Wednesday, February 18, 2009

EBay Identity Theft Creep

The #1 and #2 blog usability mistakes by Jakob Nielsen are not having a biography and not having a photo. I don't have those problems on my blog, but because of them I have another one. Identity theft.

I woke up this morning to an email from a kind soul asking me if I was selling computer items on eBay. When I went to the link they sent me, there was my name and photo from my blog. Some creep assumed my identity and is selling stuff as if it is me. I hope next time I become a spokesman for something that I know about it. Here is a link to Bizzaro Michael Grossman:

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Simpsons Go HD, Change The Opening For the First Time Ever

New formats inspire new things. Last night the Simpsons went Hi-Def for the first time, and marked the occasion with a new opening sequence. This is the first time they've changed the form of the opening in its twenty year history. Check out the twins next to Lisa's during band practice feverishly texting away. 

Direct link to YouTube video:

EBay & Craigslist: Unintended Tools for Dismal Economic Times

There is an article in USA TODAY about how people are using online applications to try to survive these difficult financial times. Here are some quotes from the postings on eBay & Craigslist:

"Please give me a chance. I'm looking for a job but to no avail"

"I was recently laid off from my job, and I am job hunting, but I am finding I have very few 'interview-worthy' outfits"

"We HATE asking for help but we don't have anywhere to go if we lose our house"

When everyone was talking about Web 2.0 applications, these weren't the users they thought of. Websites like eBay and Craigslist were not designed for this, yet they have become them.

If you try to use them from the other end of the spectrum, it's almost impossible to help people. There isn't a category on eBay for people posting "help me" ads, and performing searches on this topic produces lots of things you weren't looking for. They may want to consider making these type of unintended goals part of their design.

Here is a link to the USA TODAY article:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Quantitative, Qualitative or Low Hanging Fruit? When To Take Action on Observations

How much data do you need before implementing a change in your product? I heard an interview with Brian Tierney, CEO of Philadelphia Media Holdings on NPR last week. He's owner of The Philadelphia Enquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News. The downward spiral of the print business has been going on since the 1980s. His struggle to increase circulation and profitability isn't something new, but there was something in the interview that was interesting. 

He told a story of walking into a Wawa and seeing someone purchase a cup of coffee for two dollars and a newspaper for fifty cents. As the man walked away, he took out the sports section and threw out the rest of the newspaper. That was all it took for Brian Tierney to make the decision to up the price from 50 to 75 cents. His rationale was that if people are spending a couple dollars on coffee every day and if just the sports section was worth 50 cents, the rest of it was worth more. 

I wonder if this was a real observation or an anecdote he created to back up a belief he had. Assuming this was real, this was a single piece of data used to change the price of a product. He didn't embark on a survey to see if this change was acceptable or have someone set up a focus group. 

When is the time right to take an action based on feedback? How much feedback is needed to make a decision? Product design is an art form that requires events with uncertain outcomes. Never count your money while you're sittin' at the table. Tell'em Kenny...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ever Buy A Technology Product You Couldn't Get To Work? Watch This

How often does product design backfire, frustrating customers on so many levels? The Onion captures these frustrations from design to marketing to upgrades. Hide the kids or put on headphones before watching the video below.

Sony Releases New Stupid Piece Of Shit That Doesn't Fucking Work

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Super Bowl Football: Why Doesn't Marketing Understand User Experience?

Ben Roethlisberger has not worn gloves in any game this entire season. He has to change this, however, for the biggest game of all, the Super Bowl. Why? Because Marketing still doesn't get what User Experience is all about. Someone in NFL Marketing made the decision to put the logo for this year's Super Bowl right on the ball where its size makes it difficult to grip. At the NFL, colors and design are more a priority than gripping the ball. 

Is that what brand means to them? Literally, the branding element could directly impact the outcome of the game. This is pretty absurd to still be going on in professional sports after what the NBA went through with their ball redesign

Here is what Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roth said this week:

"It's tough because, as you said, they do have the big logo on them and it's not the easiest thing to grip in the world and we're the only position that has to deal with it on a consistent basis."

"So we've been working on them and getting them ready. I'm sure (Cardinals QB) Kurt (Warner) will have his gloves on, which I did in the first game (Super Bowl XL), and it helps a bit."

"For me, it's just going to be an adjustment beacuse my hands will be sweating for the first time in probably three months or so."

Some people just seem to fail upward. To show how silly this decision to change the football is, I'll let this story from the Onion do the fool-making: