oDesk - Web Site Design, Features, Interfaces and Ease of Use
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Logins and Account Management
oDesk is a bit strange when it comes to login management: it’s sort of “half-way between” sites that fully remember you between sessions (like Elance) and those that make you log back in every hour or two (such as Guru). If you leave for a few hours and then return, the site still displays your name in the top right corner, and you can use most features the same way you did just after you signed in. However, as soon as you try to do anything sensitive, such as editing your profile or applying for a job, it will ask you to re-enter your password.
I suppose this is a reasonable compromise between convenience and security, and may help cut down on the number of lost or “hacked” accounts that oDesk has to deal with. Personally, though, I’d rather that we were given the option to not have to re-enter passwords so frequently.
Account information can be changed easily through the “User Info” section of the account profile, described above.
oDesk’s help system is quite good. I don’t think it’s up to the level of the system that Guru has implemented, but it is quite comprehensive, well written, and easily accessed.
To get to the help system, find the word “Help” with a question mark in front of it, located at the top of each page of the site. Hovering over this brings up a generic Help Center link, and one to access the “A-Z Index”, which is nice for quickly scanning the available topics. There are also links to Resources & Downloads (pretty empty at the moment) and to contact customer support.
Right next to the “? Help” menu is a nifty site search box that can be used to search various parts of the site. To use this for finding help topics, change the drop-down box next to it to “Help“ before you hit “go”.
The help files are well written and pretty easy to understand. They include extensive links to related help topics and even blog articles that contain pertinent information. There are also quotes from the oDesk terms of service where appropriate, which is a good idea that other companies should emulate.
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Last Site Update: May 18, 2011
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