Monday, April 30, 2007

Promotions gone wrong: McDonalds

Promotions are usually a good thing, if executed properly you should have gained some brand exposure and hopefully bagged yourself some new customers and strengthened your image in you pre existing customers. Last year however McDonald's found that every so often things can go…. Just a little wrong.
In Japan last August McDonald's ran a promotional contest in which it gave away 10,000 McDonald's branded mp3 players, which came fully loaded with 10 free song to boot.
However a large portion of them also came fully loaded with the QQPass Trojan virus, which if uploaded to a PC captures passwords, user names and a lot of other important stuff and relays it straight to hackers. Upon plugging the mp3 player into their computer, customers would have their details swiftly emailed off to the hackers in question, cool eh?
Needless to say the McDonald's brand lost a few customers there.


Sunday, April 29, 2007

Guinness in Africa: A branding success

In recent year sales of the iconic Irish drink have been falling on a domestic level so Diageo decided that it would have to look further a field to developing markets for new sales.
Diageo got in touch with the famous advertisers Saatchi and Saatchi and started about entering the African market and creating what the advertising company call a "lovemark", described as a brand that enjoys loyalty beyond reason from consumers.

As African Managing Director of Diageo Eric Frank said in 1999 they wanted to create a brand that says "Inside me there's a powerful heroic assured person"

In 2002 the company started running television and radio ads following the trials and tribulations of Michael power (seen in the billboard above) an exciting African James Bond-like character who evaded danger and saved the beautiful woman, followed by the phrase "Guinness brings out the power in you". And the advertising has instilled this feeling of power in its new found enthusiasts as one Nigerian man commented "It makes me feel powerful", adding "If I have three stouts, my wife knows she had better watch out. I have energy in my body."

The actor playing the iconic character, Cleveland Mitchell explains that advertisements aim to bring "stories that bring the true strength of Africa. We want to highlight the way we live, the way we talk, the way we play and the way we do everything that makes us unique as Africans", and they are so well made that African tv stations air them as free programming.

The advertising campaign was a resounding success throughout Africa and by 2000 Guinness led the African market by 50%. Currently Out of the top 10 Guinness markets worldwide, four of the top consumer’s are the African nations: Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon and Kenya, and Ghana represents the 5th largest consumer of Guinness in the world. An impressive 1/3rd of all Guinness consumption is attributable to Africa and when the continents consumption is compared with others around the globe, we can see that they drink down more than three times that of North America. That’s a lot of the black stuff!

The link below is a link to the Saatchi & Saatchi site, and an example of the African ad campaign
The ad

Friday, April 27, 2007


Made up this diagram to show how stupidly small 7" pizzas are. Viva le "Wagon Wheel" 20 incher

The customer is NOT always right

"The customer is always right."
Throughout history (albeit recent) the above phrase has been bandied about with great fervour by great sections of the service industry. The phrase however implies that customers know exactly what they want... the truth is, if you think of any major advance in consumer goods in the last few centuries, you'll find that the customer did not dictate what the products should be, look like, or how it should work, the customer was wrong. (do give me examples of cases where this is true btw) Listening to a podcast earlier I heard Seth Godin give a perfect example of the wrongness.

If Thomas Edison had listened to his "customers" he would have invented brighter

The point is that until they see the product or hear of the service customers have NO IDEA of what they want, I am willing to bet that no one came up to Mr Edison and requested that he create a light emitting glass bulb.

So sometimes adopting the stance that the customer is right, can lead an idea down the wrong path altogether.
Sometimes you just need to ignore the customer, ignore the masses and be different.

Leftie or Rightie?

Hey try this out, its a rather crude but fin test to see what way your brain is biased in terms of a left vs right ratio. Seems mine are about the same. Let me know how you get on.

You Are 45% Left Brained, 55% Right Brained

The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.
Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.
If you're left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.
Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.

