Monday, February 23, 2009 User experience delivering value

While shopping on Amazon the other day, I noticed a subtle yet still noticeable hint that I had bought the very same article already in October 2007.

At first glance, the notice would appear to drive customers away from buying; however has a long-standing reputation for innovation in online commerce and good customer service (although I have been less satisfied with their handling of e-mail correspondence lately) so this didn't come as a complete surprise.

Good user experience design is all about delivering value to the customer, and to the business too:
  • The customer may have bought the product earlier and order another copy as a present, which was actually the case for me.
  • Some products, such as blank CDs/DVDs, lend themselves to repetitive orders. Knowing that this is the same product ordered before is reassuring to the customer, which means more business with fewer clicks.
  • In the unlikely case that a customer accidentally orders the same product twice, chances are that she would return the product for a refund, incurring shipping and handling cost for the business; therefore not shipping the product in the first place is not only the most customer friendly, but also the most cost effective solution.
On a related note, has also been innovative in offering pay-as-you-go Web infrastructure, and IBM recently announced plans to deliver software through their Amazon Web Services platform.


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Apple juice and milk

After cleaning my office chair from milk, the results of Daniel's inverse peristalsis, I wasn't planning to clean the keyboard next. That was before I poured a glass of naturally cloudy apple juice over it. From a quick glance the keyboard looks alright; the keys popped out quite easily, albeit with a crackling sound, and the electronics stayed dray, or so I hope.

I will remind myself that food and typing don't go well together and enjoy the comfort of a clean keyboard for a while before falling back to my bad habits :-)

PS. Speaking of milk, on Saturday night we went to the cinema to see Gus Van Sant's beautiful and highly acclaimed movie Milk on the life of gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk, portrayed by Sean Penn, who just received an academy award for his performance this weekend.

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