|BrainBlog is the Brains4All weblog. Established 2004 in The Netherlands. Brains have been working in IT since 1983, working on the internet since 1993, and using their own agile development process for design and application development since 2003. We talk about about design and usability, the industry of software and web development, web applications and simplicity, beautiful and spectacular things.|
A couple of photographers...
November 30, 2006 |
What is better then sharing a hobby?
This young couple from Essex share their love for the camera as well as their love for eachother. It is nice to see both their views on the same subjects. Nice moody pictures, some nice light working here and there and there are some brilliant greyscale shots here. The picture of the clouds above is altered, but who cares? It's spectaculair!
Election Day Graphics
November 23, 2006 |
Here is a selection of graphics from various Dutch media about yesterday's election results. Having a multi-party political system, doesn't make things simple.
De volkskrant has the most traditional graphics. A grey shadow shows last elections results.
Trouw has a graph showing winners vs. losers besides more traditional bar graphs as well.
NRC Handelsblad has some animations showing the seat distribution in the parliament.
Nederland kiest - NOS Journaal - Nova The Dutch public broadcast association uses these cylinders. The outer jacket show last elections results, the inner jacket current results. Below is the current number of seats in parliament and below that number of seats won or lost by that party.
Dutch Design: Viktor & Rolf
November 10, 2006 |
Dutch fashion Designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren have teamed with Swedish fashion retailer H&M for its third high fashion collaboration. The cult label has appeared (and sold out) as a high street capsule collection for men and women in H&M stores across Europe, North America and the Middle East.
Items of the collection are already turning up for sale on Ebay and other classifieds and auctioning sites.
Warning: PayPal will cancel your subscriptions
November 3, 2006 |
If you need to change your credit card soon, please read below to prevent the loss of your PayPal paid subscriptions.
Did you know PayPal has an Escalations Agent? An Executive Escalations Agent? They'll need one, I'm sure.
es-ca-late [es-kuh-leyt] –verb (used with object), verb (used without object), -lat-ed, -lat-ing.
So generally to escalate is to make things worse than they already are, and not by a small bit. Interresting customer service strategy. Interresting way to perceive your clients as well.
As a Design and Usability firm we consult with corporations how to Design websites and web applications for clarity, transparency and ease of use. The user-interface needs to radiate its function, its meaning. The more that interface succeeds in making clear what you can expect to happen when you interact with it (and then if exactly that same thing happens) the more that interface will be perceived as friendly by your customers.
On the other hand, if say, you just want to change your credit card, which you have to do once every few years, and you find that after you've done that all your subscriptions have been canceled is generally not experienced by any customer as friendly. It is a completely hostile move that has complete disrespect for a payment services' merchants and it's customers.
Especially if this happens completely without warning.
PayPal users take note!
According to PayPal (translated from a Dutch reply to my raising the issue):
To change the fund source for a subscription log into your account and click "history". Now try to find the subscription you want to change the payment source for. If you want to use a new credit card as a payment source for this subscription you first have to add it through your profile into your PayPal account!
Hey, if I translate it back to English word by word, it makes perfect sense again. There's more, but I don't really understand that bit, I think it is trying to say the same thing, but it goes on about having to search account information over two years in the past...
I think what PayPal is trying to say is if you want to change the credit card that you use for paying subscriptions (like your month-to-month Plan for 14Dayz time registration) you need to:
Some simple instructions or a warning message if you have any subscriptions and you're trying to remove your card would be sufficient to address this issue.
You are about to remove a credit card that you use to pay for the following subscriptions:
On the other hand, when your credit card expires, PayPal maintains a certain "grace period" in which they allow you to take steps to amend the situation. You have between 5 to 9 days to correct the payment source before your subscription is cancelled. It would be best to treat the removal of a credit card in the same way.
This describes exactly the same process PayPal uses for expiring credit cards (or bounced cheques). If PayPal continues to treat their loyal customers the way they do now, I feel they are punishing those customers who are trustworthy enough to change their credit card well before they expire, while they're being very lenient to those that write uncovered cheques, use maxed-out credit cards or are too lazy or undisciplined to change their credit card when it expires. To me that makes no sense.
Anyway, we apologise on behalf of our payment provider and hope you can forgive their ignorance. We've got quite a lot of complaints about this in the past week so if this has happened to you for your payment source of 14Dayz please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and our executive vice-president of de-escalations, that's me ;), will do his very best to help you remedy the situation as quickly and as painlessly as possible.
UPDATE: When you transfer some funds into your paypal account before canceling your old card this will carry you over the time PayPal needs to approve your new card. Thanks Olaf!
Baby step discovery learning
November 1, 2006 |
Here is an old post from my personal blog which I wrote about a year ago. When I was still taking my first steps with AJAX... I think it still has some value in it and I often find myself wondering about this curiously effective learning method.
I was watching my son, Quinten who is four years old, play with some Lego he'd got for Sinterklaas the other day. I was fascinated by the way he was going about discovering how it worked, and how he could interact with the toy; a Police car, bad-guy included.
In the mean time, Quinten has become very effective with Lego. Brains4All has done things with AJAX and DOM that I've dreamed of doing for years, and I can safely say we've become very effective with that too. Not only did we explore the technical capabilities of the technique, but more importantly we now have insights into whether or not to apply the technique, or not.
So while in the past year I feel I have progressed in technical skills and definitively in Design and Usability skills, I didn't set out to acquire those. I find that through baby step discovery learning I've acquired an almost mesh-like network of knowledge that works like, and acts almost as an instinct for building powerful, valuable and easy to use websites and killer web based applications.
What are your experiences with baby step discovery learning?