The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.
Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.
If you're right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.
Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Technology in the classroom

This is a really great video of a powerpointesque presentation timed and matched to perfection by the music in it, some REALLY interesting facts here about education.

The importance of a 2nd opinion v2.0

Sometimes spelling is not important, and as long as the person gets the general gist of your message its fine, for instance scribbling down an important phone note, the grammar or spelling intricacies do not really affect the credibility of the message.

However when you are designing a cover for a product, a computer game for instance, and more specifically a SPELLING computer game, you should make it your business to get it completely, totally and irrefutably correct.

Eamonn Holmes is a much..."loved"...."celebrity" that frequents our televisions with annoying regularity, but recently he decided that he needed to enter the world of educational computer games to enlighten us mere mortals.

The creators of the game DDS media, in their infinite wisdom spelt Eamonns name wrong on the cover and CD of the first 10,000 units, meaning they had to be scrapped. The title had misspelled his name including only one "n", and was only pointed out when Eamonn was sent a copy just before launch. An irate Holmes called the producers immediately enquiring 'How can you expect people to buy this game when you've misspelt my name on the front!'

According to insiders "There are a lot of red faces with everyone blaming each other."
Brings up the importance of checking things twice (or more)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

CV Blunders

I'm not usually in the habit of copy and pasting stuff onto this blog, but this was too hilarious to pass up. If you are rewriting your CV keep these in minds as things you really shouldnt do. writes...
Job site recently asked pollsters Harris Interactive to survey hiring managers and find out the wackiest resume items they've seen lately. Out of 2,627 responses, here are the top ten:

A job candidate...

1. ... attached a letter from her mother.
2. ... used pale blue paper with
teddy bears printed around the border.
3. ... explained a three-month gap in
employment by saying that he was getting over the death of his cat.
4. ...
specified that his availability to work Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays is
limited because the weekends are "drinking time."
5. ... included a picture
of herself in a cheerleading uniform.
6. ... drew a picture of a car on the
outside of the envelope and said the car would be a gift to the hiring
7. ... listed hobbies that included sitting on a levee at night
watching alligators.
8. ... mentioned the fact that her sister had once won a
strawberry-eating contest.
9. ... stated that he works well in the
10. ... explained an arrest record by stating, "We stole a pig, but it
was a really small pig."

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

University Observer

Got featured in the University Observer today, really cool to see your writing in print for once!

