Archive for October, 2008

Sidewalk taxes

22Oct08

During the warmer months, many of Chicago’s restaurants set up outdoor dining areas. Normally this works out fine, and there’s plenty of room to walk around the makeshift patios. But sometimes the restaurants go too far, blocking more than two-thirds of an already narrow walking path. In the absence of any regulations, they have every […]


The next time you see a sign that says “Under construction” or “Pardon our dust while we remodel”, check for one more thing. Specifically, see if they’ve provided a picture of what the work is going to look like when it’s completed. In my experience, this is a rare find — maybe 10% of construction […]


With retail sales slumping in a difficult economy, many stores are running sales and providing significant loyalty discounts. Typically, they would offer something like $20 off $100, or another promo based on single-day purchases. However, I’m surprised to see that almost nobody is offering cumulative purchase discounts. What am I talking about? Instead of just […]


One of the websites that I use regularly has a built-in messaging feature. Whenever someone sends you a message, it appears in a special area where you can reply, delete, etc. The site also tries to notify you when new messages come in. The problem is, these notifications are always wrong. For example, if I […]


I just learned there’s a Lego store on Michigan Avenue. I’m not exactly in the market for a large quantity of Legos, but I do pass by that area quite often. Since Lego stores are few and far between, I thought I would have noticed the store by now. Then I discovered the problem: it’s […]


Last weekend, I got to see part of the Chicago Marathon. With over one million spectators, it’s a pretty major event, spanning a huge area from the downtown Loop to the surrounding neighborhoods. Of course, the crowds of spectators tend to purchase a lot of food and drink, which means big business for the restaurants […]


These days, most software designers understand that confirmation messages are a good thing. For example, if the user just made some changes, you should show a message that says “Changes saved” or something along those lines. But aside from showing the confirmation, where should you take the user next? Should you bring them back to […]