Posts in Customer Experience

Amazon bows SMS shopping

262966 spells A-M-A-Z-O-N on your dialpad. It's the shortcode for TextBuyIt, the online retailer's new SMS shopping system.

Just type what you want - iPod Nano, for example, text it to that number and numbered search results appear on your handheld device's screen. Respond with the number of the item you want, respond to the prompt for your email address and postal code, and you'll get a call from Amazon to complete your purchase.

It's all so instantaneous, except for the waiting for it to arrive in the mail part.

Amazon TextbuyIt

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Case study: Silicon Alley Insider promoting the wrong things to the wrong people

My RSS reader has subscriptions to feeds for several dozen technology blogs that I've come to rely on because they've provided news and information that I find useful and valuable.

I have but one simple expectation: relevance.

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Does the internet need an open video format?

Mozilla, the non-profit foundation behind the popular Firefox browser, is putting its weight behind the development of an open, royalty-free video codec for the internet.

While popular video formats such as MPEG4 are quite robust, most are proprietary, covered by patents and require some sort of licensing on the part of software vendors.

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Confused.com trumpets usability

Insurance aggregator Confused.com has been promoting its new look site recently with a TV campaign which focuses on the usability of its website.

On the ads, Confused.com has got its customers to say what they think about the new-look site, with a focus on the improved user experience. With this in mind, how easy is it to get a car insurance quote on the new site?

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Microsoft IE8 release candidate now available

As Microsoft pushes forward on the path towards Windows 7, the successor OS to a very disappointing Windows Vista, the Redmond-based software company has made an Internet Explorer 8 release candidate available for download.

IE8 will come bundled with Windows 7 and represents Microsoft's effort to maintain IE's always-vulnerable but still-dominant hold on the browser market.

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Wikipedia has 97% of the online encyclopedia market

Online collaborative encyclopedia Wikipedia has a massive 97% share of internet visits among the top five reference websites, highlighting the amount of work that rivals like Britannica.com have to catch up.

Britannica.com announced some new Wikipedia-style community features last week as it attempts to make up some of the ground lost to Wikipedia. According to stats from Hitwise, it currently has just 0.57% of US internet visits to the encyclopedia category.

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Site comparison: Number10 v Whitehouse.gov

As soon as President Obama was inaugurated this week, a shiny new version of the whitehouse.gov website was launched, replete with blog and RSS feeds, an indication of the new administration's intent to make full use of the internet.

I've been taking a look at the new White House site, and comparing it with Number10.gov, the Prime Minister's website which is still in beta since it was relaunched in August last year.

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5 reasons Britannica.com is losing out online

With Encyclopedia Britannica gearing up to launch a new version of Britannica.com that will incorporate more community features, I decided it was a good time to take a look at Britannica.com.

Is it in a good position to compete with Wikipedia, the user-generated online 'encyclopedia' that eclipses Britannica.com in popularity, or will it have to do more? Here are 5 criticisms of Britannica.com that I believe it needs to address to be successful.

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Jakob Nielsen on press area usability

Nielsen's latest Alertbox post this week looks at the issue of press area usability for journalists, finding that plenty of the websites studied fail to adequately provide information for such visitors.

Poor usability and lack of information in press areas will result in journalists deciding not to include a company in the article they are writing, or else force them to get their information from third party sources, and can represent a lost PR opportunity.

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Mobile app review: Truveo video search for iPhone

Video search engine Truveo has released an updated version of its iPhone app with new features and 'Intelligent Query Completion' to improve the search functionality.

Since iPhones are sold with YouTube pre-installed, the app already has some strong competition to overcome, though users have viewed some 3m videos through the app since it launched in July last year. I've been trying out the updated version of Truveo's app and seeing how it compares to YouTube.

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100,000 Google Knols published, plenty of work to do

Google announced last week that it had recently reached the milestone of 100,000 articles published on Knol, the company's answer to Wikipedia.

Knol was launched in July last year, and attracting so many contributors in such a short space of time is no mean feat, but it is flawed so far, and there are plenty of issues to be resolved on the site before it can begin to worry Jimmy Wales.

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New mobile phone features confuse users

When you're a techie, it's hard not to gawk at the evolution of the smart phone and to think about the implications of a growing mobile internet.

Yet for average mobile phone users, the increasing number of features is leaving many 'baffled'.

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