How to make online shopping difficult

PromoD never stops surprising me.

If there is ONE THING that you need to have if you sell clothes online, is a colour/size filter.

It generally always is on the left navigation bar, allowing the shopper to refine results based on a desired colour, or most importantly, on a desired size.

It’s pretty much the reason why shopping for clothes online is easier than in real shops: sorting your choices by colour, size or category takes much less effort than browing a real shop, crowded with people, with missing sizes, and so on.

Plus, you can see all you need, in one page, at a glance.

Now, PromoD, why would you hide your filter in the one place nobody would ever expect to find it?

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 9.32.35 AM

Conventions are so useful, especially online. Why do UX designers think that moving a filter from the left navigation bar to the middle of the page, where nobody can see it, is a good idea?

Someone pleas help me understand that.


Disclaimer: The postings on this site are my own and do not represent the postings, strategies or opinions of the company I work for.

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Ryanair, their calendar and an inverted logic user experience

How many times have you had to select or enter your date of birth on a website in your life?

I bet hundreds, probably thousands of times.

It’s a very basic function, which is generally proposed with a basic calendar interface, in which you select the day, month, and year of birth (in Europe, that’s the logic) – or the month, day and year of birth (in the US, the logic is different).

I would have never, ever in my life, imagined that such a basic, standard, and common concept as DD, MM, YYYY, would have been inverted. 

Ryanair, in fact, when you check in online, will ask you to select your date of birth by first selecting a year, then a month, and then a day.


In Usability, there’s a rule. It’s a simple rule. It says: “don’t make the user think”.

“If we find something that works, we stick to it. Once we find something that works — no matter how badly — we tend not to look for a better way. We’ll use a better way if we stumble across one, but we seldom look for one.”

Which means just one thing: do not put unnecessary effort on the customer. If since forever, the logic behind selecting a date has always been DD, MM, YYYY – or MM, DD, YYYY, depending on which part of the world you live in – then why change it?

If there’s a good reason behind this decision, I’d be happy to know it!

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The best job application ever (all my friends are geniuses)

Please take 5 minutes to take a look at this incredible job application! Thank God we still have creatives like this in the world 🙂



Coop and their new Partecipative Marketing campaign about Eggs – Information, Engagement and Business come together

I was very impressed by this Marketing Campaign run by the Swedish grocery retailer Coop about the fact they no longer sell eggs from caged hens.

Take a look:

Coop Egg Advertising

Coop Egg Advertising

This is different, and brilliant. This campaign is based on a simple call-to-action: put yourself in the hen’s shoes. We’ve given you the tools, and the context, for you to understand why we don’t do that anymore.

Once you will have felt that empathy we wanted to create, you will understand why we don’t sell those eggs coming from caged hens anymore, and why you have to pay more to get the – apparently – same product.

Engaging the customer – asking him to participate to the campaign – is a very common strategy in Guerrilla Marketing, however this is different, as by making customers put themselves in the hen’s shoes, Coop creates thoughts, empathy. And that empathy is what they need to create a connection, to switch the focus from the transaction to the relation. The customer who feels empathy for the hens does not care about a higher price.

What do you think?


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A bigger search box can change your life!

A member of the Google Search Team shows us how just by making the search box bigger the User Experience improved. Customers were searching more, and getting more answers to their questions.

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Are you winning?

Are you winning?I have just finished reading an enlightening book from professor Ian Robertson, The Winner Effect: How Power Affects Your Brain.

Of all the very interesting things I read, there is one which caught my attention more than anything else: the concept of responsibility.

Basically, what prof. Robertson asks himself is: “why does the winning factor of great personalities not affect automatically their children?”. He was bringing the example of Pablo Picasso, whose son Paulo could never succeed in his life despite such a wonderful example of geniality given by his father.

Well, what prof. Robertson discovered is that in all those cases when the children of very powerful genius were basically losers throughout all their lives, something peculiar had happened: their parents had hidden the ladder of their success.

This means that they had hidden a ladder representing all the steps they took to become successfull, so that nobody else could be able to reproduce the same.

And this happened only when such parents perceived themselves as Gods, Kings (Pablo Picasso would refer to himself as “The King”) and in general attributed their success to a sort of genetic or natural predisposition, rather than to commitment and practice (it has been shown that “genius” only comes after 10.000 hours of practice).

To conclude, not taking responsibility of your own actions will, in general, assume that all the outcome of your current existence only derives from external factors or external circumstances. And this can hardly lead to something good.

As a matter of fact, all of the depressed people I know refer to their situations as “unlucky, impossible to change, predestinate” and use words as “bad luck, the future can only be worse, there is no work for people anymore in this society, there is no place for me in the world”.

The thing here is, whether you are successful or not, circumstances are just an ingredient of your situation. Giving them a 100% of the responsibility means you basically have no power on anything, you do not deserve anything, you will not be able to achieve anything with just will of power and your own strengths.

And if you perceive yourself like this, who will ever invest on you?

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The unbearable lightness of being a LEADER

the unbearable lightness of being

I “steal” the quote from this incredibly intense book I read when I was a teenager to explain the paradox of leadership.

Why paradox?

Well, I guess it’s because Leaders need to be able to carry a lot of weight without being overwhelmed, carry weight but stay light.

Leaders who cannot do this will eventually surrender because of the too much pressure.

