No, no, no – this cannot be! Fopp is without doubt, my favourite music retailer. Small, catering (kind of) to the long tail, and very fairly priced. Seems like they tried to grow too quickly. Fingers crossed!
Jeff Jarvis (of buzzmachine.com) critiscising the strategy of Yahoo! in the Guardian. Interesting read.
The first (of many I suspect) reviews of the iPhone that I’ll be reading over the coming days. Quote: “The iPhone is the rare convergence device where things actually converge.”
Subscribing to the podcast will keep you up to date with all of the new Flicker material as it gets released.The blog itself will contain all manner of things about music and user-experience design.
Archive for June, 2007
To the marketeers who think that it’s a good idea to insert promotional messages that disrupt the normal procedure of withdrawing funds from HSBC cash machines. You are wrong; wrong, wrong, wrong.
Casual observation should help you conclude that users have been through this procedure so many times before, that they barely read the screens presented to them.
They are 100% task focussed. They want cash. They are quite probably talking to a friend, and on the way to the pub; or off shopping. They are more likely to be looking over their shoulder at the impatient queue behind them than at your screen.
They have entered their PIN, they have selected ‘Cash Withdrawal’ and a desired amount. They are waiting. They are listening for the beeping that announces the imminent arrival of beer coupons. Please note – they are not reading the marketing message that asks them to accept or cancel your kind offer of information on a new service. Even if they were interested – with the queue behind them, they’re hardly in the mood, or context for hold-ups.
Just because there is a perceived opportunity, do not think it must be taken. Put yourself in the shoes (or the queue) of your customer and ask what the emotional response to an unwelcome, and disruptive delay in proceedings will be. If you conclude that a rational and reasonable response is anything other that ecstatic, ask yourself if this endeavor is a worthwhile one? Thank you.
All the information you could possibly want with regard to the history of the Doctor Who Theme, and the innovative individuals involved. Warning – barely legible 1996 era page design ahead!
The wikipedia entry on the pioneering BBC Radiophonic Workshop – musical hackers of the 1960s and 70s.
And finally, the Wikipedia entry on Delia Derbyshire. Icon of experimental music at the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop.
Something has been (quietly) making be very frustrated recently – the environmental irresponsibility of designers and marketers.
Big businesses, particularly airlines and car manufacturers, are increasingly unable to escape scrutiny – not that this appears to significantly affect their behaviour. Rather than sorting one’s own problems out, it’s far easier, and cheaper to draw attention elsewhere – to a competitor or neighbouring industry (as illustrated by a Guardian article about the UK distribution of Hummer cars):
“It’s all debatable, but the dust-to-dusters argue that this vehicle could be more carbon efficient than the Toyota Prius, if you take the whole process from manufacture to final disposal into account.”
…And you ignore the fact that the car will actually, er, be driven you mean?
Still, the point of this post wasn’t to talk about big business. They are being scrutinised (for all the good it’s doing). No – what’s driving me insane is how mass market, non-essential products are being designed with scant regard for environmental science – and escaping scrutiny.
Two random examples that have wedged themselves in my consciousness recently (that I won’t attempt to link to because of their transient and disposable nature): Apetina Feta by Arla, and L’Oreal’s new anti-aging moisturiser for men (Men Expert Vitalift Double Moisturiser). Both appear to be marketing themselves on the deliberate use of (approximately) twice as much non-biodegradable plastic packaging as is actually necessary.
Let’s take the Feta – the print marketing is differentiating the product exclusively on the fact that inside the plastic tub, is another plastic tub – with holes! Great – now the consumer need not bother with that multi-purpose and re-usable tool – the slotted spoon. Instead, they can now deposit in a land fill, twice as much packaging when preparing their greek salads.
As for the L’Oreal packaging the separation of the moisturiser and anti-aging components within the dispenser serve the purpose of reducing the amount of product in the container whilst increasing the amount of packaging – wasteful yes, but profitable also (I imagine). It’s as if stripey toothpaste were never invented.
With enough change at the everyday, impactable level, we all have the potential to make a huge impact – designers should be playing their part (as should consumers with the their choice of products and lifestyle).
On a related tangent – Emily Thornberry, MP for Islington South and Finsbury illustrated in her Guardian article about cycling to work, that enough of us effecting a small, effective change in our habits could make a big impact:
‘…in the UK, we still have a long way to go. Just 3% of commuters here cycle, with around 4 million people still driving less than three miles to work – a 20-minute bike ride each way. If all of these people swapped their cars for bikes it would save around 1m tonnes of CO2 a year.’
To end on a positive note, Tesco do increasingly seem to be acting on customer demand and moving towards an environmentally friendlier practice. They will now deliver your shopping without carrier bags (allowing you to unload directly from reusable crates on your doorstep). And, increasingly, the packaging used for veg is compostable and bio-degradable.
Small steps yes, but if we all took them?
I’m increasingly losing faith in the quality of Apple products. Less than a month after my Airport Express bit the dust, my 60Gb iPod’s hard-disk seems to have died too. Maybe this page will help?
Given that I’m 90% certain that the hard drive is the problem with my iPod, this will hopefully be the cheapest path back to portable audio heaven. It also means I don’t have to give any money to Apple!
Utterly awe-inspiring, and barely believable! The software that analyses images from the web, and pieces together navigable, 3d representations is so incredible, that it is indistinguishable from magic (to badly quote Arthur C Clarke).
Arthur C. Clarke’s three laws, including the ‘indistinguishable from magic’ statement.
Irene Au, Director of User Experience at Google (formerly at Yahoo! and Netscape) talks with Jeff Veen about making UED a core part of business strategy and culture.
Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO on innovation as a business strategy (as opposed to acquisition or cost reduction and increasing margins). The central theme: storytelling and rapid prototyping is pivotal in making design thinking a core part of business roadmaps.
Very slick demo movies of Microsoft’s touch-screen innovations. Very nice, and intuitive interactions are shown – although the playlist organisation shows some remarkable similarities to the iPhone. I sense patent disputes ahead!