Archive for May, 2008

Although user skills can vary widely, virtually everybody that browses the web will be familiar with the Back button, scroll bar, and other basic controls. So, why do so many sites still insist on presenting alternate sets of controls that do the same thing? Providing another way to accomplish a task that the user already […]

Which type of customer is more likely to remain loyal in the long run: the person who orders the same product every time, or the one who likes to experiment and try something new? I would probably guess that the first group is more loyal, but I wonder if they’re more likely to go elsewhere […]

Lately, it seems like all the customer service departments I encounter are grouping their responses into two categories: “No one has ever had a problem with that before” (so it must be your fault, not ours) -or- “This is affecting thousands of our customers” (it’s nothing personal, but there’s nothing we can do about it) […]

Most hardware and software products are designed to be used for a relatively long period of time, typically one year or more. During that time, the user will grow accustomed to how to operate the product, and the product has the opportunity to collect quite a bit of data about how its owner uses it. […]

Many non-profits will sell your contact information to other non-profits without your consent. However, these organizations rarely advertise any type of discount for patronizing the other organizations in their peer group. I find it ironic that they’re willing to blindly spam their members, but won’t provide any incentive for those who actually want to get […]

…are the ones that people take for granted. Customers use them to complete their tasks quietly and efficiently, and never think twice about just how useful those features actually are. But when there’s a bug or glitch with that functionality, you’d be amazed at how many people speak up. This isn’t a complaint on my […]

I’ve always found it strange that some professionals don’t follow the same advice that they give their clients. For example: – Doctors that smoke or drink heavily – Car salesmen that drive a different brand of car – Web designers that have terrible websites This sort of behavior erodes your credibility almost instantly. Why should […]

In the summer months, it never seems to get as cool as the daily low in the weather forecast would suggest. Those 65 degree nights always end up hotter and muggier than I expect. Thinking about this a bit, the reason is fairly obvious: the day’s lowest temperature usually occurs in the early morning hours […]

Last weekend, I took a walking tour of several Chicago landmarks that were all designed by a local architectural firm. The event concluded with a tour of the firm’s headquarters, which were quite impressive. However, one thing about the office tour surprised me: they began the session by apologizing for their floor design, treating it […]

In quotes


Ever notice how local businesses tend to put their slogans and taglines in quotes? For example, you might see a billboard for “Chicago’s premier Italian restaurant” or notice a utility van for a company that’s been “Providing affordable plumbing services for over 25 years”. In contrast, large national firms almost never put their slogans and […]