The UX of my first Google Wave

You have to hand it to Google.  They innovate.  They come out with stuff that is new and different.  I like that about them.  It makes me want to use and buy their products.  Google Wave is a great example.

What is Google Wave?
I imagined the conversation when they pitched the idea.  In my mind it went something like this:

“You know how Good Docs works for a word doc?  How you can type while the other person is typing and you share the doc as a whole?  That’s super cool!  We should do that but in a more structured way.  Rather than a single page, it could have a whole thread of a conversation.  The ease of a Wiki, with the conversation of instant messenger, but the UI of email.”

See, that is out of the box thinking.  So the next question is important:

What do you do with it?
There is a Google Wave that gives some suggestions, but I can’t seem to link to it as a normal webpage.  I’ll just say what I did with it yesterday.  At Adchemy, we were talking about bringing an external speaker to inspire us. Some people mentioned how awesome it would be to get someone like Avinash Kaushik.  (Awesome indeed!  Buy the book!)  People started emailing comments to the whole company about which topics we would like or when we should set it up or even where they saw Avinash in other circumstances.  I thought, “Hey, maybe this should be a Google Wave”.

I set up the wave and thought, “this is a perfect forum for this conversation which includes links, votes and other details.”

What is wrong with Google Wave?
Good question, bad answer.  Alot is wrong.  First, very few people have Google Wave accounts, so getting people hooked into the system was difficult.  Next, once someone had a Google Wave account, it was incredibly difficult to add them to the wave.  There is no grouping.  I had to add people one at a time.  How can I do this for a hundred people??  The UI desperately needs groups.  We should be able to set up an Adchemy group either public or private so that we could add people in the company with one click.  I think any group larger than 4 people would be annoyed as heck with adding people to a Wave.

Second problem I saw was general bugs.  OK, I can cut Google some slack.  This is really early code.  However, I was incredibly frustrated that I couldn’t delete a test message in the wave.  Additionally, I couldn’t remove someone from the Wave that I accidentally added.  Lots of little buggy things.

Last problem is the scroll bar on a wave.  What is that thing?  It’s ready hard to use.  I just gave up on it and used the wheel mouse.  I hate the scroll thinger though.  I don’t know why it annoys me so much, but I hate it.

What is right with Google Wave?
The general model (if they fixed the issues) is great.  It’s highly interactive, easy to get going and easy to organize.  Great for collaborative note taking and event planning.  Once they get their API groove on, I imagine ALOT of uses, especially from mobile devices.  If I was at a conference, this would be a MUCH better record of the events versus a Hash Twitter label.  Twitter is not fun to browse.  Waves are much easier.  This thing has alot of potential.

Bottom Line
Same as the top line.  Google is innovating and I dig that about them. Wave has great potential, but is really rough around the edges right now.

2 Replies to “The UX of my first Google Wave”

  1. I hear you on that scroll bar — what the hell is that thing? Wouldn’t a regular scroll bar have worked?

    But about deleting messages — there wasn’t a “delete this message” option available in the context menu on the triangle on the far right of the message (“ping,” as the Goog calls it)?

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