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Return of MYOB

Last week I was contacted by the Mac team at MYOB, the software that I briefly wrote about 2 years ago. There isn’t a lot in that post, but it’s negative, and apparently showing up rather high in UK only searches for ‘MYOB’.

The chap I spoke to explained how much MYOB had improved since v11 (the last one I used), so I felt it was my duty to at least give a trial (even though I am now hiring a Bookkeeper for my finances). I offered to hide the original post while I did so, as I felt really sorry for them. After giving v16 a spin, I made the post live again (which is why it suddenly popped up again as the latest post on Monday – doh!) and here is the feedback I sent to them:

  • Installation took over 40 mins! A .sit file had to be expanded, followed by a .dmg and then an installer where the location had to be chosen. First of all, stuffit no longer comes with Mac by default (so I had to download an application to open the .sit file), a .zip would’ve been better. Secondly, Mac users are used to just dragging and dropping an application into their applications folder – simple and straightforward. Many developers are now doing away with drive images, and simply zipping the application itself, which is even better. The Aladdin installer not only took ages to install, but looked very dated. The instruction text looked like OS 9!
  • Once installed, it launched the ‘whats new’ page in Safari, rather than respecting my default browser setting.
  • Opening the app and creating a new company file, the Assistant featured a badly aliased and compressed oval image. Form fields are the OS 9 style text (Geneva?), and go to Anti-Aliased Lucida Grande once filled in – looks horrible!
  • The ‘Command Centre’ interface is still the same horrible mess from v11. It still looks and acts like a PC application that has been ported to OS 9, and then to X. Functions and features are still hidden behind layers of tabs and windows and dropdowns. Aside from a new application icon (which is a bit of a confused mess in itself) I see no interface changes that make this look and act more like a Mac application.
  • Address Book integration. The fact that it has to ‘sync’ addresses, and then warns you to back up addressbook data meant I didn’t want to proceed! How unnerving is that? I use Billings to do my invoices, and that simply uses an Address Book group (which it creates automatically) to read addresses from – no syncing needed!
  • The invoice template customisation is better, but nowhere near good enough. There are also no controls for things like line-spacing
  • Apparently iCal integration is coming, but as it isn’t yet available, I can’t comment on that. Quite frankly I didn’t want to go any further.

Overall, MYOB still feels un-intuitive, messy and distinctly un Mac-like. Maybe these things don’t matter much to the rest of MYOB’s market, but they do to me.

If you want to see a Mac finance app done right, look at the wonderful Billings, my invoice application and job timer of choice. It’s everything that MYOB isn’t: usable and native.

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The Hickensian is the journal of Jon Hicks, one half of the creative partnership Hicksdesign. Take a look at the work we do.

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