Charging for services back in vogue

As the woes of the global economy have forced entrepreneurs and investors who had previously been fans of the "everything should be free" ad-based business model to reconsider their beliefs, there seems to be a growing infatuation with paid services again.


High street retailers up their game on usability

A study of twenty top high street retailers shows some welcome improvements in usability standards.

There are clearly still a few issues to be addressed, but Webcredible's Online High Street report (email required) gives retailers an average score of 67.7%, up from a fairly miserable 57% last year.

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Adobe CS4 is out - what's new?

Chances are that if you're a web designer or developer, you use one or more Adobe products.

Adobe's Creative Suite, which includes programs like Photoshop, Flash and Dreamweaver, is one of the most popular software suites known to web professionals because of this.


Gary Vaynerchuk on video, social media and Twitter

Gary Vaynerchuk is director of operations at Wine Library, a wine retailer, and is perhaps more widely known in internet marketing circles for his videos, where he primarily delivers insights into topics related to social media.

He is also the face behind Wine Library TV, the video-based wine tasting blog that has done much to help transform the Wine Library business into a $50m-a-year retailer, from $4m six years ago.

Gary is a blast...

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Usable internal software systems – just a pipedream?

Usability as a criteria for judging internal software solutions is not only overlooked but often undervalued when compared to one of its big sisters, so called ‘cost reducing features’.

With the penetration of enterprise software throughout businesses all over the world, will we as end users ever experience user friendly internal software, to the levels to which we are accustomed with the latest ‘user centered’ web applications?


Charity search engine incurs the wrath of Google

Charity search engine has become the latest victim of the dreaded Google penalty, having been relegated to number 60  in the search engine for its brand name.

Will Critchlow has covered this on the Distilled blog, seeing no particular reason for the penalty, and speculating that the fact that Everyclick is a search engine may have something to do with it.


We know CPM advertising sucks but what are you going to do about it?

I came across an interesting post on Mashable last week, written by Jitendra Gupta, the CEO of internet startup SezWho.

In it, he focuses on social media advertising but also addresses the broader issue of CPM-based advertising. It's this part that I feel is worth discussing.


Email Usability – clearly we are no further down this road

I had my attention drawn recently to Jakob Nielsen’s latest post on Alertbox, entitled ‘Transactional Email and Confirmation Messages’.

In his article, Nielsen reports on his findings from a research study into the usability of confirmation and basic trigger emails. 

His conclusion is that, from a usability perspective, they are, in general, shocking (my word, not his!). 


Is your design clear or confusing? Eye-tracking can tell

Websites that have strongly invested in building traffic should be able to capture and focus people’s attention once they arrive.

However, eye-tracking analysis shows that this is not always the case.


Newspapers - the good news and the bad news

Times are tough for newspaper executives.

The newspaper industry's woes were highlighted once again last week when The New York Times Company posted a quarterly loss from continuing operations and announced that it would have to write down the value of some of its assets by over $100m.


Site review: Webtogs

Webtogs is an e-commerce startup that launched in 2007 and focuses on outdoor clothing and equipment.

Webtogs homepage

I've been taking a closer look at its website, as well as talking to Webtogs co-founder Philip Wilkinson about the design, and how the business is doing nearly 12 months after launch...


Amazon EC2 comes out of beta

Amazon's EC2 "cloud computing" offering, which enables users to access on-demand processing power using the firm's infrastructure, is "now ready for production", according to Amazon.

It officially left "beta" last week.