This week’s iRacing Forum Post of the Week comes as a reply to another post with the title: Staff: Is the Beta UI Still Considered Beta?”
Before I get to the post of the week, consider the question originally posed. Is the Beta UI still beta? I would say no. It must be full production since iRacing is forcing its members to use it to access certain functions of the simulator, primarily hosted heat racing and something called “time attack.”
Now that I’ve answered that, on to the post of the week which comes in the form of a video by Nick Neben. This video doesn’t show all of the problems with the iRacing Beta UI, but it does display the basic issues on the very face of the UI and the incredible lack of user friendliness at its very core. This video shows us that the iRacing Beta UI needs to be trashed and rebuilt from the ground up by someone who understands end-user experience.
After viewing this video, I recreated one of my league race events in the Beta UI so that I could test a setting. After I recreated the event, I wanted to view the settings to make sure I had put in the correct fixed setup for the race. That resulted in the following video, further displaying the constant stability issues with this interface and the need to scrap this project in favor of some other solution.
So there you have a couple of examples of the iRacing Useless Interface. Virtually everyone would still be using the website exclusively if we weren’t forced to use the Useless Interface to access some important new features.
Continuing through the forum thread, there are a few comments that are worth discussing.
Erik S. Scherer asks the obvious question, one that iRacing won’t or can’t answer.
Why not just re-work the website rather then do the UI? Wouldn’t that have been easier?
It probably wouldn’t be easier but it most certainly would be better, and it could be done. The website uses some technologies that should be scrapped because they have compatibility and stability issues. Instead, some of the very same technologies are being used in the new interface. The desktop app UI removes the compatibility issues but the stability issues remain, and, if anything, they are worse in the desktop UI. iRacing’s mistake is at the very foundation of this user interface, with the very technology being used to design it.
Then we get this post:
That’s what they are doing. The Beta UI is a website embedded in a desktop app. It is built using web technologies. You can check it for yourself here https://members-login.iracing.com/
The current website has a very old codebase, probably using obsolete technologies and discontinued libraries. I’m a web app developer and it’s a pain in the ass working with those kind of projects. Once they have finished migrating all the current functionality of the current website to the new UI and it’s stable and has good performace, maybe they can replace the current website with the new one. Meanwhile, developing new features for both systems is costly.
Pretty much everything in that post is wrong.
- The Beta UI is not a website embedded in a desktop app. It uses web technologies, but it is not a website if I can’t access it with a web browser.
- Don’t bother clicking the link given in the post, it’s a dead end with no access after you log in. I’m not sure what this is supposed to prove.
- The current website does not have a very old codebase. The current website is built on a platform that is very active and is constantly updated.
- iRacing will never replace the current website with the “new one.” There is no new website. There is a new user interface that should have never seen the light of day, and iRacing will never completely replace the website with the desktop interface. iRacing will use the desktop interface for sim racing related activities. Statistics and many other parts of the current website will remain.
Here’s another good post from Chris Burgess.
It’s unacceptable to force your paying customers to use a broken, buggy, unstable platform to launch the sims newest features. The Beta UI isn’t fit for use, it’s an embarrassment to your product and should be taken down immediately.
Decisions like this are preventing iRacing from being the juggernaut it should be. In the era of esport, the best online racing sim is floundering because of amateurish management. Let your technicians focus on the technical stuff and hire a CEO who understands business and can devise a coherent strategic plan.
And lastly, here’s an interesting tidbit from iRacing staff member Alexander Horn.
New forums are coming that will be accessible from the new UI and on mobile. In their current state (doesn’t even have a theme yet) the new forums are 100 times better. We have just started testing all of the new features.
I’ve been reading that new forums are coming for at least three years. I’ll believe there are new forums when I see them, and I seriously doubt that they will be ‘100 times better.’
The members of the iRacing community would have a lot more confidence in the product and the staff if they could see a product that actually works the way it’s supposed to. Those of us who are primarily dirt racers understand that there are still many problems in that form of iRacing, and now we’re being forced to use a broken desktop interface that is all but unusable just to replicate something resembling a dirt racing event. iRacing, get your act together.