Archive for December, 2008

When I look at the navigational menus on most DVDs, I am immediately struck by how busy everything is. Nearly every surface is either covered by an image, or a texture, or some sort of animation. Nothing is left unadorned, creating a very busy design that makes it hard for the viewer to accomplish their […]

I have a small paper shredder at home. Lately, it’s been running too long after each shred, and it gets clogged up quite often. Since it was only $30 and I got a solid two years of service from it, I should just replace it, right? Well, not so fast. I’ve been checking out shredders […]

Lots of articles have been written about the importance of “you are here” navigation within websites and applications. Basically, if a process involves more than one step, you should tell the user how many steps there are in total, and which step they are currently on. Similarly, it’s helpful to give them an easy way […]

Priced to move


If you’ve visited any online store this season, you’ve probably seen prominent areas for “Gifts under $50” and similar budget-driven sections. Since the web lets retailers organize the same products in many different ways, it’s a no-brainer to help people shop based on their budget. But could the same approach work for retailers with physical […]

In most parts of the country, temperatures tend to be on the colder side during the peak of holiday shopping. And if what I saw last weekend was any indication, highs in the mid-20s won’t do much to deter people from getting their shopping done. Yet besides turning on the heat, most stores aren’t doing […]

I’ve often heard that giving shoppers too much structure can reduce impulse buys. True or not, the idea is that if people know exactly where to find what they want, they’ll be less likely to randomly encounter other things to buy. And judging by how haphazardly some stores are organized during the holidays, I have […]

I’ve been getting a lot more email spam lately, and almost all of it is holiday themed. While this obviously isn’t a scientific sample, I have to wonder if spammers do in fact step up their efforts during the holiday season. This behavior would make sense, as people are out shopping for bargains and may […]

While walking past a hotel on Sunday, I noticed a very odd setup at one of their entrances. This particular entrance was closed, and there was a roped-off area in front of the doors. To any logical person, the barricade made it pretty clear that you had to use another entrance. But despite this, there […]

Maybe it’s just the shows I watch, but it seems like every prime-time slot is filled with those new Sprint commercials. You know, the ones where the CEO walks along the street and tells you why Sprint’s service and pricing are so great. Something always bothered me about this campaign, but I couldn’t put a […]

Every few months, I get a flyer in the mail that advertises a new store opening. Typically, these are from major supermarket or pharmacy retailers. To some extent, these mailings are spam, since they’re addressed to “Current Resident”. However, the right address is on there, so they clearly know where the recipient lives. Why, then, […]