World’s worst UX: Pro/E Installation

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Today I had the “pleasure” of installing a fresh license of Pro/E on a clean computer.  The out of box experience caused my eyes to pop out of my head. Here is a partial log of what I did over the better half of the day – you have to see it to believe it.

  • I had to wait a week and a half after paying for my licenses by credit card before PTC processed my order (if my VAR was’t so persistent on my behalf, it probably wouldn’t have happened until after the new year).
  • I received a “shipment confirmation” document from PTC with a one pager instructing me to “download the software”
  • I received a different, much longer instruction sheet from my VAR with much more detailed step by step instructions, which turned out to be a life saver.
  • Following instructions, I signed up for an account.
  • Then I waded through an all-text page to find a text link called “Upgrade your Account”.
  • I entered my customer number and my sales order number (“SON”) on an all text form.
  • I received a confirmation email and clicked through to confirm the upgrade.
  • Then I clicked Support > Order or download software updates on another all text page.
  • On the next all-text page, I clicked a link called “order or download software updates” again.
  • I picked the products to download, then had to choose between a bunch of non-obvious options for download.
  • I chose what I thought was appropriate and started the download. This was a 3GB + file and it took almost an hour over wire on FIOS.
  • I unzipped the zip file to get at the installer.
  • I went to  another all-text page to “configure my software”, for the purpose of obtaining a license file.  I had to enter my sales order number yet again.
  • I started the installer in order to obtain my host name and machine ID.
  • I waded through several more text only pages and forms to enter my host name / ID to obtain the license file.
  • I got an email saying a ticket was filed on my behalf to request a license file.
  • In about 30 minutes I got 2 emails with a license file each – there was a large warning in the first email instructing me to read both long emails to decide which license file I needed (I needed the first).
  • I saved the license file to a location of my choice.
  • I went back to the installer, which had 2 options: installing the license server and installing the Pro/E software. Since I read the instructions I clicked the license server.
  • I designated a location to install the license server to, and I imported the license file.
  • I clicked a tiny little icon to look at the actual ascii license file.
  • I clicked a button called ReCheck License(s) to verify the license file was fine, even though I had just imported the license file without having touched it at all.
  • I checked a couple more options then let it install.
  • I click Next, then selected Pro/E to install.  FINALLY!
  • I pointed the installer to the location where I installed the license server.
  • I made it through 9 more screens, then finally was able to click Install.
  • Now I must reboot my machine to start the license server such that I can run Pro/E on this machine.

I am struck speechless.  I understand this is enterprise software but this UX is simply beyond the pale. Why are there no landing pages?  Why are there no calls to action? Why can’t I be served my license file automatically in an email when my order is processed? Why the need to keep entering the Sales Order Number by hand in multiple places?  Why such disregard for basic usability and out of box experience?

If my VAR did not provide the 2 page instruction sheet I never would have succeeded in installing this thing.  Full marks to my VAR (Boston Engineering) and shame on PTC.

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