Problems with Internet addiction are beginning to appear in many western countries, but nowhere are they more apparent than in Asia.
Great changes are being brought into place on that continent to remedy the problems that that Internet users are experiencing with dependency and addiction to the Internet. A prime example of this extreme Internet usage is the case of 24 year old Kim Kyung Jae.
During the Chinese new year celebrations, Kyung Jae collapsed and died after having playing online games at the Internet café in the South Western City of Kwangiu for an incredible 86 hours without a break.
Another shocking example of the power of the Internet and online gaming over human logic is presented in the case of a Korean couple who left their 4 month old baby at home alone for more than a day to go to the local Internet café and play the online game “World of Warcraft”.
The couple commented “We were thinking of playing for just an hour or two and returning home like usual, but the game took longer that day.”
As a response to these new problems the Chinese government have established close to 30 treatment therapy centers which are run throughout the state. In an almost military like fashion, patients are woken at 6:30am and put through a strict exercise and social inclusion regime.
Some observers may call it extreme, but the Chinese government are confident that this somewhat shocking system will stem the growing problem and put an end to the problems surrounding this form of addiction.
Although things in Ireland have not quite reached these levels of severity, it is undeniable that we are becoming much more dependent on the Internet, and detrimental effects are starting to be noticed.
Matthias Glowatz a UCD lecturer specialising in the area of IT and the Internet, suggests that “we are a nation becoming more dependant and as a result addicted to the Internet”,
A quick walk past the Daedalus center or any study area on campus, packed with web surfers, proves the point that some people just want to be online as often as possible, wherever they can.
Increasingly students are getting access to the web wherever they go, the increased prevalence of laptop computers among students has brought the world wide web to the classroom, bringing with it a whole new set of distractions but also opportunities.
Dominick Sherlock an instructor of MIS in the Quinn school of business, suggests that
"The laptops are obviously a great resource for students and have revolutionised the way that students interact with each other and with the University. They are potentially a powerful tool for learning and entertainment.
However, with power comes responsibility and there is a temptation for students to get distracted by the wide range of channels through which they can communicate with others and find amusing content”.
However as the exams loom in the not so distant future, and brows begin to sweat, the problem of Internet overuse on campus becomes all to apparent, queues of students waiting for a computer to finish off that end of term assignment or essay, being held up by people that feel it necessary to check their bebo/Myspace etc with furious regularity. One of the suggestions to stop this inappropriate usage of college resources is to block these sites which are causing the problems.
“In principle I don't think [a ban] would be in keeping with the ethos of having the world at your fingertips, which is what students basically have here - be that through traditional print media or through new media” says Sherlock
The problem of Internet overuse doesn’t attract much media attention, and most students are unaware that such problems exist. Even the concept of being “addicted” to the Internet is quite hard to grasp, one first year arts student at UCD offers his perspective on the issue “Its hard to assess what would be classed as addiction, if you're asking if people use the internet or stay online to the point where its unhealthy then yes, there is a problem”.
“There is also a trend among students I know who live at home towards gambling for real money online. The time they spend gambling online is considerable and the Internet culture is fuelling this trend.” Said another student.
And although frequent browsing of the Internet is acceptable at university, and you may be able to get away with it in a lecture hall, the same situation won’t be afforded to you once you have left college and entered the workforce.
UCD graduate and Managing Director of Fortify services, a careers consultancy company, Rowan Manahan, says “I have met many employers who picked a person who was violating those rules and "made an example of them."
So if the Asian horror stories won’t put you off checking your bebo ten times a day, maybe the prospect of losing your job will

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Heart Attack Grill

Sometimes it gets kind of annoying watching companies like McDonald's try and keep up the illusion that they are healthy, trying to be more healthy and really really reallllly care that their customers are healthy. The logic behind it- “this will be good marketing

I stumbled upon wildly successful “Heart Attack Grill” a burger restaurant in Tempe, Arizona, that maintains a remarkably honest advertising campaign, the flagship product of the outlet is the Quadruple Bypass Burger, featuring 2 pounds of beef, four layers of cheese, 12 slices of bacon, and 8,000 calories it is also accompanied by Flatliner Fries which are cooked in lard, of course that may not be for everyone, there is also the lesser “triple bypass burger”.

Sometimes intentionally being “wrong” can work out

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Ireland vs Luxembourg - Ice Hockey World Championships

Yesterday I witnessed my 1st ever Ireland ice hockey game, and let me tell you.... so damn good.
We set of from manuels on the epic journey at about half 6 and it became apparent kinda early on that we prob werent going to make it on time for the start of the game, due to a certain PC World employees tardyness. So down the M1 we headed with Dundalk and its fabled icedome in our sights, however once we got to dundalk we got a little lost....however this resulted in the true hilarity of seeing the Mongolian Ice Hockey team at a bus stop waiting for a public transport bus back to their hotel! poor fellas.

Once we got to the Ice Dome I went to collect the tickets that one of my Canadian buddies (Chris "the boy" Boyko) dad had organised for us free of charge, but seems his contact here forgot to leave them at the desk. So for a while it looked like we woulod have to get back in the car and go home, after much pestering on my part the receptionist just let us in anyway, but warned that there were no more seats, and we "would have to just stand".

Seems this meant you would have to stand right at the glass and have the best view EVER. The game was amazing and in the 2nd period ireland were down 3-1 to Luxembourg, whose Goalie was amazing and was playing a screamer. Third period ireland get one back early on. 5 mins left in the game Ireland with the double powerplay, miss shot after shot, hit the goal....ed dying with heart problems. Then with two mins left a breakaway....GOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL.

