Jun 122013
 

Note for those who have been living on Mars the past few years: Pandora is an online streaming radio that creates channels based on the groups or songs you like. It is extremely addictive.

LIKE OR DELETEPandora has us all figured out. What we like, what we once liked, what we will never ever like, even if it was served up hot and steaming in the middle of an ice storm. Here is Pandora’s Like Sleep Delete (LSD) formula:

Like: If you hear a song you really like (and would be happy to hear over and over), click the thumbs up icon.

SLEEPSleep: If you hear a song you used to like but have now grown tired of hearing over and over, click the sleep (I’m tired of this track) option.

Delete: If you hear a song that reminds you of the fat kid who used to bully you in middle school, click the thumbs down icon. (If only you could do that in the real world…)

What a perfect formula for life:

Like something? Keep doing it. (You won’t go blind.)

Like something but have grown tired of it? Take a break for a while. (Tell your partner you have a headache.)

Don’t like something? Just don’t do it. (Unless you could lose your job.)

Seriously though, this LSD formula has found application everywhere because it is rooted in human psychology.

fly-through-shotTake my iPhone mail app of the moment, Mailbox. I know, I know, I keep serving up apps. Guess I just “like” them. Anyway, mailbox lets you answer urgent emails immediately (Like), send emails away to lists or to return tomorrow/next week/in 3 months (Sleep) and of course, get rid of / archive the emails that come from your old high school classmates (Delete).

So what do you think of the LSD philosophy? Do you think you could apply it to aspects of your life? If you did, what would you select for the Sleep category (apart from my blog posts, of course)?

May 222013
 

next-app1

I wasn’t always like this. I was a prudent spender—“Ha!” says my wife, peering over my shoulder—until the day I was seduced (now she’s holding her breath) by a new iPhone app. The irony? The app is an expense tracker… but its interface is so drop-dead gorgeous (luckily my wife has returned to her book) that I can’t resist buying something just to have an excuse to interact with it.

Here is what I like about the app, called Next:

  1. It only costs $1.99 (already entered that expense!).
  2. The design is devilishly simple—just an array of icons.
    Click on the one that resembles your expense—a cup of coffee
    (my Achilles’ heel)—and enter the amount spent.
  3. The analytics are also simple. One swipe to the right reveals your total expense by category for the week, month or year. One swipe to the left reveals the details of each expense by day.

next-app3That’s it. Dead simple. And, wow, so effective.

In fact, I have begun to quiz my wife and kids every night about their
day-to-day expenses, just so I can return time and time again to this app.
I think they may be calling me names behind my back:
“Meet my dad, Mr. Scrooge.”

Sigh, the power of good design.

Now to apply the same design thinking to the main university website… ah, now there’s a worthy challenge!