Archive for December 2, 2003
Well, it’s time to shop for my sister-in-law. She’s just finished a degree in illustration, and so I thought it would be cool to get her a poster of something arty. I eventually decided on The Story of Letters, from Exploratorium (now offline). Since she was interested in typography I thought that a gift of a chart that tracked the progress of the modern alphabet might be fun. OK, time to buy.
Getting the poster into the cart and through checkout was fairly painless. I was then asked to choose my shipping address. At least this one has got some options that were resonably easy to understand. Read more »
This year at Christmas my family will be split between Brisbane, Australia and Tauranga, New Zealand. Since I was going to have to send presents to at least one location, I thought it was time I dipped my toe into the waters of christmas gift buying online. Traditionally I’ve shied away from it, mainly because all the problems of buying online are multiplied when shopping for someone else. I have to worry about whether an item of clothing will fit, delays in shipping in case it is going to arrive after the 25th of December, gift wrapping. There are just so many things to screw up. But, taking a deep breath, I started taking a look around…
The first thing I tried was a boardgame that I’d heard about called Carcassonne. I had been recommended the site www.kumquat.com (now offline). Read more »
I’ve always been a fan of EFT-POS (Electronic Funds Transfer at Point Of Sale) since I got my first card in 1992. But just lately I’ve been frustrated with inconsistency of the whole customer experience. You’d think by now that the banks, supermarkets and retail outlets would have it sorted. But I still struggle with the simplest of tasks: how I’m supposed to present my card. Do I hand it to you? Or do I swipe it myself? Those machines drive me nuts. The laws of logic dictate that I should insert the card the right way 50% of the time. Unfortunately the more pervasive Murphy’s Law kicks in to ensure my chances of success are much lower. Then, just when I think I’ve got it all sorted and go to swipe myself I’m foiled by a card reader hidden on the front of the register.
And what about getting cash out? Sometimes you’ll sign for it and they keep the receipt. Other times you keep the receipt. And just to mix it up you’ll occasionally reach for a pen only be told that you don’t need to sign at all. It’s a Seinfeld episode waiting to happen. You leave the counter feeling mildly embarassed. The teller thinks you might be mildly retarded. Read more »
“Understanding human needs is half the job of meeting them.” Adlaid Stevenson
If asked to summarise what I got from the three days I spent at the mobile commerce conference in Melbourne, the quote above would be it. In three days of listening to speakers talk on topics ranging from how they’ve successfully made mobile technology work for their business, wireless standards and uptake of mobile services in South East Asia; there was one consistent message in all their stories – if it’s not useful, it won’t be used.
It was a fantastic time to get an understanding for what is happening in the mobile world in Australia, New Zealand and in certain parts of South East Asia. Consideration for usability in mobile devices, services and applications will be an area to watch very closely as ‘next generation’ services and handsets hit the market. Read more »
Last night I decided to order some pizza from Pizza Hutt. I rang their 0800 number on my cellphone, and got a pre-recorded message saying that I should try out their new text message pizza delivery service. Now, normally I’m not a big fan of text messaging. It might cost less than a phone call, but in my experience doesn’t save any time. Maybe I need a dialing wand. Still, I like to support new technology and initiaitives, so texted the word PIZZA to 8383.
This was the reply:
“PZA HUT TXT: 2 Ordr 4 delivry Snd the TXTcode to 8383. Chk out our $5 discount deal! Snd the word MENU to 8383 for Deals and TXTcodes. Qs? 0800838383″ Read more »
I happened to be in Singapore a couple of years ago. If you’ve ever gone to Singapore you will know about the amazing electronic gadgets that are cheap as chips compared to what we pay here in New Zealand. Reciting some seemingly important work related reasons why I needed the (then) latest Visor Prism PDA, I convinced myself that I needed to buy one. I think I used it solidly for about 3 months.
Today, I’m using a trusty $10.99 paper diary from Whitcoulls while my Visor Prism sits relegated in a box at home. If we talk return on investment, I think my diary has outperformed my Visor by a magnitude of a thousand. Read more »
Well, we’ve just come back from a 2-day conference on Computer-Human Interaction down in Dunedin, NZ. It’s mostly an academic conference – I think there were only a half dozen of the 72 delegates not from a university. Of those half dozen, Sam and I were the only ones from a usability company – the rest worked for software companies or consultancies.
The best thing – being able to hang out with some people who are in love with this stuff as much as we are. Oh, and being snowed in for a day – pretty unusual in this country. Read more »