So at 3-3 and after over time its down to a shootout... heres the vid

Saturday, April 21, 2007


Stockbrokers and traders will have you believe that they posses knowledge and skill that will give you the advantage over your average Joe and get you above par returns on your investment. The website TradingMarkets, which charges its subscribers for investment advice, decided that it would be a great publicity stunt to Invite 10 playboy bunnies to take part in an investment competition. By the time the competition was over 40% of the bunnies delivered better results than the index average, compared to just 29% of actively managed mutual funds in America. Maybe playboy needs to start offering financial advice

You can see the full list here, the winner of the competition, Deanna Brook had an incredible return on investment of 43%

Friday, April 20, 2007


A good quote, and a valid point indeed. Came up with this pic when me and Jenny Fung, acCanadian business student were talking about a conference shes organising for first year students about traveling and getting involved in extra curricular stuff, should be good.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Betty Crocker - "just add an egg"

Betty Crocker is a brand of instant cake/brownie/etc mixes that provide a pretty tasty treat with minimal effort, and it can be found in most supermarkets of note in the western world.

Life for "Betty" started life in 1921 as an invented persona for replies to customer queries to the US food company general mills. The name Betty Crocker gave the more personal, soft touch that a CEO or directors couldn’t. The name was later adapted to a series of cookbooks released by the American food giant in the 40s.
By 1945 Betty Crocker was voted the 2nd most famous woman in the United States by the business magazine Fortune, second only to Eleanor Roosevelt. On the back of this fame the General Mills company decided that they would do some market research into creating a range of “Betty Crocker mixes”, after much research they decided that customers were sufficiently enthusiastic for this convenient product, and they marketed it on the basis that all the customer needed to do was add a little water, mix, and then you had yourself a cake.
When they were released in the early 1950s…nobody bought them, despite the fact the customers had said that they were all for it, they just weren’t going out and buying the product!

In desperation General Mills decided that they would try the emerging concept of product focus groups, which looked not at what the product should look like, or feel like, but focused on what the product meant to the customer. Through this they discovered that the housewife of the 1950’s felt decidedly guilty about using these products as it was too easy, and almost tantamount to cheating. So the marketing team behind the product line set about changing these attitudes towards the product. They re-launched the product a few months later, however now with very slightly altered ingredients.
The stroke of genius they had come up with was to remove the powdered egg and instruct the housewives to whisk in an egg. The process of going to the shop, choosing out the egg, bringing it home and whisking it in to the mix, involved the customer sufficiently so that they no longer felt the guilt they had associated with the product before.
The case of Betty Crocker points out two pretty simple marketing concepts
  1. What the product MEANS is as important as what the product looks, feels, smells like
  2. Involving the customer to a greater extent gives them a greater feeling of ownership/loyalty (just look at web2.0 site vs that of web 1.0 the loyalty and usage rates are way higher, all due to involvement)

Monday, April 16, 2007


I used to dislike coffee, but in recent months I've become somewhat of a fan. On my recent journey to the US i noticed that coffee in North America = Starbucks, and to be honest i have to say that I am a big fan. There are a couple of reasons why I think Starbucks is a great chain of outlets and why they are so successful.

  1. All Starbucks are the same: Whether i walk into a Starbucks in Times Square or the main street in London Ontario, the shops are basically identical, the lighting is the same, the smell is the same, and even the flooring is the same. The key here is that the customer knows EXACTLY what they are gonna get, which is a reassuring thing.

  2. There are ALOT of options: There are so many variations of coffee on a Starbucks menu that once you get bored of one you can migrate to liking another type. Of course if you are like the comedian Denis Leary and are somewhat of a coffee traditionalist this may infuriate you, as it is almost impossible to get a "coffee flavoured coffee"

  3. You get ALOT of coffee: nothing worse than getting a small cup of coffee, when i buy coffee i want to completely fill myself up with the caffeiney goodness, order a VENTI size coffee in the US and you'll know what a large coffee really is.

