user experience

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This is another short post about a feature I don’t like about a website. I really hope to find good things to talk about soon!

I have recently been rearranging some things in my home and it became necessary to shop for a small desk to be utilized as a vanity. Naturally, I head over to IKEA’s website to look at options, because I know that they will have at least a few for me to look at and compare.

When I get into the searching, I realize that I should pin a few of the ones I like, because I don’t know exactly how wide I want this item to be.

This one looks like an option. I click the “Pin it” button so that I can put it on my Home board on Pinterest.

This is weird. Why isn’t it showing me the product photo? It also isn’t offering me a chance to pin any of the secondary images for this product. I add it anyway, hoping that it will suddenly work when actually pinned.

Not so much. I pinned 3 desks to my Home board just to make sure that this was happening, and it did, every time.

IKEA is WAY TOO BIG to have an error of this magnitude on their website. I am frankly stunned that I am finding this issue.

Even more stunned when I see IKEA’s significant presence on Pinterest:

That’s a lot of followers, and they have a lot of content. I am stunned at this discovery.

Here’s hoping that someone at IKEA will see me tweet about this and reply.

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Mpix.com Shipping Email | Missing the Mark #12

by Jamie Sanford on December 14, 2016

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I am a big fan of Mpix.com and their products. I have made many purchases in the past, their prints are of an incredible quality, and I particularly love the standouts as well.

I ordered another item this week, and noticed a small but major error in the shipping email I received.

Do you see it?

The tracking number isn’t a link! In addition, it doesn’t tell me what service was used to ship my order, so if I didn’t know that tracking numbers with 1Z at the beginning are from UPS, I wouldn’t know where to go to track it.

I am incredibly surprised by this because it is a huge miss. Online shopping is already incredibly convenient, so to turn that completely on its head in a shipping email is against the entire spirit of not doing that much work!

Another issue I had with the shipping email was formatting-related.

This address formatting is really unfortunate. Why the address identifier is below the address is unclear and strange.

I’ve said multiple times that websites are never “done.” There are always improvements to be made, and transactional emails are certainly part of that as well. I hope that Mpix quickly updates their email templates to correct these issues.

Update: I tweeted this post and received a lovely response from the Mpix team. See below!

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To view all of my content about brand experience, please click here.

I am a massive fan of the Olympic games. I get so excited to watch all sorts of sports – everything from shot put to archery and my favorite, gymnastics. Unfortunately, the television coverage in the United States for the Rio games has been plagued with issues. There’s the well-covered sexism, which is frustrating, but I am not covering that here (at least not in detail). My major issue is currently with NBCOlympics.com.

NBC has exclusive broadcast rights in the United States for the Olympic games, so unless you can find a sketchy way to watch another country’s coverage online, you are stuck with NBC. What seems to be an improvement over previous coverage is that there are replays available on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app, and also live events available to be streamed. This is great, right?

You also have to turn to either the website or app to view full events. NBC’s primetime coverage on television is weirdly skewed towards swimming and track, and while I don’t want to slight those athletes, there are other things going on, other things that are awarding medals, and semifinals in swimming shouldn’t be shown when other athletes are in finals for medals.

Anyway, last Thursday was the Women’s Gymnastics All-Around Final. I have been watching a LOT of women’s gymnastics on YouTube in the last few months, and I am a huge fan of the sport. I wanted to see the full coverage of the final, not just what NBC would show me in primetime, which turned out to be terrible coverage of mostly just American athletes, and again, showed swimming semifinals and made gymnastics fans wait until after 11pm on a weeknight to see the results.

So in an effort to watch the entire final when I got home from the office on Thursday, I opened the website to see if I could start watching the final, since I knew it was already over. This is what I saw.

Seriously, NBC? You couldn’t have avoided a spoiler here? This pissed me off so much, but I guess I should be surprised, given what was said by the NBC Olympics chief marketing officer:

The people who watch the Olympics are not particularly sports fans. More women watch the Games than men, and for the women, they’re less interested in the result and more interested in the journey. It’s sort of like the ultimate reality show and mini-series wrapped into one. And to tell the truth, it has been the complaint of a few sports writers. It has not been the complaint of the vast viewing public.

This is nonsense. Who are they polling or whatever to get this information? Why can’t I possibly watch a sporting event without it being turned into a reality show? The simplification of what “all women watching television in the United States” wants is asinine.

It is now 4 days later, and NBC is still committed to making sure that I know who won before I watch something.

If I was only interested in the performance of Simone Biles, I wouldn’t even need to watch this now, because they have told me who wins. When did someone decide that spoiler alerts were no longer relevant or necessary? I am still perfectly capable of avoiding social media in order to not be spoiled on things like this. The instances where I make this effort are few and far between, but it is possible.

Suggestions for alternative headlines:

  • Big day for Biles: Did she win? Watch now!
  • Watch now: Simone Biles’ historic run for gold!
  • Women’s All-Around Final: Watch Now

Each of these pages or stories could have giant spoiler alerts on them before revealing the medalists. It isn’t difficult in the least, but I guess I’m not interested in who wins, right?

The bottom line is that while this is ridiculous, I will likely continue going to NBCOlympics.com to watch Olympic events, because I simply have no other choice. I sincerely hope that they revisit their approach to coverage on television and online for the next event.

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Parabo Press | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on June 6, 2016

Click here for all posts in the Brand Experience Project.

I have lots of photos on Instagram. In the last 5 years, I have shared over 2,800 images! You can imagine that I am thrilled at the advent of printing companies that are catering specifically to Instagram users. I wrote a post previously about Artifact Uprising, who had offered a free set of prints. I received an ad in my Instagram feed with a similar offer from Parabo Press, and decided to take advantage, ordering a new set of Instagram prints.

I won’t talk about the process of ordering – their app design is simple and easy to use, and I didn’t have any issues with the process.

Let’s get to the product.

This custom cardboard sleeve was inside an outer plastic shipping bag.

I am a total sucker for good messaging, and it starts before these prints are all the way out of their box!

The thank you message in full. Excitement about the product, a hashtag for sharing, and info on reaching customer service. Clear and concise.

The back of the card. I really love the inclusionary nature of this statement – yes, this is quality that is great for the professionals, but also for anyone with plain good taste. Thumbs up!

The prints come in a plastic pouch for protection, on a card of a larger size to keep them from bending.

Here’s a mildly blurry photo of my prints. You can see here how Parabo Press handles the different sizes of images that you can now post on Instagram – landscape, portrait, and the classic square.

Here’s a look at the prints, side by side. Artifact Uprising is a larger print, and the paper is not as heavy as Parabo Press, but has a bit more of a linen texture. Parabo Press is a heavy stock that is very smooth.

I ordered the Artifact Uprising prints in September, and the Parabo Press prints in February. Parabo had multiple size options before, but at this time, both companies only offer one size of square prints. Parabo Press now offers 5.5″ prints, and Artifact Uprising offers 5×5″ prints.

A look from the side, there really isn’t a way to see the texture in the paper, but the bottom line is that both prints are really lovely.

Parabo Press also offers some other products that I am really interested in trying out. They have glass prints, newsprints, engineer prints, and a few other options.

Let me know in the comments if you have a preferred print company!

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