Cloud User Experience

I first wrote about the concept of the Total User Experience some fifteen years ago. Back then it was all about finding out about a product, going to a store to buy it, actually buying it, unboxing it, installing it, using it, getting help with using it, getting additional support when the help didn't help, and upgrading or uninstalling it. During this time virtually all applications ran right on your computer and the resulting files created were saved there as well. We've witnessed a gradual evolution of that total user experience with more and more of it involving the web. Advertising went online, then buying and directly downloading products. Increasingly, help and support have been available over the web too. The last aspect of the user experience to move to the web is the application itself and its data.

The move of all aspects of what used to comprise the total user experience to the web has, interestingly, created a new total user experience focussed on the online experience itself. Perhaps the most important aspect of that experience in staying connected online.

Most people's concerns regarding so-called cloud computing center on the uptime of the cloud vender's service. While this is important, the service interuptions from the major vendors have been very infrequent and relatively brief. However, an often overlooked aspect of the cloud user experience is the uptime of ISPs and company and home networking systems.

I had a disruption of service from my ISP yesterday for about five hours. This prevented me from doing my work and anything else online. The support staff, while friendly, didn't seem to understand or appreciate how serious a problem like this is when you're using cloud computing. ISPs have to realize their importance in the total cloud user experience for it to work effectively. This is an aspect of cloud computing that is often disregarded. I believe it is critically important and may well turn out to be the weak link in the cloud computing strategy unless ISPs come to understand their new role in the total cloud computing user experience.

As always, I'd appreciate your thoughts on this topic via the comment mechanism.

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