  4. They are easy to find:Anywhere you could ever want a coffee, Starbucks will be there, this was hit home to me in Manhattan where you could within a five minute walk see about seven Starbucks outlets. Somehow Starbucks seemed to have managed to open an outlet in Beijings "forbidden city" causing a fair amount of outrage among local

I think those are some of the main reasons for the huge success of the company to date, if you haven't got a VENTI MOCHA from them

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Asia and the "Death by Internet" problem

For most of us the internet plays a huge part in our day to day life, a fact which cannot be denied. A stroll past your university computer centre or any study room on campus will testify to the fact that we need the internet more than ever, and we have access to it on an unprecedented level. Yet, while it can be an invaluable asset to have for communication, learning and leisure, increasingly the bad side effects of internet usage are rearing their ugly head and being noticed on a worldwide scale.

This is apparent no where more than in Asia, a continent where great changes are being brought into place to remedy the problems that are arising with increasing regularity. From what I have seen, Internet Cafes in Ireland are usually a rather run of the mill affair, a few tables, run-down, old computers and invariably uncomfortable chairs usually set the scene quite nicely. It would be fair to say, that in Ireland in 2007 internet cafes do not play a huge role in our day to day life. However in Asia the very opposite is true and China in particular is a perfect example of this where the computer strapped youth depend on the existence of these cafes for access to the internet and indeed the outside world. Shockingly, when you look under the surface, we see an industry rife with mob activity, political unrest and death.
Where as most people in Europe and the US have computers in their home and internet usage to go with it, this is much less the norm in countries such as Korea and China and internet cafes act as a vital link to the World Wide Web. However a bill was passed last month in China banning the start-up of new internet cafes, as the state tries to control a problem that is spiralling out of control.

The first major problem being seen is that the people controlling the internet access are quite dangerous people. Because access to the internet is such a valuable commodity, and such a huge money maker, the mafia has assumed control of many of the internet cafes throughout countries like China and Korea. Recently the Chinese State News agency released reports of an explosion in a packed internet cafe by mafia hit men after protection money due was not payed to them.

The death count does not end there however; there have been numerous examples of people who have died from excessive online gaming. Several young men in the last year have dropped dead at the screen and keyboard as a result of exhaustion.
A prime example is that of 24-year-old Kim Kyung-Jae, who during the Chinese new year celebrations collapsed and died after having played computer games at an internet cafe in the south-western city of Kwangju for an incredible xxxxxxxxx hours without a break.

When you consider Korea is a country where 30% of the under 18 population are registered for online gaming and Asia is a continent where Professional gamers attract huge sums in sponsorship and can make more than $100,000 a year, it is little surprise that there is such great pressure to “train” as hard as possible and spend, at times, unhealthy amounts of time at the computer.
Another amazing example of the power of the internet and gaming on human logic was the baffling case of a Korean couple who left their 4 month old child for more than a day to play the online game “World of Warcraft” and upon returning found that their child was dead.
The couple commented shortly after
“We were thinking of playing for just an hour or two and returning home like usual, but the game took longer that day.”

Along with the new measures brought in to combat unregulated internet cafes, the Chinese government have also brought in eight treatment therapy centers which are run throughout the state almost like a military institutions, in an effort to stem the growing problem and put an end to the addiction. And despite appearances of fun and games, according to psychologist Professor Mark Griffiths, it really is a diagnosable and very real addiction "It does seem to be the case that online gaming addiction for a small minority is a real phenomenon and people suffer the same symptoms as traditional addictions.

