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Archive for September, 2008

Is the Australian IA community a clique?

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

I’ve just been away for a week at two of my favourite conferences - OzIA and Web Directions.But this post isn’t quite about that…

I read some of the feedback from OzIA on the weekend. And one comment stuck out and worried me a bit. The comment was along the lines that my talk seemed silly (which I can deal with) and cliquey (which worries me).

Now I know that a couple of times I mentioned folks in the audience by name. I know that I know a decent proportion of the crowd. And there definitely is a group of IA folks in both Canberra and Sydney who see each other regularly, hang out together, eat together and even do non-IA stuff together.

But it worries me that it may be seen as a clique. Something that has an in-crowd and an out-crowd. I worry that it might look like there is an in-crowd that doesn’t want to involve other people, because that’s just not the case.

Those of us who do hang out together do so partly because we have gotten involved in something. We’ve been to conferences together, attended IA meet-ups together and volunteered together. We’ve discussed the future of IA and what it all means over drinks. That crowd has built up over time and changes over time. There is no membership and no secret handshake. It is just a bunch of folks with a shared interest.

So, please. If it looks to you like there is an IA clique that you are not involved in, just get involved. Here’s how:

We aren’t an exclusive clique and we really do love getting to know other people who do IA.

Vodafone iPhone FAIL

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

Yes, another slightly ranty story just like the Peugeot rant…

I had a goal for today: To buy an iPhone from vodafone. I’m in Sydney with some spare time between conferences and I wanted to walk into a store, buy an iPhone and walk out.

I’m with Vodafone already for my mobile phone and have been quite happy with them.

So they were the obvious choice.Before I went in, I wanted to have a quick check of pricing and check that stores in Sydney had stock. I think that’s a pretty reasonable information-seeking goal…

Step 1 – Home page

So I started at the home page. Apart from a lot of stuff competing for my attention, it was easy to find the little iPhone link. And it is first in the list, so I assume it is somewhat important to them:

Vodafone home page

Step 2: Check pricing

Cool, there’s a link called ‘pricing’ – just what I need:

The main iphone page on vodafone

So, remember, I clicked on ‘pricing’ (from the iPhone page). Where is the iPhone pricing?

(the URL still read ‘ so I was in the right place)

Step 3: Try again

So I go back, and this time click on the ‘buy’ navigation item.

And here’s what I get:

The vodafone iphone 'buy' page, which has NO information about buying an iphone

Step 4: Stop

I have exhausted all options. I’ve clicked on the completely obvious, clearly-labelled links. I cannot find out how much an iPhone is, nor can I buy one from vodafone.

Look, this is not a hard problem to solve by any stretch of the imagination. Information architects, web designers know that the destination of a link should match what the user expects to see. It is easy to keep an eye on this – the website is small enough that someone should have spotted it. This is just a silly failure.

But this silly failure just cost them a long term customer. I cannot buy the thing I intended to spend a lot of money on. Done. Customer loyalty only extends so far.

The competition

Just to show how easy this problem is, look at the first two screens I saw on virgin:

Virgin home page, with a fairly clear link to the iphone section

The virgin iphone page. Simple to read and pricing info smack bang in the middle of the page

So guess where I’m headed soon…

Oz-IA: Student rates

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

Just announced: Student rates for Oz-IA. Full conference rates are only $198 and workshop rate is $77. That’s fantastic pricing and a great incentive to help students attend!

I love blogging

Monday, September 8th, 2008

I was just reading through some old posts (I have a 101-day old to-do list item to ‘update list of best articles’) and re-remembered how much I like blogging. Much more than the ephemeral twittering or plurking, and much easier than articles & books.This is a note-to-self to do it more.  And given I resigned from a fairly big client gig recently, I should be able to!