How much is your frustration worth? knows!


The topic of this blog is putting a pricetag on frustration…and speaking of frustration, I’m preparing a sure to be hilarious recap of web usability problems with (Note to TNT- fire all of your web people.)

In the meantime, I found something online that I felt was very interesting.  Tonight I was searching for a ‘Microsoft Wireless Mouse’ on Amazon and came across something I had never heard of before.  Look at these 2 Amazon links and tell me if you can spot the difference.


Link 2

Could you spot the difference? Congratulations!  It’s not like it was right in the product headline or anything.  For those that missed it, Amazon is selling the EXACT SAME mouse for about 4 dollars more because it is in, what they call, “Amazon Frustration-Free™ Packaging”.

I hate dealing with those plastic death traps they put around gadgets as much as anyone else, but is it worth a $4 bump in price? What would I be willing to pay in any given situation to get the same thing with less frustration? $10 more for shoes you don’t have to tie (oh wait, that’s why I wear velcro). $100 more for a computer that never crashes? I’d pay it (and as I type this on my iMac I realize I did exactly that…except, more than a hundred dollars extra…).

My overspending aside, the point is, your lack of frustration is worth something. It’s just hard to figure out exactly how much it’s worth. In any given situation when you buy something, I wonder how much extra you would pay for better service, a better experience, an easier delivery method, etc.  How much money are companies losing because they aren’t willing to add that little touch to make their extra service worthwhile and “frustration-free”?

But this is starting to get deep.  In this case, for $4 extra dollars, I’d rather buy a sweet pair of scissors and just go to town on that plastic packaging.

Because in the end, I’d then have a wireless mouse and a cool pair of scissors to do with as I pleased. Win-win.


Google drives designers crazy!


The design-o-sphere is abuzz today with the recent blog post by Douglas Bowman about his decision to leave Google. Douglas was more or less the first real creative director at Google and brought about much of the look and standards that The Almighty Goog has become so well known for. Here’s a short snippet of his blog post that I think sums up his point clearly…

“Yes, it’s true that a team at Google couldn’t decide between two blues, so they’re testing 41 shades between each blue to see which one performs better. I had a recent debate over whether a border should be 3, 4 or 5 pixels wide, and was asked to prove my case. I can’t operate in an environment like that. I’ve grown tired of debating such miniscule design decisions. There are more exciting design problems in this world to tackle.”

He sums it up with this..

“I won’t miss a design philosophy that lives or dies strictly by the sword of data.”

Obviously most of the people linking to and talking about this are taking his side and agreeing with his reasonings. But I’m not the kind of person to respond to a blog post with “Amen, Doug! u Rock!”

I’m not sure I do completely agree with him. Yes, that sounds annoying. Maddening actually. But websites are not art.

Well, most websites are not art. Some are. And the other 99.9% aren’t. As an artist, I’ve noticed a funny trend amongst other artists. Some like to hide behind the shield of their black turtlenecks and macbooks and refuse to change or take other input from other people because they are creating ‘art’. My feelings are, leave your art to your personal website or separate projects.

If you are a designer for a company, you are not an artist.

Essentially, you are a designer of a salesman. Every time you create a page you are making a conscious choice about how you want that salesman to look. Will that salesman sell better to your customer base with a suit on or sweatpants? In that situation you are consciously making a decision about whether you want your site to be formal or casual. Once that is decided, you can start nitpicking. Does your salesman sell better with a blue tie on or a red tie? Based on the solid statistics you get from that, you can make an informed decision that, frankly, does “live or die by the sword of data”. And I ask you, if you were a business owner, is there a better sword to live or die by?

If Douglas is in fact leaving because he’s tired of the nitty gritty details, I can understand that. But isn’t that philosophy of testing and trial and error something that should be going on everywhere? He is right though that 41 shades of blue is a little ridiculous, but if one shade converts your traffic even .001% better, isn’t it worth it?

Art is great, but is the business world the best place for it to live? In my opinion the 2 should not (and to an extent can not) ever co exist. Does anyone disagree?


ProspectMX’s Ashley Lichty Featured On Womenwise Marketing Podcast


ProspectMX’s SEO copywriting guru Ashley Lichty recently sat down with Kelly Watson of Womenwise Marketing to offer some “SEO 101″ advice to women in business.

Kelly was nice enough to share the podcast with us for you to check out. Hit play and give it a listen for some SEO quick tips.

While Ashley’s particular expertise is SEO copywriting, she has dabbled in all phases of the SEO process during time at ProspectMX. Link building, on-page keyword optimization, article marketing, and how effective directory submissions can be for improving your search rankings are just a few of the topics Ashley covers during the podcast.

She also provides a quick list of free third party web tools anyone can use to generate keyword lists and monitor site traffic. Very useful information for any company considering investing in internet marketing services.

Womenwise Marketing is an online community of resources to help women market their business successfully, cost effectively, and in a way that doesn’t feel pushy or “salesy.”

Some great tips in the podcast, Ash. Would love to hear everyone’s feedback on the podcast below.

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Next Time You Try To Twitter During Jury Duty…


You might want to tweet yourself. Or at least send a direct message. To another juror. But don’t communicate with anyone on the “outside.” Otherwise, you might cause a mistrial.

In Fayetteville, Arkansas, a circuit court juror’s postings to Twitter are the subject of a possible mistrial of a $12.6 million judgment.

“Juror Johnathan” (aka Johnathan Powell) is the juror who commented on the trial via his smartphone. He sent 8 messages that said things like

Twitter Mistrial Juror Johnathan

Thanks to Powell’s use of Twitter during the trial, the motion for mistrial alleges that he was able to research the case and communicate with others outside the jury. It would seem that justice was served for the two investors in the company - Mark Deihl and William Nystrom - before Powell’s use of Twitter went public. Russell Wright, the principal owner of Stoam Holdings, didn’t even show up in court to dispute the claims.

I’m all about incorporating social media into your daily life, but I think taking your smartphone into a trial probably isn’t a good idea. Especially when doing so can compromise an entire trial and a huge settlement for investors done wrong.

What’s the public opinion out there on this issue? Was Powell in the wrong? Did the court drop the ball in not confiscating his phone?

Would love to hear other’s thoughts on this.