Budgeting for Advertising and Customer Experience

“…$70 million for an ad campaign; $10 million to redesign the logo; a few thousand to “run a focus group” to assure the executives they’re doing the right thing. Business as usual.
The good news is that more and more companies are “getting it” and beginning to invest in improving what happens when customers actually arrive on the site. They’re not abandoning advertising; they’re just investing in a more balanced fashion.
Imagine what would happen if the potential client above had had these numbers:
$15,000,000…Ad budget
$15,000,000…Customer experience
Can you imagine a company investing in the customer experience as if it was as important as advertising? Imagine a site turning from a frustrating, stupid, slow experience into a smooth, quick, easy, informative, delightful experience that you wanted to return to – and might even tell your friends about. Shouldn’t *that* be a way (THE way) to run a business?”
Read: Budgeting for Advertising and Customer Experience

Cell Phone as Rosery

“Londoners create invisible mobile phone booths, while Parisians talk in the middle of the pavement and people from Madrid share their phone with friends.

These are some of the findings from a Surrey university study into mobile phone use in three European cities.

Despite differences of approach, all of them had one thing in common, they all loved their mobile phones.

Like a rosary, the mobile has this function of keeping the mind busy. People are cuddling their phones because it promotes well-being from touching a familiar object.”

Read City Dwellers ‘Cuddle’ Mobiles.

Super sized.

I had a dream the other night that I looked like the fat guy in Fight Club. I’m getting close I think – just give myself another few months and my ever expanding gut and chest will compete with the best of them.
I have reached the age it seems where I have to make a conscious effort to look after myself. It’s amazing to approach middle age (i’ve got a few years) and realise that nothing will come easy any more – I gotta work to just be normal.
Getting on the scales and realising that I have gained about 4 kilos these past 7 months was both disheartening and heartening. Heartening in that I haven’t gained more and disheartening in that I worked hard at one time to bring myself down to normality. Normality is really normal but on the Canadian east coast it would be considered malnourished. Too many drive through ‘restaurants’ and factory processed foods high in soy – salt – and artificial flavour and low in the good things.
Between the monster sized security personal in Vancouver and the super sized eaters at home I felt like a little guy travelling to Canada this past Chinese New Year. This despite being 184cm tall and 82kilo in weight. It’s good to live there. It makes you feel good about yourself. In fact I think people back home totally have everything backwards about what is so great about the place. All the emphasis on instant oral satisfaction – they forgo sexual kind (at least in the media) – and eat any new kind of processed food with amounts that indicate obsession. Consume consume. It’s no wonder there is a ‘war on drugs’ and an obsession with keeping sexual pleasure out of the public consciousness (you can’t even show a woman’s nipple in the US). If people smoke dope and feel free to explore their sexuality, will that fulfil them to the point that corporations lose money? People seek pleasure. Corporations want them to get that from a Big Mac (or 3) or a Mars bar.
I don’t feel this same pressure in Asia primarily because of the life I have created here. The markets are great here as well – fresh fruit is abundant. But the one thing which is difficult and that people back home seem to neglect in favour of a visit to McDonald’s is leading an active lifestyle. All the options that are available to me when I lived in Canada simply can’t be had here. There is no way I am riding a mountain bike to work everyday here, nor is there an abundance of places to walk and enjoy the outdoors. There are many weekend getaways where you can enjoy nature and get some exercise. Unfortunately, there will be so many people that you may not see the forest for the trees, so to speak.
So it’s off to the track at the local junior high school. Around and around and around. People back home don’t know how good they have it.

A Definition of Interaction Design (Dan)

“Interaction design is the art of facilitating or instigating interactions between humans (or their agents), mediated by products. By interactions, I mostly mean communication, either one-on-one (a telephone call), one-to-many (blogs), or many-to-many (the stock market). The products an interaction designer creates can be digital or analog, physical or incorporeal or some combination thereof.

Interaction design is concerned with the behavior of products, with how products work. A lot of an interaction designer’s time will be spent defining these behaviors, but the designer should never forget that the goal is to facilitate interactions between humans. To me, it’s not about interaction with a product (that’s industrial design) or interaction with a computer (that’s human-computer interaction). It’s about making connections between people.”

Read the full article. Hat tip xBlog

Checklist for Building the Ideal News Web Site

“Here’s a list of ideas for how news sites could do things differently. Some of these notions are mine (based on years of covering this industry as a journalist, researcher and occasional consultant); others come from top consultants and academics who I’ve enlisted in this advice-fest. (I avoided asking people who currently manage or work at online-news operations; this column is about ideas that are out of the current industry mainstream.”

