Category Archives: Design

design, art, user experience, feel

Facebook Just Pulled a Chrome with Facebook Home

Facebook Home Welcome Mat - A Take Over Strategy

Facebook Home Welcome Mat – A Take Over Strategy

So, back last year Mark Zuckerberg was pretty clear that Facebook would not build the all-amazing ‘Facebook Phone’ that blogs have waxed eloquent about. No, software was the puzzle they were focusing on … not hardware. But today, I saw where Facebook pulled a trick from Google’s playbook in taking over an ecosystem with their own ecosystem. The Zuck calls it Facebook Home – and it is a pretty cool idea for the company with an IPO anniversary coming up in May. See the video below for

Celebrating the New CoolestToys.com

flower bouquet

A perfect way to celebrate a big accomplishment at work was partake of this awesome fruit bouquet. Pineapple flower anyone? Sweetness … literally.

I am pretty pumped about finally launching the new website I have worked on since I started my new job last summer. Eight months later, I can say, we have reached a major milestone – through all the craziness that it is to redesign and manage a reboot of Coolest Toys on Earth’s visual identity, we have a new look and feel for cool toys! A chocolate covered strawberry was perfect to enjoy this moment.

Part of what I am really excited about is some of the really cool videos that are part of the new website, like this one showing a really cool toy called Continue reading

The McDonald’s Daily Double: Are You Fooled?

McDonalds Sign "Try Our New Daily Double Just $1.99"

The McDonald’s sign that first attracted my attention to their “new menu item”

Ever since McDonald’s updated the design of their restaurant buildings from the crazy-clown red and yellow motif that seemed to eerily scream ‘come to me kids!’ to a more substantial and calming brick, glass, and yellow design with their built-in McCafe’s, I have frequented them much more often. Their image is heading in the right direction – different eating areas for kids, young folk, adults, seniors, etc. Muted tones. Fancier and more lifelike display of food on digital signage. It finally seemed like McDonald’s was going to re-image itself as a higher-end quick service type of restaurant. That was, until I got fooled by their Daily Double.

I had seen the sign driving by a local McDonald’s over the past few weeks suggesting I try a Daily Double. Finally last week, I decided to try this new ‘deal’. At first, I thought it Continue reading

I Got to Drive a Tesla Roadster: Their EV Marketing is Spot On

Driving the Tesla Roadster is like being strapped to a rocket. Pure awesomeness. I am in one of the ‘Coolest Toys on Earth’.

Who, in their right mind, would turn down an offer for driving a Tesla Roadster? Who would not want to own this all-electric sports car if they could afford it? The answer: everyone I know – especially those EVangelists at Plugin 2012. I unfortunately can’t say the same thing about the Volt, LEAF, Focus Electric, and the handful of other models of electric vehicles out there. You know why – Tesla made a car that was worth something to the higher class folk, which then created desire in everyone else. All the other AutoOEM’s missed the mark, unfortunately, and are fighting an uphill battle – but in the next three years will finally ‘get it’.

I have heard and seen Volt and LEAF owners get crazy frustrated with people who ask the simple questions about their cars – how much was it, how much range do you get, can you take it on trips? Then with very little thought, these inquisitive people say something like, “Well I could buy a $23K Prius for that and do everything else that limits you. Why did you buy that?” Talk about an irate EV owner – yikes!

Have you ever compared a Porsche 911 to a Prius?

Have you ever asked why the owner of a Maserati bought one, and not a simple Dodge Neon (if they still sold them)?

The funny thing about electric vehicles is that Continue reading

Technology and Marketing Review of the Nest Learning Thermostat

The Nest Learning Thermostat fought the odds of being just another thermostat, and wow’d everyone. In my recent purchase, frustrating setup, and review of the product, I created below two other executive-summary-style reviews on the technology and the marketing behind Nest’s Thermostat product. Some are surprising, some are downright aggravating, and some are areas for growth for either Nest or the industry.

