Archive for November, 2007

Right by the signal strength indicator on my Blackberry, there’s a little readout that says things like “EDGE”, “GSM”, etc. The basic idea is that you can see what sort of coverage you have, since EDGE provides faster speeds than GSM/GPRS. But here’s where it gets stupid: when the letters appear in lowercase (e.g. “edge”), […]

Noise pollution


How many times have you done a web search and clicked a few of the results, only to be greeted with blaring music, an unwelcome voice-over, or a series of robotic noises? If your browsing habits are anything like mine, this happens at least once a day, which sets off a mad dash to close […]

One of the few downsides to living in downtown Chicago is the long trek required to get to stores like Target or Wal-Mart. Granted, Target has a store just south of downtown, right by a major train station. It’s only a five minute walk from the train to the store, which makes it fairly easy […]

While looking at some leftover bags of Halloween candy, I noticed a very smart packaging decision that the manufacturer made. I’m sure this caught my eye when I bought the candy, but I forgot to write about it at the time. So what’s the innovation? Instead of printing the number of pieces per bag in […]

Many retailers sell via multiple channels, such as their catalog, website, and local stores. It’s also no surprise that people tend to use the retailer’s website to research in-store purchases, and vice versa. But despite the anecdotal and research data supporting this behavior, some serious usability problems make it very hard to shop across channels […]

Once your website grows to a certain size, you’re going to end up with a few broken links. Other sites tend to change their filenames, move to new domains, or take certain pages down entirely. This is especially true with smaller sites that don’t understand how to use a redirect when a URL is changed. […]

Once in a while, I get a phone call from a customer or partner company asking why I haven’t replied to their requests. They go on to explain how they’ve sent two or three messages about the same issue, and they ask why I’m ignoring them. So I check my sent messages or the CRM […]

Over the past few months, I’ve been trying out various versions of Opera Mini 4 for mobile browsing. I had at least two beta versions, all of which installed and worked fine on my BlackBerry. Granted, there was a problem actually starting the install the first time, but I figured this out with a web […]

Whenever I receive a package or a letter, the first thing I do is throw away the junk. You know, those mini-catalogs, special offers, and other things that someone pays to include with credit card bills, shipments, and other legitimate mailings. This phenomenon got me thinking: could businesses provide a way for customers to […]

I’m not really what you’d call a patron of the arts, though my mailbox would suggest otherwise. I belong to a grand total of two museums and non-profit organizations, but I seem to be on the mailing list of at least a dozen more. The funny thing is, aside from the stuff that everyone gets […]