Thursday, August 20, 2009

Why spelling matters

warning: this post is a thinly veiled Rail against bad spelling & customer service

I'm a bad speller. Horrible would be the proper word. When spell-check or the nearest English major can't help me out, I just do my best & rely on hope. Luckily, I'm not in charge of storefront signs.

On my way to work every day I pass GreenCitizen. They believe in making the world a better place by recycling electronics. But they don't believe in grammar check.

"I've been here many time?" OK I get it, this is from a customer & maybe GCitizen doesn't think refelcts badly on them.

While I can't spell, it doesn't mean I don't appreciate it so I decided to take up the issue with the company.

I started subtley, by putting a stickie on their window with an arrow pointing to the misspelling, which read "(sic.)" to indicate the misspelling was caught. The next day, my stickie was gone.

About a month later. I stopped an employee on his way in & told him how this sign's error bothered me.

"Why do you care if there's a misspelling?"

"Because I pass it every day & it doesn't make you look as good as you are"

He assured me he'd take care of it, but it's still there now, a full month later. :(

Now this issue has crossed into the realm customer service. This is no longer about company image, this is about following through on a commitment.

The panda says no blog lists more examples like above. The panda reference is from the Book Eats, Shoots & Leaves which is a surprisingly delightful read for those of us who are weaker in writing mechanics.

PS: Blogger's spell-check is pretty wonderful

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mods to a parking meter

Parts of the city of Oakland, now use a kiosk system for parking yet some of the meters remain. This causes confusion, to be sure.

Check out the mods to this meter meant to indicate that the parker should not use the meter:
  • Removed meter stick
  • Gutted coin slot

It would be much nicer to see a sticker pointing the parker to the kiosk since this design mod seems to say: "Don't pay" when the desired message is really: "Don't pay here. Pay over there!".

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Old School UI

Saw this bit of Old School UI in a dressing room the other day and all I could think was " care!" What a great way to allow customers to keep & stay in contact with the dressing room attendant and in art deco style no less.

So with that introduction I present . . . a Button to press.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A random meeting with IXDA SF

Walking home from work last month, I wanted do something different, you know? My default activity is browsing stores. I don't mind heading into a store & looking at stuff for the mental stimuli.

On my way home from work I took an alternate route to do just that.

I did a double take as I was passing a place called House of Shields. A sign in the window read "Interaction Design Association social upstairs". I stopped in, put on a name tag & started chatting with folks. Name tags were color coded in three styles; One to indicate 'looking for work', one to indicate 'hiring', & a third to indicate 'just mingling'.

I didn't stay long but I left feeling refreshed. There's a lot of smart & funny people in this field & it was fun meeting some of them.

I encourage you to branch out & get involved in something. Political organizations, a book club, volunteer work, alumni groups, or if you're a UX designer in the Bay area, there's always IXDA-SF.