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A MS License Agreement That's Impossible to Read


I don’t like reading license agreements. I doubt any programmer does. Even though I don’t like it, I usually quickly skim through the agreements to check that I don’t inadvertently approve something that I shouldn’t. Today I installed the .NET Framework 4 Update 3, to get support for workflow state machines. During installation I found a completely hostile design of the license text box.

Hard to read license terms are not that uncommon, but they usually come from some small questionable firm trying to sneak adware into the computer. I didn’t expect it from Microsoft. They at least didn’t prevent copying, so I could grab the text and paste it into notepad to read it.

The setup program is the first impression a user gets of a piece of software. A bad setup experience will loose customers. Right now I really needed that update for my current workflow foundation project, but if this would have been a third party product I would probably have cancelled the installation and gone looking for another alternative.

When designing a program – especially if it is some kind of trial ware that isn’t yet payed during the installation, make sure to put effort into the installation experience. The customer has found your software, downloaded it and is going to try it out to decide if it’s worth buying. Having a hostile setup experience that causes a drop-off when you’re 80% through to getting payed is just stupid.

Does your setup program look like the one above? Then go fix it. Now.


Published at DZone with permission of Anders Abel, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

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