UX/UI for dummies screenshot

Hotmail was the first free email service back in the early days (remember Sabeer Bhatia). It had a huge first mover advantage & is now Microsoft owned. However, when you put on your usability glasses, it seems that some basic things that one would notice seems to be amiss.

Just take the two search boxes...Two??Yes, really...see the screenshot. It makes me think that there was no thought put into what was getting developed. Is it not a fair assumption that most of the modern browsers have a little search box on their top right corner? Why would Hotmail users would want to search on Bing after logging into their Hotmail account?

But what if we wanted hotmail users to try out Bing? How do we increase the adoption of our cool new search engine? Well...maybe we can offer one search box, but two search results - side by side - one from the user's emails & other from the web; Now you've got my attention. I(the user) is thinking...Hotmail is pretty cool - Gmail cannot do that for me, nor can Yahoo. This is so cool. & maybe I will click a hyperlink & you have introduced me to your cool new search engine - in a Permission Marketing sort of way. Here is how GMail does it today...

Another issue that I ran into recently. I received 6 exact emails for Azure trial from Microsoft & yet Live/Hotmail did not think it was spam (while it sometimes flags my regular emails as spam). Again, it seems to me that its the little things that matter & that is where Apple & Google sometimes (well most of the times) have an edge over Microsoft.

Duct Tape - Saving the world from bad design

Nothing screams end user innovation like Duct tape (a.k.a Duck Tape). It is possibly one of the greatest American innovation.

As it turns out the Universal remote that I ended up buying a year & a half ago, did not really work with my Satellite Dish (& eventually was just tossed under the bed like "Jessie, the Cowgirl" in Toy Story).

This setup was just a little complicated for the family as it involved a few steps in a strict ritual just to watch Cartoon Network (& no one even tried to get to XBOX / Wii / Wireless Media Player).

Duct tape to the rescue (okay, clear packing tape for the nitpickers)...& boom, now we have stepwise instructions for how to use this setup...Follow the numbered instructions & just add water ;-)..& duct tape slays the multiple remote dragon.

Duct tape really is a classic example of products that empowers us in a simple & straight forward manner (passes the "no manual required" test). Perhaps, the opportunity lies in ideas that allow us to make sense of our world (let's me duct tape stuff) or eliminates the need for duct taping my world (seamlessly integrated stuff / iPhones etc.).

If you can think of a product or service that does one of these, you may have the next duct tape on your hand.


While Harmony by Logitech etc. exist for $100+, it will probably take an Apple to expand this market (Yep, iRemote). There may be an opportunity here to create an easy to use / train Universal remote. Yep, I ain't writing no friggin Macros (& if it is has more than 3 buttons, don't even bother).

Of course another version of this product could be MS Remote Server 2009 64 Bit Enterprise edition (plus 5 other versions with 3 different licensing models). Remember "Home Server" (Almost nobody does).

Why automation / online ordering will not outsource humans?

As you can probably tell, I am a big fan of online stuff (which is why I don't have a paper version of my little diary).

Anyways, on a recent trip to San Diego, I tried ordering pizza from Pizza Hut & got into the online v/s human interface issue.

Apparently, Pizza Hut cannot find the Hilton San Diego Resort that I was staying at (& so no Pizza Hut food for me).

Note the address of Hilton on their website...

Here is the disconnect...Note the message from Pizza Hut website...

They can't even find the Hilton. Well, I ended up calling the hotel who recommended me Mountain Mike's (& that is where the Pizza came from).

I am not sure what is the issue, but here it is...