Category Archives: Case Study

Total Branding: The Bacon Truck

total-brandingWhether you’re a company or a person, your brand is a powerful tool to let people know who you are at a glance. Well-done branding can communicate key information such as what you offer and what you value. Applying that branding consistently ensures that every time people encounter anything related to you or your company, they instantly make the connection. I was impressed by the excellent job a Boston food truck, the Bacon Truck, did on its branding. Continue reading Total Branding: The Bacon Truck

Self-Congratulatory UX Better Back It Up: A Starbucks Whiff

self-congratulatory-uxConversational tone can help make a digital experience more user-friendly and fun. A lot of designers and content developers choose to give their programs a personality and use plain everyday language to reinforce a sense of approachability. Sometimes this manifests as comments like “This won’t take too long,” “It’s fun–we promise,” or “Wasn’t that easy?” But if you’re going to adopt that self-congratulatory angle–patting yourself on the back for a simple and fun user experience–you better deliver. Here’s a recent case where Starbucks did not.

Continue reading Self-Congratulatory UX Better Back It Up: A Starbucks Whiff

The Unintended Positive Consequences of Pokémon Go

The Unintended Positive Consequences ofUsually we associate playing video games with being sedentary, but that’s not the case here. Since Pokémon Go was released last week (and became an instant hit), a number of people have observed that players seem to be getting more exercise than usual while playing the game. The game uses geolocation to plant characters in real world locations, where players can detect and capture them with the phone. Being successful at the game requires physically navigating the world. Continue reading The Unintended Positive Consequences of Pokémon Go

Why Your App Isn’t Really Loading (It’s Psychology)

Why Your App Isn't Really LoadingHere’s a total click-bait headline: The UX Secret That Will Ruin Apps For You. Even though I rather like apps and don’t want them ruined for me, of course I clicked, only to find a UX “secret” that is a familiar friend.

Here it is: Chances are, your app isn’t really loading when it tells you it is. Those delays when your app is searching for flights, logging into your accounts, or creating your feedback are deliberately added by designers to fool users into thinking the process takes longer than it does. Continue reading Why Your App Isn’t Really Loading (It’s Psychology)

Brand Personality Done Right: Timely Humor

Brand Personality Done Right- Timely HumorGot personality? Being quirky and unique in communications can pay off big for a brand. Or, it can fall flat if it’s poorly conceived or executed (or if the recipient just doesn’t jibe with it–something Aarron Walter says in Designing for Emotion may be a sign that you’ve successfully created an emotional experience). I just got a fun example of a brand with personality in my inbox, just in advance of a long Independence Day weekend and close on the heels of Britain’s controversial vote to exit the EU: Continue reading Brand Personality Done Right: Timely Humor

Avoid Confusing UX: Today’s Unsubscriber, Tomorrow’s Buyer

Confusing UXNot every product is right for every person. Or, sometimes, a product is right for someone but it isn’t the right time. In those cases, good design helps keep the door open for people to rediscover the product when the timing improves. That usually means making any goodbyes as painless as possible. Recently I got a vacation rental email from HomeAway (for reasons unknown, as I don’t believe I’ve ever rented through them). In general I try not to subscribe to many marketing lists unless it’s a product I buy very frequently, so I clicked to take my name off this one. I was brought to the screen below:  Continue reading Avoid Confusing UX: Today’s Unsubscriber, Tomorrow’s Buyer

Plane Water and the Honesty Box: An Unexpected Airport Kindness

Plane Water and the Honesty BoxIn my years of frequent travel, I’ve learned that nothing comes cheap in an airport. A bottle of water that normally costs $1 in a supermarket or convenience store suddenly sells for $4. Which is why I was did a double take when I saw this water display in the Dublin airport: Continue reading Plane Water and the Honesty Box: An Unexpected Airport Kindness

Retail Reframing: Adjusting Future Timeframes to Boost Sales

Retail ReframingI visited Ireland for the first time a few weeks ago and was utterly charmed by it. Not only is the country geographically lovely and jam-packed with delightful restaurants, pubs, and shops, but I appreciated what I’d call the Irish attitude. In general, the people were outgoing, interested in conversation, and above all, approached topics with a sense of humor. (And yes, I know this is a blanket stereotype and I am sure there are surly Irish introverts out there, but the people I met weren’t those.) Continue reading Retail Reframing: Adjusting Future Timeframes to Boost Sales

Designing from the User Standpoint (Literally)

Designing from the User Standpoint (Literally)Last weekend, we decided to go for a hike at the nearby Blue Hills Reservation to celebrate the arrival of lovely spring weather. We arrived to find plenty of free parking, a visitor center with clean restrooms, and clearly displayed instructions for hiking trails with varying difficulty levels and lengths. It all seemed great, until we tried to follow the directions to the head of our chosen trail: Continue reading Designing from the User Standpoint (Literally)