Thursday, September 23, 2010

Whistle Me A Happy

Simplicity in the Age of Everything

Have you ever decided to put your lips together and blow?

I mean, in a happy way, a carefree way.

Maybe you haven't, but you could. If you wanted to.

But maybe you have done it. You have put your lips together and tweetled a lively, comforting, life-affirming tune because.

Because you felt good about something.

And because you wanted to let some of it out so it could fly around the universe and make others happy too.

So you whistled, which almost everyone can do.

What you did not do was to whip out your full-size replica Salt Lake Tabernacle organ sporting 11,623 pipes, or fire up that Moog Synthesizer you were dragging along in your tabernacle-sized red wagon.

If you wanted to whistle, you whistled. Intimately, simply, cleanly, instantly.

And that whistle did what you wanted done.

And only that.

Which is the point, or points: simplicity, relevance, sufficiency, intimacy.

It ain't different with web sites. Not one bit.

I recently heard a great ad. Well, the ad wasn't great in itself, but what it offered was. Verizon has a plan whereby you can sign up, at $40 a month for wireless internet data service. A bunch of wireless internet data service.

Since I loathe the option I have now I thought I'd check the Verizon site.

Bad, bad, bad.

It's very pretty.

It's very bad.

Starting with the trendy aspects, it has that light gray text on a slightly lighter gray background. Luckily browsers these days can blow off style sheets and return a person to 1995, though my first choice is to simply enlarge the view. I had to do both of these before I could actually read anything. Tiny, faint text is not good design.

Part deux, the view.

The top third of the page was visible but the bottom third covered up most of the middle third. I can't fathom how they did this. More clever, trendy design. I have absolutely never seen this before. So very, very clever of them.

Let's not mention how to find detailed information.

On second thought, let's.

Forget it.

There are tantalizing crumbs hidden here and there among the fine looking design fillips, but you know? I didn't want to hunt for crumbs. I wanted to take big bites and actually come away informed. Not easy, my friend.

Like how to find if my address is covered by Verizon, and if so, by what services.

Should be easy, right?

They have a map, from Google. I know this! Google maps! OK!

But this one has a cute twist. Because they're smart, these designers! And trendy! And ahead of the curve! And think outside the box! And yet somehow have not escaped stupid cliches!

And that is. That the map. Shows various kinds of coverage in different colors, all of which look the same to me.

And there is. No alternative.

Good old black-and-white crosshatching would have been fine. Even better guess what?

How about a little box next to my address (which I had to enter). A little box that listed the services available at that address? My address. In text? Would old-fashioned ASCII text be too old fashioned?

No. It would work. I know how to make text work, since first grade. I can read. There are no confusing colors involved at all.

But there I was at a lovely web site, ever so complex and cleverly designed, that I could not get information from.

Precisely because. It was. Ever so complex and cleverly designed.

Think twice, Boys, and think again, then trice. And think some more.

What is it you really want to do, and what is it you really need to do, and do those two coincide at all? Huh?

Think, huh?

Is a great, with-it, up-to-the-minute design worth having if it drives potential customers away?

"We don't care about you now, so don't expect us to care about you later because we are too insanely awesome to care about impressing anyone but ourselves." Is this the message you want to send?

Is your business so cool that you do not need customers?

I have not become a Verizon customer.

Want to guess why?

The Revenge of the Intuitive Turn off the options, and turn up the intimacy. By Brian Eno

From buznutt


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