Archive for February, 2009

I’ve had my fair share of problems with other companies’ support and contact pages lately. One thing that really annoys me is when they don’t tell you upfront about what’s available to you. In other words, it’s very frustrating to look all over for an email address or phone number, only to later discover that […]

Organizations that operate based on an appointment system seem to be getting very good at automating the grunt work inherent in that approach. For example, you can book a doctor’s appointment or an oil change or a dinner reservation online, without having to pick up the phone. And to make sure you don’t forget about […]

More and more TV shows seem to be relying upon product placements as a way to monetize their content. After all, you can’t fast-forward through these subtle (or not so subtle) spotlights on a product, since the placements are intertwined with the narrative. Ok, I get that part. But what’s the point of inserting your […]

It’s really irritating when product designers violate the established conventions or design patterns for a particular interaction. Here are a few examples relating to text and hyperlinks on web pages: – Links that aren’t underlined (making it difficult to tell that they’re links at all) – Regular text that’s blue and underlined (so it ends […]

When presenting prospective customers with a list of testimonials, common sense says to provide as much detail as possible. In other words, prospects will view a testimonial as more credible when they see the name of the person providing the endorsement and actual data on the benefits they realized from using the product. This makes […]

I’ve noticed that more and more sites are adding an option to save or “remember” your login information. However, this feature behaves very differently depending on how the website implemented it. For instance, some sites save only your username, but they keep it stored until you turn the feature off. In contrast, other sites save […]

There is nothing more frustrating than a program that generates an error, asks you to try again, and continues to show that same error message, trapping you in an endless and frustrating loop. Even for experienced users, it can be hard to figure out when to try again and when to just give up. But […]

While finishing up my taxes, the tax software showed a few “errors” that I needed to correct. Actually, these weren’t errors at all, but instead consisted of a few either-or questions on a form that was otherwise blank and not even part of the tax return. Since I couldn’t continue without fixing the “errors”, I […]

If you have any type of stocks, mutual funds, or money market accounts, you probably receive a few tax forms each year. Not too long ago, these forms were always sent by US mail. But with the advent of online statements and other “paperless” technologies, even tax documents are now being delivered online. In most […]

The past couple of years, I’ve had to mail in my state tax return. (Don’t even ask why I couldn’t e-file — that’s a whole different fiasco.) And each time, I’m annoyed at having to copy and paste the address into a separate text document, enlarge it, print it, and finally cut it out to […]