Author Archives: Ethan Smith

A Down Economy Takes Control of User Experience – WaMu Becomes Chase

It’s no secret to physical retailers that good user experience means good _customer_ experience. My friends in the retail world would probably be horrified referring to their customers as something clinical like a user. Somehow the old notion of putting your product online equating to automatic sales just doesn’t fly anymore. You might sell, but you won’t be a category lead without some real thought behind how people access your product.

I recently received an email from Washington Mutual about the upcoming rollout of their services on Chase.com…

Critical Findability in the Physical Space

During a recent trip to Barcelona I decided to catch up on some reading on the plane. I have several UX books piling up lately and admittedly I was behind. For my outbound trip I selected Peter Morville’s “_Ambient Findability_”:http://www.amazon.com/Ambient-Findability-What-Changes-Become/dp/0596007655, a book I have honestly had for a while, but time was never there. It was a quick, very digestable read – awesome considering how easily this could have become a convoluted mess. The book not only helps you understand how people find what they need, but what the roots of wayfinding are both in the digital and non-digital realms. It turns out my reading choice would be very appropriate for the trip.

Updated Simple Google Maps Locator

Every once in while, the cheap route does just fine. I’m not one to accept parity, but sometimes you have to embrace the path of least resistance.

I just finished up a very short task with a non-profit client who was interested in some type of city/state/zipcode locator. Orgs in the non-profit sector are always concerned with the bottom line, and although that can be frustrating at times, in this case it seemed to have worked out.

The “Social” Part Really Means People, Stupid

It’s really the only rule of social networking, or writing any digital communication for that matter. Don’t put it there if you don’t want everyone – _meaning everyone_ – to see it.

The web is all aflutter today about a PR exec allegedly badmouthing a client’s city via twitter posts. Careless? Most likely. A carefully conceived high-risk stunt? Perhaps, but not probable.

Learning to Love the Publication Redesign

Mike Davidson has a great post up today about the recently relaunched ESPN.com that has been getting a fair amount of attention as of late.

Given his past relationship with the site it seems that he should be involved in the discussion if anyone. I’m a regular reader of ESPN.com and other sports sites but the whole sports segment in general has seemed a bit hyperactive in terms of experience, I have never paid much regard to the design of these sites. For me the interaction was mostly with the content.

Practical CSS for Beginners

The web is littered with how-to tutorials so this isn’t one of them. I’ve spent a fair amount of time doing front-end dev work and have gained a reputation as the CSS “fixer” – the dude they call when other options have been exhausted. If you want a tutorial go “visit w3schools”:http://www.w3schools.com/ or read the “Eric Meyer’s O’Reilly guide”:http://www.amazon.com/CSS-Definitive-Guide-Eric-Meyer/dp/0596527330/ – read them slowly.

The Real Wii Value

I was once a huge consumer of video games. Not as much as I used to be, but I do find some time every now and then. Admittedly I’m a little late throwing myself onto the Wii bandwagon – but I have to say it’s got to be the most innovative gaming platform to date.

Tips on Writing for the Web

Somehow I do end up working with a fair amount of writers that are new to online writing. These are tips for those writers out there who don’t have a lot of experience writing for the web. Admittedly, some of the writing on this site could use this advice as well – but I have never considered myself a writer – and self improvement is about the journey too.

Your Launch Date is So 2004

There are a lot of stereotypes about non-profit clients. Some seem well-deserved and some not so much. Time does seem to move slower in those environments, and decision making can be a painfully slow process. I had an experience with one .org a few weeks ago that really surprised me.