international emergency (a case for standards)

As you do, I was lying in bed the other night when the thought struck me that if I found myself in an emergency situation, if I really needed to get an ambulance to where I was as soon as possible – I had no idea what number I would need to call.
OK, so I moved countries recently, but I’ve been here almost 3 months now… and I’m sure I’ve never seen anything that told me what the emergency number was.
Funnily enough, my husband happened to witness a robbery in progress at work today and one of his co-workers called the emergency number. It turns out, in London, it’s 999.
In Australia, it is 000. As everyone in the world knows, in the USA, it’s 911.
Now, is it just me, or is this an example of where an international standard could *really* come in handy.
How hard would it be for everyone to agree on an emergency number that we used, like, everywhere?
Image credit: Good Experience

Firefox is driving me bonkers (my accident prone tab closing experiences)

I keep accidentally closing my tabs in Firefox, and it’s driving me mad!
Dan Saffer and Fred Sampson have been talking about Firefox’s recent experimentation with close buttons. It seems that Firefox have been playing around the close button, including moving it from the right to the left and back to the right side of the tab.
All I can say is that I never accidentally closed a tab before those x’s turned up on the right of the tab, and I do it *all* the time now, and it *really* annoys me!
At least in the older version when I hit the ‘x’ and I was closing a set of tabs, Firefox would check to make sure I wasn’t doing something crazy.
Now I’m sure I miss out on lots of interesting reading because I’ve opened up a tab for something I plan to get to later, and then I accidentally close it – and I don’t even know what it was!
Does anyone else do this or am I being a bit of a moron?
For me it’s such an unconscious thing – it’s like the X is calling me and saying ‘click me! click me!’ – and so I do! I’m not even sure what I’m trying to do when I click it… I think a lot of the time I’m going to navigate to another tab.
It seems wrong that I can do something so irretrievable so easily. There’s no way (that I know of) that I can find out what that tab was holding for me once it’s gone… yet, I can understand how frustrating it would become to have to confirm that, Yes, I really do want to close that tab everytime I consciously tried to close one.
I know that the left hand side isn’t perhaps the most logical/conventional place to put the red X, but I think that extra bit of thought ‘what is that X doing there? oh, it’s delete’, would definitely save me from making this mistake all the time.
Either that, or some how let me do a Control+Z and undo my delete… or something that can let me find that damn page that I obviously wanted to read and now is lost for ever (or, until I stumble upon it again).
And, while I’m whining about this version of Firefox … I can’t *tell* you how many time’s it’s crashed while I’ve been using WordPress. They’re not playing nicely at all. I think I do more saving than writing these days! It seems to particularly hate when I’d doing anything with an image.
Mercifully, there is the ‘resume session’ option offered when you re-launch the browser. Now, there’s an utter godsend. All I need now is something like that for when I accidentally close a tab!
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geek is a relative term

barCamp Schedule

So, hurrah. BarCamp. What a great experience :)

Lots of smart people all together, and so friendly! The whole weekend had a great energy to it and the guys who organised it should be heartily congratulated.

One thing bothered me a little tho, and that was the ‘geekiness’ demarcation.

Apparently if you’re into UCD or Usability or – heaven forbid, marketing, you’re not a geek. Only uber-programming types are nerds apparently. And, just maybe, Flash-ers…

It’s kind of strange… because in my non-BarCamp life, I get the geek/nerd label all the time. Gosh, I thought just turning up to BarCamp was a pre-qualifier.

I though I’d look it on on Wikipedia. Here’s what they’re currently agreeing to:

… a person who is fascinated, perhaps obsessively, by obscure or very specific areas of knowledge and imagination, usually electronic or virtual in nature.

I think it’s fair to say that definition covers just about everyone who attended BarCamp. Not just the ones who cut code. So, perhaps let’s not use the term in an exclusionary way.

I’m not sure where this idea has come from that people who don’t do the hard core technical stuff for a living are somehow afraid of people who do.

Or that we find the incomprehensible.

Or that we don’t want to and enjoy hanging out with them.

Or that we couldn’t learn something from them.

Or that, who knows, they might even learn something from us.

I can only speak for myself, but I think that’s rubbish.

Can we stop it please and just all play nicely because I thought that the diversity and the togetherness were two of the best bits of BarCamp.

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customer experience: the bad, and the worse


Unfortunately, very average customer experiences are not hard to come across… even from brands that you really want to like… It’s a shame, because sometimes the smallest things can make all the difference. Like… if you’re giving people an automated, machine driven service, then maybe play on what’s good about it – the speed, possibly the accuracy? And compensate for the downside – the lack of personal service. And if humans are providing the service, then *behave* like a human being who is interactive with another human being.

I’m not just an email address you know. I’m a person. And I’m suitably frustrated, concerned, upset by something about your company to be contacting you. I don’t complain much. Perhaps you might take a moment to think about what kind of emotions I might be experiencing and ensure that your response is appropriate to those emotions…. otherwise I might get to thinking you don’t care. If you’ve done something kind of dodgy, then maybe – oh, I don’t know – apologise?!

Good customer experience is very rarely rocket science. It’s usually just a matter of giving a damn and being a little bit thoughtful.

OK, so this is a venting and sharing post. But hopefully it’s instructional and interesting. You be the judge. Or, better still, feel free to vent and share similarly dodgy experiences.

Let’s look at two recent experiences… which will we start with. Bad or Worse?

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