Don’t make me think…

We have become a culture of easy, quick, right at your fingertips. The iPhone has changed the way we look at the world, what we expect, and how we expect to consume information, apps, and really anything that is easily accessible.

On my flight back from Shanghai I finished reading a book called: “Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability” by Steve Klug. I love the title of his book as it is spot on. I would rather frequent a website that does not make me hunt and peck for the information I need. Obviously there are plenty of websites that you do not have a choice and have to use. Your banking, credit card, local water company or trash service website all mean you either call them or get what you get on their website.

I am still always in awe of how quickly smartphones, the web, and apps have made it that we do a zillion things all within a tiny little device. I remember maybe 5 years ago, I was still using an old school flip phone that did not even have a camera, while Chris had a Razr phone. At the time the Razr was so slim and such a big deal. Eventually I upgraded from my old school phone to an iPhone 3 and well, my life was just never the same. Klug explains this well in this comment:

“Just consider how many things the smartphone allowed you to carry in your pocket or purse at all times: a camera (still and video, and for many people, the best one they’d ever owned), a GPS with maps of the whole world, a watch, an alarm clock, all of your photos and music, etc., etc.” page 144

Think about how much you do on a daily basis on your phone. How many people do you communicate with daily, hourly, each minute? How many pictures and videos do you take and share? How often do you check your stocks? The news? How many games do you play? How often do you interact with social media? How much do you manage your finances right from your phone? Do you check the weather daily? Get directions to that new restaurant? Listen to music? Track your flight? Surf the Internet? Do you manage your life, grocery, and errand lists on your phone? Oh, and the old school part of it all, how often do you even use your phone to talk to someone?

Later Klug says:

“And think about the fact that for most people in emerging countries, in the same way they bypassed landlines and went straight to cellphones, the smartphone is their first—and only—computer.” page 144

It would blow my mind if my cellphone was my first computer. That would be like driving from zero to 100 in seconds. We have become so picky about user interface. We want easy, clean, and simple. The great part is that most of the time we have access to so many options. The even better news is that our options are only going to get better and better. Allowing us to do so many things on autopilot without having to think. With great design our lives become that much easier. My only concern is that we do not lose our capacity to think critically.

Is hotel Wi-Fi just air?

I was watching Modern Family a few weeks ago, and Ed O’Neill said something to the effect of, “Wi-FI: you are just paying for air.” It really got me thinking. We were recently staying in a hotel, and they charged a $9.95 fee per night for Wi-Fi. Which is actually a fairly normal amount of money for a hotel to charge, but why? You are already paying enough to stay in the hotel, plus taxes, why not offer hotel Internet Wi-Fi for free?

Think about it. You get free shampoo, conditioner, soap, water, heat, electricity. Okay well it is not free, it is part of the rate you pay for the room, but because it does not show as a charge on your bill you think of it as free. I would almost prefer my Internet Wi-Fi just be part of my room rate, rather than have to pay for it on top of my daily rate. Why? Well, unless I have to do work, I do whatever I can on my iPhone because I am cheap and do not want to pay the same amount for my hotel Internet for four nights of use with that I would for pay for a whole month of Internet at home.

Hotels must make shit-tons of money off their guests through daily Internet charges. Yet, should they? Internet should now be seen in the same way as electricity. We do not even think about whether turning on the lights will cost us more for our stay. If we did, would some of us sit in the dark? Why do we think differently about Internet? Or, does it all have to do with money and how much hotels can make off their guests?

What do you think? is it for you?

My new favorite app: Thank you to a colleague that share this app with me! Yes, I am a dork and love the app that keeps me organized. At the moment I have two apps that keep me organized. The one I have had longer is Wunderlist. I use it for those long-term lists. For example: I keep a list of restaurants we want to venture to at some point. When I learn of a new one, or receive a recommendation for one, I add it to my Wunderlist Restaurant list. I have another list for movies I want to see, and television shoes I want to catch up on.

For the day-to-day items I use to keep me on track. Here are a few reasons why I love

  • I can schedule reminders to pop-up on my phone and remind me that I need to complete the task.
  • syncs with my iPhone calendar. If I turn the phone into landscape mode, I can see my tasks connected with my calendar.
  • I can make a note to call someone with and then when it is time to make my call, I can call right within
  • If I would like to add something to my to-do list in, I can speak my to-do item via the “audio” function on their to-do list.
  • At 10 a.m. each morning I get a notification on my iPhone that it is time to plan my day. A nice reminder to think about what needs to be done.
  • I can move to-do items to a later day just by dragging the item.
  • Chris and I can share an account, so I can add items to the list specific for Chris when he opens the app on his iPhone (and vice versa for me).
  • There is an extension for Chrome, so you can use it on your computer and iPhone (I have yet to use the Chrome functionality yet).

Both and Wunderlist keep me organized in different ways. What iPhone apps do you use to keep you organized? #keepmeposted 

Bump to Pay App

How many times are you out with a friend and they say I am covering this, and you say I will pay next time. When the next time comes you realize you do not have your credit card and about enough cash for a small coffee. Your friend covers to pay for your dinner, but you are adamant that you are paying her back. Now you can, right away! No need to send her a check in the mail, wait until you see her next, or send her a check through your checking account.

You can now use the Bump to Pay app on your phone (iOS devices). The app uses PayPal for the transaction, so you need to have a PayPal account set up that will take money out of your checking account. You can then select the amount you want to share with a friend and Bump your phones to make the money transfer.

As long as it is truly secure, then it is definitely an app individuals will use. Hopefully they will expand to other smart phones. For now, anyone with an iPhone has no excuse for not covering their own tab.

Has anyone tried it? I always like to hear what others think before I use apps that require connecting to my credit card or checking account, but it does sound convenient. What else will they think of?! What apps have you thought of that do not yet exist?