These recent moves to regulate internet cafes can be seen under a very different light also, The Chinese government has been notoriously protective of the content its people have access to and indeed release onto the world wide web. The State run media agency has famously forced both Yahoo and Google, the internets two leading search engines, to provide censored versions for use in China. For instance if a search is performed on under the search term “falun Gong” the search only includes selected pieces of literature denouncing the banned religion. This has also led to a situation where any websites critising the current regime in the country, do not appear on a google or yahoo search at all, causing considerable outrage among proponents of a totally neutral internet, who believe that the World Wide Web should be a place of totally free expression and transmission of content.
The revolution of the blog, which turns any average net user into an online publisher within minutes has caused the Chinese government even more problems, In 2004 the government famously detained Hao Wu a controversial Chinese blogger for two months, until international pressure became to great and he was released. It could be viewed that this regulation of internet cafes and internet to the masses would bring them closer to their goal of control over the media in any form it may take.

It is yet to be seen whether these measures will have an impact on the growing problems, or freedoms of the populace at large, but something needs to be done to stop the bodycount rising and the problem growing. I suggest playing outside in the sun

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Options, options

  1. Keep water same temp and buy a sign to warn peopl of the fact that the water is too hot
  2. Change the temperature

London Heathrow prefer the 1st option

Saturday, April 7, 2007

A stroll down Times Square

5mics: Commercial genius?
On my first day in New York, Me and Enda had a bit of time to kill before heading back to the apartment we were going to be staying in, so we went for a stroll in search of some cool NY like stuff. We eventually arrived at Times Square, When we got there we were subjected to a pretty unique sales technique by a local rap artist, i think it is probably best explained by the dialogue that took place at the time.

5mics: hey maaaan you like rap music?
Ed: eh..kinda yeh
5mics: Yo man, listen to my beats then man, listen to my BEATS
*ed listens to the headphones*
*music is moderatly acceptable*
Ed: eh yeh thats great...
5mics: Yo man *points to enda* listen to this
*enda reluctantly listens to it*
5mics: hey whats his name man
Ed: Enda
*5mics takes out one of his cds and a permanent marker*
*writes "to A-N-D-A" on it*
Enda: thats not how you spell my name man
5mics: how do you spell it
Enda: with an E
5mics: ok ok man, to....E Dizzle
5mics: oh and where you guys from

Ed&Enda: Dublin
5mics: ooooh man, you guys are from dublin!
5mics: ok to E Dizzle... The Dublin ganster, hows that man
*Ed and Enda look at eachother with a "what the hell is going on look"*
5mics: You can take this back to all the homies in Dublin
Enda: Do you even know where dublin is man?
5mics: ....nah man...nah
Ed: its in Ireland
*Ed&Enda laugh heartely*
5mics: OH well you can take this back to Ireland.....For TWENTY DOLLARS
Ed: dont have 20 dollars man

*Ed&Endas jaws drop as they realise they are in trouble now*
*ed also remembers he has 500 dollars in his pocket and doesnt want to be mugged by this guy*
*5mics "buddies" start to surround Ed&Enda*
5mics: MAN, you said you wanted it!!!
Enda: No we said it was ok!
5mics: ... yeh.. WANTED IT
Ed: Man all I have is 5 dollars
Enda: yeh man me too
5mics: MANNNN, alright gimme the ten dollars and GET OUTA MY FACE!!!
*5mics heavies back off and let us leave*
Ed: Well Enda, We arent in Canada anymore

In my time in New York, i was bullied into buying two cds, and some other guy followed me for about 5 blocks trying to sell me his music... I think i have some sort of magnetism for either cds, or crap rappers
You can check out 5mics here he's eh....great

Thursday, April 5, 2007

The "Cargo Cult"

During World War II, as part of their operations in Japan the US air force started constructing air bases throughout New Guinea to act as base camps. The startled locals watched on wide eyed as the troops laid out the runway, constructed a control tower and went about building all the things an airstrip needs to operate. Then, from the skies planes started landing on the airstrip! They brought with them plentiful supplies of clothing, food and all the necessaries for life. The indigenous population were spell bound by the events that had unfolded in front of their very eyes and came to a few interesting conclusions.

