More Most Annoying Ecommerce Mistakes – Part 1

We’re Really Still Here?

After so many years in digital commerce, we still see what I think I’ll call “average practices” in surprising places.

I’ll admit I’m not a typical user or digital product manager. Probably from having been in this business for some time, I’m just amazed at some of the things I still see  brands doing online. (Or not doing.) William Gibson, the guy who first used the term “cyberspace” in print once said, “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.” This certainly seems true of Best Practices in ecommerce. [Read more…]

Pokemon Product Manager(s) – Killers?

Last week I posted about some issue regarding safety and such for autonomous vehicles. My goal was to make some points about the nature of some new technologies and to a degree how they relate to product management and such.

What I really didn’t anticipate is that within a week a new product craze would create a major public safety hazard. [Read more…]

Tesla’s Autopilot Car Crash, Distracted Drivers, and a Demanding Public

The first known fatal car crash with use of autopilot driving engaged was on May 7th in Florida. This is the first of what will likely be many crashes and injuries involving partially or fully autonomous vehicles. It’s very likely true that over time, autonomous vehicles will make our roadways safer than ever before. This will be from direct benefits such as less accidents, to less obvious cascade effects from less pollution, less traffic jams holding up emergency vehicles, and much, much more that’s already been written about extensively. Motorists will be so happy, they’d be shooting sunbeams out of the exhaust if cars still had exhaust. (We’ll leave aside the reality that for now, most electric vehicles are likely juiced up from electrons being produced at coal fired power plants. So the pollution reduction benefit may have to wait. See Coal Powered Electric Cars and Electric cars and the coal that runs them)

So why is some more destruction on the way?

Well, there’s a whole lot of reasons. [Read more…]

Infinite Scroll – UI / UX Goodness and Some Consequences

You’ve all seen the pages. The endless pages. As you scroll down, the page keeps growing and growing and growing longer and longer; forever. Or at least until you run out of products or the user either finds what they want or becomes bored. We see this becoming more common on Home Pages for a handful of intro pages, but most especially on product listing pages whether they’re in grid or list view.

Why? And is this always a good thing?

The why seems fairly clear. Over time we’ve learned from usability, (both user observations and analytics), that users are OK with scrolling. Sure, the old thoughts still apply regarding having critical initial content “above the fold,” but for certain content types it seems perfectly appropriate to scroll along. (Just for the quick history lesson: “above the fold” originally came from the idea of folding newspapers to read what’s most important at the moment. For web pages or mobile, it’s more simply what a user would see first in the initial top of the viewport without scrolling.)

This method has obviously become a common design pattern. As of this writing, this little web site itself uses similar methods on the Home Page. And with Angular.js seemingly the code flavor of the year, scrolling has become even more common in the other case; which is most often for long lists of things, especially products.

[Read more…]

Curation = Editing = Gatekeeping

Curation is now In

I’m sorry. I’m just having a bad buzzword reaction. So it’ll take a whole post to get it off of me. Didn’t the idea of a curator used to have a feel kind of like a musty museum? When I hear the word, I just flashback right to a 5th grade trip to the Museum of Natural History. Not any more! It’s a cool word now. At least in the realm of nouveau information architects and buzzword compliant Internet marketing folks. The rise of the word Curation reminds me of back when marketing folks started pronouncing the word ‘niche’ as “neeesh” instead of “nitch.” It helped identify the truly clued in vs. the riff-raff of Madison Avenue. I’d love to see a graph of word frequency for Curation over the past 5 or 10 years. That would be interesting. [Read more…]