TECHNOLOGY REVIEW

  • Nest displays energy usage in units of ‘minutes’ HVAC is on, not kWh
  • Nest learns and shows users how long it will take to get to temp
  • Manual schedules override the learned schedule, rather than ‘assist’ it
  • Auto-away is performed once it learns how often you generally walk around it
  • The thermostat has a Zigbee chip that has not been marketed, used nor mentioned by Nest, relying on wifi to do communication
  • Nest’s mobile apps are narrowly focused on temperature control, and have not expanded to energy … yet
  • Thermostat simplifies energy savings by showing a green leaf indicator
  • The communication method of the thermostat talking to their server actually makes it incompatible with some home routers
  • The first week of ‘training’ creates very cold mornings in winter until it realizes when to preheat the house
  • The thermostat does not Continue reading

iVan – A magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price

Have you heard of my Craigslist success story? Let me tell you a little about it – who knows, maybe life has been kinda rough lately – and you needed something ridiculous to boost the old spirits.

Intently focused on pondering how to market and sell iVan. The 'classically aged special tint' windows are viewable in the background.

The below advertisement appeared on my local Craigslist to sell my, how should I say this nicely, ummm …. ‘lovingly used’ van. I just happened to be walking by the technology section of Walmart, and saw on the end cap, a big display for iPad. I was amazed to see such a product in Walmart – so I said to myself, “Self, if Apple has allowed it’s beautiful newborn into the likes of Walmart, then why not use their tag line and allow their ability to focus on the good and make not-so-great things sound okay bleed into a similar ad for your van?” I wanted little hassle on the transaction, make it colorful, and maybe even make it onto ‘the best of Craigslist’.

… and that, kids, is how iVan was born. (and sold in 2.5 days with no hassle) Continue reading

The Cranberry Can Upside Down Mystery

can ... with label upside down

The label is on upside down ... or maybe, they designed it that way

I thought it strange as I was rummaging around the cupboard of my parents house this weekend when I found one of my family members had purchased an off-brand discounted can of cranberry sauce with its label upside down. The can did not stack well with other cans … because it’s bottom was at the top. I thought, “The label was obviously put on wrong and that is why it is discounted.” Mystery solved.

…but not so fast.

So just tonight, I went to my friendly neighborhood grocery store and what do I find there sitting in the Thanksgiving Preparation Area – lots and lots of cranberry sauce cans that had their tops (where you normally open a can) on their bottoms. It’s an epidemic across multiple manufacturers – cranberry sauce labeling machines have begun playing a ridiculous trick on us consumers!

I took a picture of the can above because it raises an interesting question in design and user experience – WHEN do you design for? The Cranberry Sauce Manufacturer Association (CSMA) has decided that they will put the label on the other way compared to all other cans because now you can read the label as the cranberries slide out of their imprisonment.

But hang on a second … who cares about reading the label? Do I think this as I am pouring out my can of soup … “I wish I could read this label as I fill my bowl!”. WHEN am I designing for – the selling, the storing, the pouring, or the discard. These cans do not store well because they don’t stack nicely with other cans. After the user pours the can out, they will place the can open-side up, which causes the label now to be upside down. Seems like it was not designed with the WHEN of storing and discard in mind.

And if we take a step back, is not anything that a user buys in a can have an inner desire to be removed from said can? My Vegetarian Baked Beans wants to be removed, but you open their can from the top. My Albacore Chunk Light Tuna wants to be removed from it’s watery home, but it’s can opens from the top. Soup, fruit, vegetables, sauce … they all open from the top. Why did the CSMA buck the trend and put their opening on the bottom?

It has to do with the ‘jelly’ aspect.

Most cranberry sauces are jellied in some form – they make that strange gelatin-like cylinder shape. Also, the CSMA wants to make sure your Thanksgiving dinner is exactly like the commercials on TV where they ‘slice’ the log of jellied cranberries. Since all cans get shipped with their labels upright so they can be quickly stocked, the cranberry will naturally settle on the bottom (which in this twisted scenario is the ‘top’). So when you open the ‘top’ of the can (which is the cranberries bottom), the berries’ support structure is gone and they fall out as one large log rather gracefully. If the cranberries had settled the way most cans get packaged, the cranberry log that we know and love would have spoon scrapings all around it – this design actually saves us from dirtying a spoon.

This now makes sense and the Cranberry Can Upside Down Mystery is solved. The WHEN that the CSMA designed for was the ‘using’, which in my humble opinion is the most important WHEN to design for.

… Now I wonder how long did it take the CSMA to realize this when they started canning?