Today I had a meeting with my boss, Steve. I walk into the Boardroom and I see him there pounding enthusiastically at his keyboard (nothing unusual of course). Turns out he was on a ranting spree and posting to his blog about the sometimes frustrating organization of webcasts on the Microsoft site.
He lists a couple of suggestions:
Make them searchable! I can’t find any clean way to search through just the webcast archive. Am I missing something, or does this exist?
Categorize them better. Make it easier for me to drill down to just SharePoint, or just Developer webcasts for Level 300 content.
Don’t spread them among your Webcasts and Seminar sites. What’s the difference between them anyway? Why are some things under “Online Seminars Home” and others under “On-Demand Webcasts”? Under “Online Seminars” the organization is even more inane. You have to drill down to Server Products -> SharePoint Portal Server and then choose from Prepare, Plan, Build, Deploy, Operate. I just want the SharePoint stuff. Many webcasts cover the entire spectrum of these sub-categories. What’s the point? Then there’s the Certified Partner webcasts, MSDN TV, the .NET Show, and TechNet webcasts that aren’t aggregated either. My ideal scenario would be: I want to search for any “multimedia” information on SharePoint Single Sign-On and have results aggregated from every one of these properties.
Provide an RSS feed! I want to keep track of webcasts like I track downloads.
I have to agree. Not just because he’s my boss and I know he reads my blog (in fact he inspired me to start) but because I watch A LOT of webcasts and I have struggled with similar feelings of frustration in the past.
I spend a great deal of time on the MS partner site collecting product information, doing training, and looking for events / announcements etc… The only reason I am able to get as much info as I do it because I’m really freakin dedicated to the cause. Things COULD be made a lot easier. I have noticed some improvements over the past year or so – either that or I am adapting to chaos a little better.
One thing that I personally have found frustrating related to the webcasts is the lack of consistency on how they are conducted and organized. Some events allow me to add a reminder directly to my calendar. Others remind me via email just before they start. Others remind me via email about a week before they are scheduled. Some have great quality…others not so great.
I am a big fan of Placeware/LiveMeeting as an online collaboration / meeting tool so I am hoping to see more and more of these appear as time goes on. We use this internally for client training and presentations. Works quite well and is very easy to use.