SearchOracle.com has a new article up on the ongoing issues with My Oracle Support, the replacement for Metalink. I know I have spent 30+ minute writing up a ticket only to lose it when one out of many Draft saves failed, as well as gotten stuck in “you haven’t filled out required fields” loops that were impossible to exit. I did try to submit a ticket on one of my issues, when there were clearly error messages from a botched site fix or upgrade showing on my page, but despite the errors clearly showing, they kept telling me to try new browsers and the like so I eventually gave up. So their attempts to do technical support on their support site has also been spotty. Now I just avoid submitting tickets from Firefox on my Mac now; IE8 on PC seems to be more stable.
I’m all for forward progress, but I’m still bemused by the architectural choice to make the site Flash based. The basic actions of a support site are simple – find articles, submit and track tickets. These activities can be enhanced by Flash but by no means require it, and the KISS principle is always best with web sites. Oracle of course wants to create a support portal that does more than the basics, and acts more like a heads-up display, receiving info from your systems, etc etc. But user uptake of that sort of feature was misjudged or worse, paternalistically viewed by the design team. A support portal is a bad place to get fancy, because 80% of the time when I hit that site I’m already stressed, possibly panicked, and every second may count. Adding features that I have to wait for to load or that make it harder to do the basics quickly and in a stable fashion is a bad idea.
Overall, Oracle seems to have lost sight of what a support portal is for … any site overhaul should start with the question, “What are our key services and how can we maintain and enhance them without degrading their user experience?” That should be your guiding principle. Then start tacking on new stuff.