Do Not Reply

Says Ryan Hoover:

How many emails did you immediately delete without opening this morning? How many of those were from [email protected]? We’re drowning in unwanted, rote email yet companies miss the opportunity to escape the trash and create a connection with their users by communicate more personally.

Absolutely – don’t be an idiot by sending mails out with noreply@.

As Ryan, and also Paul, says, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity for engagement and you’re forcing your call centre to do the work.

Even worse, you’re pissing off customers no end. I’ve had this problem recently with a UK retailer (MyProtein). Being used to Amazon’s top-notch service, it’s already a bummer when they send me the wrong order, changing an option I filled out without ever informing me, but when I have no way to reply by email, and I’m forced onto their BS “ticket” system, that sets up an antagonistic “man-versus machine” relationship. Fill out a ticket? Seriously? What does a ticket mean to anyone outside the IT industry? It’s what gets you into a football stadium, not the antidote to using email, the standard communication channel for anyone but companies who’ve messed up a customer’s order.

Please. Don’t make me jump through hoops after you screwed up.

Any random e-commerce site at this point is already two steps behind Amazon to begin with. Send your mails out with no-reply and watch your customer service plummet.

Alpha channel

I’m not much of a visual designer, but here’s a subtle little use for alpha channel I found while build a related episode feature. (You may have to squint a bit here or alternatively zoom in.)

In the before pic, we have dark text on a dark-and-light texture:

The text blends into the background too much, so we can sharpen it up with a subtle background (#eee):

Better, but observing closely shows the discontinuity. So instead of full light-gray, let’s blend it into the background. Here I used a 0.5 alpha channel (rgba(240,240,240,0.5)) and to make the transition even less jarring, a 5 pixel border radius too. (I suppose I could have added a box shadow for max combo.) I think it’s considerably sharper now, but without any noticeable background.

Ten Moments that Changed the Web

Google kindly invited me to give the keynote at the inaugural London Devfest today, so I chose to cover something I’ve been reflecting on lately as HTML5, the third phase of the web, enters middle age.

The talk is titled “Ten Moments that Changed the Web” and you’ll find the slides as well as the presentation audio linked from the first slide. (Audio quality is rough as my recording was a bit impromptu and took the audio from a Flipcam.)

Thanks to Google for inviting me and thanks to Hakul for the ever-genius RevealJS slide framework.