If you are (were) using trakt.tv to track which TV shows you are following and have been watching then you might have noticed that they recently made a major upgrade. This was a bit of a surprise, at least to me, since I had not seen any warnings about this, but the site was rather poor so an update was a bit overdue. However, to me, this update is one big screw-up! At first glance the interface looks more modern and cooler. However, in terms of usage it is not really much of an improvement. The dashboard is not very useful for starters.
First is a list of upcoming shows. Fairly logical but if you are living in Europe it is of course meaningless. Okay that is not the fault of trakt.tv but read on. Next is two huge panels of statistics which are pretty much just a waste of space. Then finally is a list of my latest watched shows. Also here each show is a huge blob in a long list with a lot of wasted space. The display do not at all adapt itself in any meaningful way to the screen size as they claim. A way of customizing which information you actually want to have displayed on this page would be useful. There is also no direct way to get to my collections, my lists, my watchlist etc. from the dashboard. You have to go to you profile and from there you can navigate further. From the profile page you can navigate to your collections, lists etc. There is however no way to directly see your watchlist. I find that rather strange. In general the interface seems to be poorly tested on different browsers. On my IE11 I have frequent scrolling issues and this is what the search box at the end of the profile page looks like.
Another annoying new “feature” is that you have to log on every time. Even if you just close the browser and open it again you have to log on because there is no way of telling the auth-mechanism to keep you logged on. Now these are perhaps glitches that I could live with in the hope that some (near) future update would fix it but what is most glaring is that some necessary functionality seems to be absent from the web interface. Specifically:
- There is no way to rate a show from the web interface.
- You cannot add a show to any of your lists nor can you edit your lists.
This is just a show stopper for me. The site is useless in its current state. Maybe I have missed something or some way of doing these things but then it is very well hidden and certainly not very intuitive. Unfortunately they did not update their documentation so all the FAQ’s, help and support pages are also useless. To make matters worse it appears that they have screwed over all their app developers as well. A new API have been introduced and they have not retained any reasonable form of backwards compatibility. Consequently my Watchlist app on Windows 8 and several others have stopped working. I would expect a few teething problems after a major upgrade but this is just too amateurishly done. To release an update that lacks major functionality is just astonishing and to release a new API without any backwards compatibility and without retaining the old API for, at least, a grace period is arrogant and a slap in the face of both users and app developers. Professional sites allows users to beta-test major changes like this and, before major issues are worked out, users can switch back to the old interface. This was just done, dropped like a bomb into the users, without any real warning. This is simply a major screw-up as far as I am concerned.
I am very close to giving up on using this service. Unless some major fixes arrives, both on their web interface and on the app front (and I totally understand if app developers give up on this) then I am going to use some other service/app. Actually I have already spent a few hours yesterday to manually migrate my shows and watched status to the TrackSeries app on Windows 8. This was one of the first apps that I tried and it always worked fairly well and used Windows 8 app data sync properly from day one so that you could use it on multiple devices. It’s main drawback is that it has no web-interface but at least it works which is more than one can say about Trakt.tv or any apps depending on Trakt.tv right now.
Update 06.01.2014: At this date trakt.tv. seems to have fixed the logon and made it possible to rate shows from the web-interface again. The rest is still pretty much botched up though. In particular, you cannot edit your lists and any apps relying on the old API are still screwed.