Charity vs ethics: you decide

ux-salon-dark-patterns-3-638Ever heard of “dark patterns”? The term was coined – as you can see from the photo above – by Harry Brignull and is used to describe ‘naughty things’ companies do to try and trick you into doing something you don’t necessarily want to.

As companies try ever harder to make money and get more out of people, these dark patterns are becoming ever more common.

So where’s the link to charity, I hear you cry? Well, last night I spotted this tweet:

The crux of the issue is that a £1 discretionary donation was added to the final bill by default, thus making it less likely that it would be removed.

The restaurant concerned – a very good Indian one in Brighton – was very contrite, but rightly pointed out that the £1 charity discretion was clearly advertised and would have been happily removed. Continue reading

Forget the big idea – start with the user

Steve Jobs
We think of Apple as being the great modern-day innovators, but actually what they do is take an initial idea – more often than not one that a competitor has created – and then improve on it, based on customer needs.

Even in 2016, this is something that so many brands still fail to do.

In her book Meaningful: The Story of Ideas That Fly, Bernadette Jiwa starts one chapter with this spot-on quote from Steve Jobs.

You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology. You can’t start with the technology and try to figure out where you’re going to try to sell it … And as we have tried to come up with a strategy and a vision for Apple, it started with ‘What incredible benefits can we give to the customer, where can we take the customer?’ Not starting with ‘Let’s sit down with the engineers and figure out what awesome technology we have and then [ask] how are we going to market that?’

Steve Jobs

Ask the questions, even if you may not enjoy the answers

Financial TimesThe confluence of the sale of the FT to Japanese company Nikkei and how it will remain independent, the Government’s sustained attacks on the BBC and Gawker’s decision to pull a story are neatly covered in a piece by The Guardian’s Jane Martinson.

We seem to be at a time when ever more companies/institutions are struggling with a growing desire from the public/its customers to be transparent/independent, but an equal battle to maintain revenue to satisfy owners/shareholders.

On the same day, Kevin Rawlinson from The Guardian (again) reports on the increasing number of football clubs who are banning journalists from press conferences, in favour of an in-house (and clearly biassed) reporter carrying out interviews.
Continue reading