be much more useful than ever before.

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