What are, then, the prerequisites for being a Leader? Not only lightness, I say, but also the environment around him, even though even the best possible environment will not help if Leadership is not in the DNA.

The best seeds will not grow in cement.

Being in an environment where you can say what you think, when debating and challenging other leaders’ ideas is not only accepted but expected, that is the right place for a Leader.

There are not many places in the world where this is possible, but if you stumble upon one of those, please stop.


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Localization, where are thou?

IMG_2529 IMG_2530

Evernote 3

I don’t know if everybody gets annoyed at bad localizations like me. Bad localization AND poor grammar are those things that really really make me mad. Especially in digital products. I mean: you are clearly renown, you have funds, you have the resources to make your app stand out of the crowd, you decide to localize it in N languages and you do it this bad?


What is the ultimate target of localization if not making the unfamiliar familiar?

And what is less familiar than a word in your own language with a wrong letter? I tell ya. Nothing.

A word in your own language with a wrong spelling creates that sense of étrangement – as we say in rhetoric. That is, it makes everything to the reader a little strange

How can language make such a difference in the perceived value of a digital product (app, e-commerce, etc)?

Well, by making everything in the product familiar to the buyer. A localized content is what makes the customer feel at home, comfortable and trustworthy. These feelings are – guess what – the best sediment for a fertile and long-term customer engagement.

In other words: words – allow me the repetition – are the best way to cultivate your customers’ trust.

Some examples of things that let me down about Evernote, one of my favourite apps.

Italian people will understand.

1) “In atteSSa della pagina”

2) “CoLLazione”

3) “I mie Pasti”

4) “Tocca per ritagliare le ricette e salvarNE nell’account Evernote”.

Evernote: how can i trust you if you don’t even spell the words in my language properly? 

What do I have to think about you?

1) That you use an automatic translator (bad, bad, bad).

2) That your italian localization guy does not speak italian (bad, bad, bad).

3) That you don’t really care about Italian customers. Then, why doing the localization?

Apart from this, I love your app 🙂

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Advantages of e-commerce: a sentimental post

I love e-commerce

When Christmas madness comes is the moment I remember more how much and why I love e-commerce.

At Christmas you also usually get more sentimental / emotional, so this is a strictly non-scientific post about why, sometimes, digital wins over physical, in my world.

In macro-terms, and presuming that the e-commerce experience is smooth (that is: no walls between me and the item I want to buy), shopping online is much easier than shopping in real life, and here are the main 3 reasons why I love e-commerce:

1) Order vs Chaos: How many times I entered a huge shop crowded of people and items and had the impression of a chaotic mess of dresses randomly hanging on the shop’s walls after a bomb had exploded? I mean, especially before/after Christmas, when crazy people become crazier and throw things on the floor. How many times have I wished to have a filter, right there at my fingertips, where I could select “dresses” “green” (yes! my favourite colour is finally colour of the year!) “L”. But no, no filters in physical shops. There’s not even a Category page where you can easily land and have that orientation that you need for a good journey (in this case, the journey).

2) Noise: by noise I mean: anything that can distract me or annoy me during my shopping experience. How many times have I wished that people could be just “hidden” as annoying pop ups? Screaming teenagers, screaming babies, screaming mums. There’s no such thing online. Online, it is quiet. It’s oh so quiet! Also, to make it more uncomfortable, 100% of physical shops decide to pump music I hate in my ears. Why? Why? Why? I just wanted to buy a pair of jeans and now I’m in a sort of techno-pop party. There is no such public place where they play Pink Floyd. (Actually yes, it happened to me once at Bologna airport. A pretty weird experience, but pleasant overall). Online, if the shop was built in 1994 and never updated, there might me an introductory music. But you can just click and turn it off.

3) Time: as many of you know, I live in Ireland. Dublin, more specifically. Since my first day here I asked myself: “how are they gonna do with the economy?”. Basically shops open every day at 10 and close at 6. The late ones at 6.30. People work from 9 to 6. Therefore  workers (people with an income!) cannot shop during the week. The only moment when they can shop is the weekend. Which is also the moment when all the others can shop. And here comes the mess. How cool is to do your shopping from your sofa at 11 pm and have the groceries delivered the following day?

Pointless to say, I guess, but I bought all my presents online. Even my super amazing number 1 christmas comfort food: Panettone Margherita. Which I bought here:


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What is Customer Satisfaction?

What is Customer Satisfaction

The one million euro question: what is customer satisfaction?

It is so hard to find an answer, so I’ll just let some words speak for me.

I had a few problems with my order so I spoke customer support a few times. And the customer support is EXCELLENT, never seen it better anywhere else. They really are there to help you. They changed everything into a good experience.”

This is customer satisfaction.

When moments of  pain become moments of magic.

Friction is inevitable. “Shite happens”, they say here in Ireland 🙂 What is hard is to turn a bad experience into a good one, a remarkable one.

Well, how do you get to receive such feedbacks?

Of course, you need to have in your team someone who really cares about the customers. And by the way, what kind of customer care is when people just don’t care? Then, once you know you’ve got the most philanthropic people of the world (!!!) working with you, you need to get the feedback from that saved customer.

Asking the right questions is crucial. A good customer satisfaction survey can give great results if the right question is asked at the right time.

Yes, time. How about asking for feedback when one’s still in the “climax” moment of the e-commerce drama?

For more references and to better understand what I’m talking about please read it.

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Attila Ovari

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