Webcams, Drivers, Operating Systems, and Program Compatibility

I recently had a couple of conference calls that wanted to use relatively obscure video options instead of basic Skype. The first involved installing software, and upon trying to run that software, it was discovered that it did not work on the still-very-common version of an operating system that I was running and do not intend to update. This is a failure on the part of the creator of that software. If Skype can work on my operating system – and it does, and that is what we ultimately used – so should this obscure software. Developers need to develop for maximum compatibility, especially with conferencing software that is intended to routinely incorporate new users on short notice!

In another instance the process was dependent upon using the proprietary software of the company, and this software was also not compatible with that operating system, so I used another computer that was within the operating system requirements, but this computer had no webcam. Luckily, I have a high-quality digital video camera that has webcam capability, but I had to download and install the driver… Upon locating the hard-to-find driver that was not clearly listed on the camera company’s website, I proceeded to try to install the thing. The interface was in Extreme Close-Up, with heavily skewed Aspect Ratio and limited interactivity. I completed the vague prompts for the installation, then went on to find that my camera was no longer listed as connected to the computer, and I couldn’t get it to show. By chance, I tried using the webcam feature (no instructions on the driver, the webcam itself, nor the software on how this should work!), and discovered that despite not being recognized by the computer it actually sent the video signal to the software… So it worked from there on out…

Drivers should be easier to find and install, if necessary at all. Software applications and services should strive for wide accessibility and compatibility. Connecting and using a webcam should not be difficult to figure out. This technology has been around for a long time. If you want people to adopt it, design it to be used. Implement true plug-and-play usability and wide compatibility.

I’d like to hear if you have any similar examples of these Tech Fail Phenomena! Please feel free to leave a comment, like&share, and maybe we can get some of these companies to shape up! Thanks for watching.