The worst mistake you can make as a user experience designer

There is nothing worse than navigating your mouse to click a link, only to find out the link was actually a dropdown menu. But it's too late, because you already clicked the link, so you're already being taken to a new page.

Example:

The problem? There is no indication this is a dropdown menu. It just looks like a link to a regular page.

So how should it work? If it's a hoverable area, the area shouldn't be clickable because you don't want to take the user to a different page if they click it. I wish more UX designers understood this basic concept. I cannot begin to explain the spout of frustration I just dealt with internally as I just ran into this on Verizon's website.

I am a terrible person

Nine years ago, my next door neighbors next door moved in. Today they are moving out.

And today as I left my house and drove by theirs, I watched as they loaded boxes into their SUVs and realized that I can count on one hand the number of times I've actually talked to them. In fact, I can count the number of interactions on one finger.

Time flies, but I never realized they had been there for nine whole years.

My justification for never getting to know them is because of their unique family situation, and the fact that they aren't the type of people I would normally spend time with. But my "justification" of the situation doesn't make it right.

I often complain that America is becoming less and less like the America that my parents grew up in. People aren't as kind to each other anymore. People look out for each other less. That's why I'm a fan of Texas. It's the last bastion of hope for American tradition and values. But today made me realize that maybe I'm just as much of the problem as anybody.

So here's a challenge for you today: reach out to someone you don't know - maybe someone you've seen for years but have never taken a moment to talk to. Take the initiative to be friendly. We were made to live in community with one another. Don't make it to the point that I have where I've realized I've wasted almost a decade to reach out and be a friend to the people who live right next door.

Apple loves to make incomparable comparisons

If there's one thing Apple likes to do, it's to tell everyone how awesome they are. At the beginning of every iPhone announcement, you can bet on them to give stats and metrics for at least a half hour about how they're killing the competition. But today, they used a metric that bears absolutely no validity, and thus required me ranting about it.

While Tim Cook was sharing that over 300 million iPods have been sold to date, he went on to make this comparison:

"It took Sony 30 years to sell 220,000 Walkman casette players."

Yeah. Okay. Thanks Tim. Good for you.

In other news, I've made more money in the past 5 years than I did in the previous 100 years combined.

A rant about established musicians who use Kickstarter

Kickstarter is a great platform for funding creative projects. There are a lot of creative ideas that wouldn't get traditional funding but now have a chance thanks to Kickstarter. I've supported several projects.

But I'm seeing way too many well-established musicians and bands turn to Kickstarter to get their 2nd, 3rd or 4th album funded. I sour on this use of Kickstarter for several reasons.

Why are musicians asking fans to foot the bill before the product is made? If a record is good, people will pay for it. It's as simple as that. But asking fans to pay for something that isn't even made yet is like just like getting a business loan from a bank.

Musicians who use Kickstarter are going to make a new record anyway, regardless of the outcome of their funding project. So they're basically asking for handouts. They'll take what they can get but it's not going to affect their decision on whether or not to make a record. In the real world, if your company doesn't get funding from traditional investors, there's a chance it's because what you're offering isn't something people actually want.

It's lame when signed bands use Kickstarter. I find it pathetic when bands signed to record labels turn to Kickstarter for support. If they were good enough to get signed in the first place, shouldn't their label be doing their job of getting the music out there to fans who will buy the band's existing music (in the form of promotion, tours, etc.), which in turn will fund their new record?

There obvious counter-argument to my opinion is that Kickstarter lets fans invest in bands they believe in, which in turn reaps rewards when the record is done.

I just think that if a band is good enough to get an album or two or three on the market, they should depend on forward motion from previous albums and tours, and support THEMSELVES if their music career is something they really believe in, rather than asking for a loan from their fans.

    Buick tries to 1-up Lexus on a problem Lexus doesn't have

    This Buick commercial shows that if you lock your keys in your car, you can unlock your doors with their iPhone app. While it might be a nice feature, the commercial infers that the Lexus owner locked his keys in his car. But it's actually impossible to lock your keys in a Lexus. Details below...

    Every Lexus comes standard with their SmartAccess keys. These keys don't ever have to leave your pocket, and more importantly, don't let you lock the car when the key is inside. I find it humorous that the makers of this commercial would choose to compare the Buick to a Lexus ES for this specific feature, full while knowing their whole point is moot. Hey Buick, if you're going to target buyers of the Lexus ES, at least point out a problem Lexus actually has, not one you make up.