Thursday, November 1, 2012

Time Warner Cable Has No Excuse

There is no excuse today for a poor user interface. Technology allows touch screen, touch and move, and voice command.  So why are there so many?
I remember asking a friend who works in IT in New Zealand if there was a reason why TVs are still boxy and unattractive. Was it somehow cheaper to make them ugly? The answer was no.
And today, I am just as awed that so many digital user interfaces are ridiculously bad. I can’t imagine that good designers are that much more expensive than bad ones, especially when you’re talking about well-financed firms like Time Warner Cable, one of the world’s worst TV interfaces for customers.
I’m pretty sure I saw my daughter cry the other day while clutching a TWC remote, unable to get to a recording of “Cougar Town.”
It’s no wonder. The DVR menu is under the HELP tab. Makes perfectly good sense.
I won’t even go into the unnerving universal remote that TWC supplies with its digital cable service. Even if I could see the tiny labels on the tiny buttons, they wouldn’t make sense.
The entire TWC experience is epitomized by the video-on-demand feature – something I had never used until about a month ago. I think I hit the VoD button by accident.
What a mess!
Seems like a nice feature, right? You can watch some good prime-time shows whenever you want? As long as you can find them? Which you can’t?
VoD is an attractive service, which I never knew about from my last cable experience (12 years with Comcast) since I used a Windows Media Center with CableCard. It could potentially keep me from cutting the cord with TWC, but TWC does everything to repel me from the service.
In the video below, I demonstrate how a person might find Honey Boo Boo on TWC VoD. It isn’t pretty. On so many levels.
You think cable companies are losing subscribers because of cheap online competition? Maybe they’re defecting because of the bad user experience and even worse customer service.  With self service becoming the rage - gas stations, grocery stores (self checkout), and even some fast foods (all you do is press a touch screen, swipe your debit card, and when the order is ready an actual human places it in a pick up window) there is no excuse for company reps to treat their customers with an attitude short of belligerence.  
If Time Warner wants to compete with Dish, Direct TV, Cox, and other competitors then I suggest Time Warner makes all their services customer friendly.  Gee what an idea guys!  Or Time Warner can continue to watch the massive defection to their competitors. 

Instruction Video

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