  1. They decided that they too would like food to mystically be delivered from the skies

2. They figured that it would be quite a simple operation to achieve this.

So with much fervour and energy they set about clearing their own patch of land, and marking out their own primitive runway, they proceeded to construct a makeshift control tower out of logs, and they even fashioned some coconut headphones for the control tower operators. All was in place, and they sat and they waited, and waited, and then waited some more, but nothing happened.

Then they decided that it was obvious why this didn’t work, they still hadn’t got the whole formula correct! They started performing the military marches they had seen at the US airbase and even wrote USA on their chests with dye from local fruit to appear like the soldiers they had seen. That didn’t work either, so they then decided to make an airplane of their own out of sticks and leave it beside the runway so as to attract other airplanes that would surely come and join it as an act of sympathy.

The airplanes never did land on their airstrips, and the reason was not a lack of effort or persistence, or a lack or creativity, the reason why it didn’t work was that they completely missed the boat altogether. They went ahead with all these operations without really understanding what was happening.

The story of the so called “cargo cults” serves to remind us that, you can put all the time, effort and planning into something, but, if you haven’t truly grasped the basics and fundamentals you will end up with nothing, except a lot of wasted time.
The video below is taken of a group of locals waiting around for a plane...

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

London, Ontario the comic book

click picture to make bigger
These are some photos i forgot to take off my camera, but found last night and had a bit of a laugh when I saw them.
In clockwise order...
  1. Human pyramid in UWO social sci building
  2. Us and the reluctant janitor
  3. Getting "wrestled" by some locals
  4. Me, Enda, and the biggest legend ever.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The reach of Blogs

I was checking through the stats on my google analytics report, (google analytics is really good stuff by the way) and as I looked down through the looong list of reports available I decided to give the old "Geo location" chart a check. It really does give you an idea of the global reach that a blog gives you, I can see from the chart for instance that an impressive 0.51% come from spain, a country which has....bad relations with me....obviously they are spying on me.
Lessons to be learned?
  1. Blogs spread ur ideas across the world (although chances are they dont care)
  2. Google analytics is great for anyone who wants detailed info on their site/blog
  3. Don't go to spain

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Its simple, Right?

I must admit am a bit of a stickler for simplicity and efficiency, I think its because I am generally quite a lazy creature, and when someone is getting paid handsomely to design something, be it a product or a service they owe it to the end user to make it as easy to use and as straight forward as possible.

If you read through some of my other articles you may well have gathered that I am somewhat of a fan of Apple computers and their operating system, mostly because they have perfected the art of making features much easier to use and more visually pleasing.

Palm were a company that were extremely popular in the 90s and produced handheld computers that could compute to, at the time, reasonably high levels, for each model in the design phase, the company had a designated "click counter”. The post came about when the CEO at the tine Geoff Hawkins had declared that any application or feature that was more than 3 clicks away from the main screen, was just not good enough and would have to be re designed.
I was watching a presentation on the TED (technology, education & design conference – great stuff here) website, given by David Pogue a Technology writer for the New York Times today, and he gave a perfect example of a company that definitely do not count the clicks and keep simplicity in mind. Microsoft

Rather than adopt the "dock" system seen on Macs, windows are determined that to access a program stored on your computer, you shall be forced to go through multiple menus and options. We start at “START” then to “All programs” - then search through the list of applications. In osX, you move the mouse to the bottom of the screen and click, that’s all.

When i want to turn my computer off, i need to go to an button on the screen called... wait for it...START, then I need to go to shut down, once I am there I am presented with a box of options which I then must scroll though, there are only 4 options in the box, wouldn’t it be so much better if they just made a window which had 4 buttons, rather than a pop down list?

I know that this stuff isn’t hugely important in the grand scheme of things, and it wont make many people lose sleep etc, but I think when you are making a product, that will be used by millions, and especially when you are in competition with similar products, it is you duty as a designer to make things the best they can be.