Investigation: The Netflix Conundrum: Streaming or DVDs

Investigation: The Netflix Conundrum: Streaming or DVDs

We’re not paying $16 a month for Netflix. And let’s face it, I’m not becoming a Blockbuster customer (too much brand baggage). We’ll pick Netflix streaming or DVDs, until a great competitor comes to our attention. In the meantime, what should we do? Here’s my analysis: We have a DVD at home, unwatched, from last August, so clearly, making time to watch this particular DVD is an issue. Yes we want to see the move, but it’s usually “not this movie tonight.” We’ll sometimes stream a movie we’d rather like to watch instead, or ...

Inspiration: TripTracker Leverages Anonymous Social Pressure to Get Reviews

Inspiration: TripTracker Leverages Anonymous Social Pressure to Get Reviews

This is a very smart request. Instead of just asking me if I want to rate the app, TripTracker prods me to join the thousands of people who have rated the app with five stars. It’s a great psychological move: “don’t you want to be among the many who realize how awesome this is?” My guess is that this significantly improves response rate (number of people prompted that rate the app), which also helps insulate the app against lower reviews.

Intervention: An Almost Unusable News App From the NY Daily News

Intervention: An Almost Unusable News App From the NY Daily News

Here’s an iPhone news app (New York Daily News) that misses the mobile mark. Maybe 25% of this screen is for actual news stories? That leaves 55% for navigation and 20% for advertising. Insufficient mobile design.

Inspiration: A Grocery Store on Wallpaper Stimulates Mobile Commerce, Saves Time

Inspiration: A Grocery Store on Wallpaper Stimulates Mobile Commerce, Saves Time

Truly brilliant. So much fun. Homeplus, Tesco’s chain of grocery stores in South Korea, wallpapers a subway station with actual images from its store shelves. While consumers wait for their train to arrive, they can shop by capture the QR code for each item and adding it to a mobile shopping cart. Orders are placed on the spot, and are delivered after they arrive home. Consumers are the big winners here: After a long day, they get to look at a beautiful, expansive, mood-lifting wall of color instead of a grey wall. They re-capture other...

Email Intervention: Announcing Something “Cool” at The Mercury News

Email Intervention: Announcing Something “Cool” at The Mercury News

It won’t take you long to see why this is one of the worst marketing emails sent this year: If this were an email from an impoverished newsroom, announcing a new channel for actual Mercury News journalist-reported news, I’d be a little more forgiving (newsroom staffs has suffered badly in recent years). But it’s not. This is a business initiative, launched by a business team. It’s a new feed of deals called First Dibs. And it features “cool” things. Okay? As a marketing effort, this is a Yugo set on fire, pl...

Intervention: Navigation Woes Plague Epicurious iPhone App

Intervention: Navigation Woes Plague Epicurious iPhone App

My excitement over the recently released version (2.2) of Epicurious for iPhone evaporated when I discovered three things: A fee to sync recipes on the iPhone with those saved in the inadequate recipe box on the website (I had presumed this would be free); An advertisement with a close button that sends people into the App Store, repeatedly; The failure to correct major navigational shortcomings in the app. Let’s take a closer look at why Epicurious mobile has been sent to UX Rehab. 1. A $1.99 for syncing your recipe box I know: itR...

Intervention: Home Depot Form Validation

Intervention: Home Depot Form Validation

This intervention is more than an annoyance about an HTML form. The implication of a poorly designed form field is suppressed response. That has a material impact on the business. In the example below, I entered my codes into the form and got an error message. I didn’t include a space between each group of numbers. I got so annoyed, I abandoned the survey. If they’re going to be this nit-picky and irritating on page one, imagine what awaits me inside. Whatever it is, I don’t want to know. Done. Home Depot spends a lot of money...

Intervention: American Airlines Member Referral Email

Intervention: American Airlines Member Referral Email

I’ll do almost anything for miles. So when I got American Airlines’ email offering 1,000 miles for each friend I refer to the American Advantage program, I thought: no brainer. I’ll post to my Facebook profile and who knows, I just might know someone who will follow the link. A long shot, to be sure, but why not see what happens? Ready to convert, I clicked through the email link and landed a Flash landing page (oops, I do a lot of reading junk mail on my iPhone, so not being able to see this page on my phone becomes a likely ...

Inspiration: Wawa Makes Ordering On-the-Go Easy and Fun (and Increases Upsell)

Inspiration: Wawa Makes Ordering On-the-Go Easy and Fun (and Increases Upsell)

In years of road trips to Delaware, I have never waited in line at the sandwich counter at Wawa. Credit their ordering kiosks, which do a few things: First, the entire premise of the deli counter is a sandwich my way. I’m a “customizer.” I like that. Second, I don’t feel rushed in assembling the perfect sandwich. (My wife might feel otherwise as I deliberate but it’s a moment of time that I control completely, creating just what I want. That’s downright relaxing.) I am not hurried or pressured by someone be...

Investigation: Group Buying Sites

Investigation: Group Buying Sites

After obsessing over the SteepAndCheap and Woot business models last year (and let’s not forget the insane and terrifying Swoopo), this year has given us something new to chew on: GroupOn and its group buying clones (this spreadsheet lists a ton of them). These are great businesses. Clear value proposition: deep discounts. Kept simple: one deal a day (basically). And they’re making money hand over fist. Love it. Naturally, my entrepreneurial friends and have been asking: Should we start a clone—doing something that improves on...


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