Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Whole Foods adds shopping lists

I've been following Whole Foods for awhile now. In my opinion they do a great job of reaching out to their consumers via numerous social channels and then tying them all together. Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and their own website work together to truly form a digital ecosystem. With more than a million followers on Twitter, they must be doing something right.

I've been waiting for them to tie their brand efforts into everyday customer tasks, so today I was delighted to see that they have added shopping list functionality to their site.

This new functionality allows users to either create a list from scratch or import items from a recipe on the site. The recipe functionality allows users to choose specific items or import every item form a specific recipe. A user can also type in any item they like.

Now pay attention, because here's where it gets good. The list is exportable, printable and sharable with another user who can then edit the list. My favorite export is direct to my phone. It is such a simple, basic, obvious feature, but one that makes my life just a little easier, and that's good UX.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Flash: now trackable!

Last night, Adobe acquired web tracking company Omniture for $1.8 billion. Interesting indeed.

Flash, one of Adobe's key products, is a tough sell for user experience and web development folks, since it's not trackable and it's often not searchable. But to creatives, especially traditional creatives, Flash is a darling because it offers a dynamic experience and is more like TV than the Web.

Adobe senior vice president for corporate development Paul Weiskopf was quoted on as saying, "companies like online marketers and advertising agencies, and Web publishers and e-commerce firms, will be able to streamline the process of creating and delivering content."

One could argue with that. Flash is still flawed in developing large scale sites and Flash devs usually completely ignore user experience issues. But for microsites and display ads the tracking abilities enabled via Omniture will certainly be a plus.

What's more, the acquisition positions Adobe even stronger against Microsoft and its Silverlight technology which has tried to take on Flash.

Remember those rumors a few years back about Microsoft buying Adobe? It will be interesting to see how this acquisition further fuels or quells that chatter. Interesting indeed.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Honda, and how not to use Facebook

Social media does not play by the same rules as old school advertising and marketing, namely, big corporation talks and everybody else listens. While time and again we have seen these old rules fail in the social media space, there always seems to be someone new who doesn't get it.

This time, it's Honda, with its Honda Accord Crosstour Facebook page.

Honda appeared to make two missteps.

First, they did not apparently know their user. While I can not confirm it, it seems as though they skipped user research. User research is a must when building any digital experience, but especially a social media one.

Second, they broke user trust. According to numerous reports, when Honda didn't like what people had to say, they selectively removed comments. In addition, it appears that at least one employee defended the new car, problem is, he did not reveal himself as an employee. This may have been an innocent mistake, but the damage was done none the less.

Ultimately, Honda broke the golden rule of transparency. And while it's not easy to always listen to what people have to say, it's vital (just look at the Chevy Tahoe Apprentice site via 2006; their sales actually went up, even though they left very negative comments on their site).

How can Honda fix this? Well at this point I would suggest they leave up everything that everyone has to say, and take good notes for next time.