Some good points in this article yes but I don’t really understand why some people still go on about scrolling on the homepage. After all these years it is an issue that still causes such consternation.

We have design needs that state we need to display a certain amount of information on the homepage in order to allow an efficient start to wayfinding through a site. Newspaper homepages usually need a huge amount of content, while portals often require much more navigation. We have business needs that state certain items must be on the homepage. We have political issues which fight for position and a place on the homepage. All these come together to form a compromise which must be viewed on a low resolution display. A high level of information density is ok if designed properly and we need this information. We need more than simple titles for the latest articles. What’s so wrong with the scroll in the BBC news site?

What would improve the homepage would be to remove the garbage that users typically ignore: all types of promotions, site identity, and bullshit filler clipart, as well as pixels that are literally unused (I don’t mean whitespace). Get rid of those large banner ads and replace them with targeted text ads and use more of the available horizontal space.

Read the article.Thanks to WebWord Usability Weblog for the link.

Lectures on creativity and management

Copied liberally from the RSS feed comes a great link from Boing Boing.

Avi sez, “Andrew Hargadon used to work as a design engineer at IDEO. Then the academic bug bit him and he went on to research the innovation process from an insider’s perspective. His course notes are now online and provide simple but effective methods to understand and enhance your creative thought process.”


Thanks, Avi

and Boing Boing

A Website about Corporate Identity

“This website is the English version of a Dutch site that contains three sections.
The first section, a booklet about the general concept of corporate identity, is not translated. Suggested reading in English is the book Designing Brand Identity by Alina Wheeler.
The Resources section contains additional information about corporate identity, including a bibliography and links to related sites on the internet.
Furthermore, the site provides a catalogue containing descriptions of a large number of corporate identities.”

Composing the now

‘Composing the now’ – notes for a lecture on engagement with sonic time through sensors, electronica, loudspeakers and ears.
“There is an opinion that the absence of direct manual intervention creates machine music with a quality more closely related or even elevated to our ‘mind processes’ and ‘nature’ and even the ‘cosmos’.
Others insist that the interaction of our physical body with electronic music instruments adds a musicality that goes beyond machine music; some even speak about the occurrence of musical magic caused by this physical interaction.
In my vision the magic lays in the engagement and the convergence of both our mind and body with electronic/physical instruments while interacting with other musicians preferably in the presence of an audience!
Physical engagement – touch – adds more data streams, back and forth between the performer and the instrument.
We do not understand the meaning of all these data streams and leaving out some of these streams has been empirically shown to lessen the perceived musical quality.
In my personal vision for electronic music instrument design I have almost always pragmatically opened as many as possible data channels and their feedback between my body and the instruments.
In the early eighties I formulated thoughts about the importance of forcing the performer to apply physical effort when playing sensor instruments. I assumed that also this effort factor was crucial in the transmission of musicality through electronic instruments.
Now I think the crucial aspect of perceived musicality is not the notion of effort itself, but what we feel and perceive of how the physical effort is managed by the performer.
This is also why laptop performance – where the performer is sort of hidden behind the screen is so un-engaging to the audience when played outside of a dance context.”

Designing Effective User Interfaces for Wireless Devices (Intel)

“In this paper we outline a technique for quantifying design and quality assurance for wireless development. While the specific example we use is a Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) application, you can use the same set of principles and mathematical models to quantify other types of mobile and wireless applications. The model we suggest can be used as the specifications for a tool that evaluates various user interfaces for devices, particularly mobile and wireless devices.”

Learn more… Eventually you will need to download a .pdf file.

Perfect Massage in Taipei

“Chung Shan N. Rd, Section 7, across the street from the Sizzler, before you reach Pizza Hut. There’s a place on the corner of that alley, on Chung Shan, which looks sort of like a tea shop at first glance, until you see the feet massage benches inside. They have rooms downstairs for body massages. $1500+. #15 was the set of hands which worked on me.”

Corbett claims to have found the perfect set of hands in a visit to a massage parlour in Tien-mu.

Is it ok to say parlour I wonder? It conjures up images in my mind of busty women in pink teddies smoking cigarettes and asking you if you want the ‘special treatment’. Not that I know from experience mind you.

As Corbett explains finding a good massage in Taiwan is a hit or miss proposition. I have theories as to why this might be but I think I should keep it to myself. I can’t say I have ever enjoyed the experience whenever I have tried and gave up looking for a good spot over a year ago. Well with his recommendation and my love of massage it just might be worth a drive to Tien-mu. I’ll skip the foot massage though. I just can’t handle that.