NetVibes case study : useless user forums

You’re signed in to your account at and need help. What do you do? You might check out the FAQs or you might click the “Help” button.

In the case of NetVibes, if you click “Help” you’ll find yourself at Forums. And even if you are logged in to your account (you probably would not be looking for help if you weren’t logged in!) you’ll see the “Sign In” prompt, whether or not it’s your first time there.

NetVibes - Forum
NetVibes Forum Requires Another Login

Of course, you cannot see a FAQ or Help link from your primary Dashboard page. You have to find and click Manage before the footer navigation appears on the page, coughing up the FAQ link.

The FAQ may or may not render. Notice that on the FAQ page, Help now appears in the upper right navigation. (It was missing on Manage.) Help even has its own page, although it’s not a clickable word in the footer. [These are design woes separate from the issue of needing a new login for Forums.]

NetVibes FAQ
The NetVibes FAQ Page In Mac/Chrome
NetVibes FAQ
The NetVibes FAQ Page In Mac/Safari
NetVibes Help
The NetVibes Help Page In Mac/Safari

Wait. It gets worse.

Use your netvibes email and password to log in.

What? The world has too many lawyers:

NetVibes Forum Registration
NetVibes Forum Registration

I clicked “continue registration” and found myself … not in the Forums. No, I was back at my main Dashboard page, with no links to the Forum or Help.

Netvibes Dashboard
NetVibes Dashboard

And why was I trying to get into the Forums? Because my design/theme has disappeared and my public page is now unreadable. And I can find nothing — nada — that provides the slightest clue as to how to adjust the design of my public page.

So I navigate (four clicks) back to the Forums. I have to sign in — even though I’m logged in and just went through a hoop. Finally, NetVibes presents me with the page that I should have seen only if I wanted to reply or start a new thread:

NetVibes Forums Account
Account Info For NetVibes Forums


Unfortunately, logging in did not miraculously serve up a search box, so the user Forums are, in effect, useless.

This is why I’ve never warmed to NetVibes. The user experience is, in a word, horrible. I have friends who love the service, which I agree is kinda cool. Or it would be if I could make my public page readable. But getting there? Holy cow.



By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

One reply on “NetVibes case study : useless user forums”

i’m having the same trouble and i feel stupid… i can’t even ask for help on this matter on the forumbecause i can’t register.. wtf

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