Archive for August, 2009

Southwest has a neat feature on their website called “Shortcut to low fares”. Basically, you select the departure and arrival cities, and it shows you a calendar view with the lowest fares for each day. This works great, except for one problem: there’s no way to display nonstop flights only. Why does limiting the search […]

While researching a fairly boring IT product, I ran into a site with a product picture labeled “actual size”. Making that sort of claim online is always a bad idea. You see, the image has the same number of pixels whether you’re viewing it on a regular desktop monitor, or a small laptop or netbook […]

It should come as no surprise that having annoying people right outside your door is bad for business. For instance, I tend to avoid one store that always has an obnoxious beggar on the corner, only a few feet from the entrance. But when I think about the various types of people that can scare […]

I see a lot of articles and blog posts that end with “stay tuned”. This phrase drives me crazy, although I’ve probably used it once or twice myself in the same context. There are several things that bother me about it: it’s vague, it’s overused, and it seems to take control away from the reader, […]

Here in Chicago, we have dozens of outdoor concerts and festivals throughout the summer. Tourists love them, but they can be a real pain for those of us who live in downtown. Here are a few reasons why: – You can hear the music (especially bass) from blocks away. – The entire area around the […]

A few weeks ago, Trader Joe’s started selling their own brand of hand sanitizer. I asked the people at the customer service desk about it, and they said a lot of customers had requested hand sanitizer, and that it was selling well so far. In fact, I was one of the people who asked for […]

When people fly into Chicago, it seems like most of them take a taxi from the airport to the city, or rent a car that will probably sit parked at the hotel for their entire trip. Since a cab will run you $30-50 or more and the train is about $3, I’m always baffled by […]

In theory, targeting ads across multiple websites should lead to high conversion rates. For instance, say that someone goes to a hotel site and looks at room prices for a trip they’re considering. Then, they start seeing ads on unrelated websites promoting the same hotel chain, destination and time of year. Would this person be […]

After thinking about the long lines at a nearby tourist attraction, I began to wonder: does the venue have an obligation to take care of those people while they wait to get inside? In other words, is there some rule — written or unwritten — that says they need to provide water on hot days, […]

When I look at products that are sold in liquid form, at least half of them come in opaque bottles or containers. This gives the package designers more freedom, since you’re starting with a clean slate and don’t have to worry about the product itself showing through, or the impact of ambient light that passes […]