April 25, 2008

Shopping cart goes high-tech

Filed under: user experience — Tags: — thedelman @ 2:28 pm

This is old news, which I was meant to blog about it last year but you know how life is. 


This project has got my attention because it affects majority of the British population. Who do you know who doesn’t shop at a supermarket?


It would be interesting to know whether they used personas. I can image at least 4/5 are needed, obviously this will be analysed through user research!


My made up personas are (This is tongue in cheek):

  1. The speedy frenetic, trolley bashing mum of 4.
  2. The hard partying mad student.
  3. The professional who works hard plays hard and has a taste for the finer things in life.
  4. Maybe an Oliver loving granny.
  5. Not forgetting the healthy eating earth loving dude.


Another point of interest is whether the designers will take into account the full life cycle of the users. For me this starts from the minute the user wakes up to the minute they go to sleep, in fact 24 hours.


What am I on about!?!


Well, because people love food/eating and their day is planned around food, this system could have touch points throughout people’s lives from being at home, on the move, at work, socialising etc. So, in the end it’s not just a helpful dashboard sitting on a random trolley throwing out suggestions and information but it becomes an experience.



User will have an online shopping account. Part of his account has a shopping organiser, which has his weekly preference setting. Let’s say £40, moderately healthy, no seafood, no responsibilities, 60 min cooking time (average for the week), randomness, moderate etc


This account can be accessed online anywhere. The great thing about this is that whilst shopping, all he has to do is sign into the dashboard and it will tell him what’s on the menu today and show him where to get the ingredients in the shop. At home he can go online to his account and it will show him how to cook the dinner.


He receives a call from his parents whilst travelling. They inform that they will be coming for dinner in 3-4 hours. Then and there he could interact with his account (via hand held devices) inputting his new needs*. Parents – 4 hours – like red meat etc. Then the food could be delivered to his home, when he gets home he manages to cook it just in time for his parents


So what I’m saying is that this should not be just a helpful dashboard on a trolley but more of a life enhancing experience between the people, eating and shopping.  



* Let’s hope he’s not driving at the time!


April 23, 2008

Unilever Switches Off Dove Forums

Filed under: brand, community, dove, unilever — Tags: , , , , , , — Warren Hutchinson @ 9:18 pm

I had a reply to my last post from Jamie who is the web editor for Greenpeace, saying that ever since Greenpeace launched their campaign the forums on Dove’s ‘Campaign for Real Beauty’ site have been closed.


Engage positively!!!

This is lame and you’re looking like fools.

This smacks of the fake blogging incident by L’Oreal brand Vichy who failed to understand (at first) how to engage with this level of digital subversion. L’Oreal turned it round by positively engaging with the blogging community to create a dialogue.

Unilever have put up their rather un-inspiring, dry, content free retort and are putting their fingers in their ears and saying la la la. I think they might be sitting up there in Unilever Towers looking out the window saying things like “Have they gone yet?” or “Today’s news is tomorrow’s chip wrapping.”

Silly Unilever.

Well done Greenpeace.

It’d be great if you could look at some other ecologically naughty brands / campaigns and entertain us all with some more highlighted irony to deliver important messages.

Beauty? It’s what’s on the inside that counts. What’s inside Dove is ugly.

Unilever’s ‘digital reaction’ to Greenpeace Protest

Filed under: brand, community, dove, unilever, user generated content, video — Tags: , , , , — Warren Hutchinson @ 12:30 pm

By Warren Hutchinson

The Greenpeace Orang-Utan’s struck Unilever on Monday and within an hour the blogosphere was rampant with rampaging Orang-Utans, videos, images, stories.

As ever ‘Transparency Tyranny‘ is rife and digital is the driving nemesis of corporation x.

What are Unilever doing in response? And how are they going to engage in this digital onslaught, this citizen journalist propagation and ironic spin of ‘real beauty’?

I’m really interested in the strategy behind all of this and how it unfolds. In the inception of the ‘campaign for real beauty’ I wonder if they thought about defensive strategies should stories (which they MUST have suspected) such as this emerge.

On the Unilever site there is a front page news item titled ‘Sustainable Palm Oil’. Click through and you see a video from their SVP of Communications and Sustainability starting with a statement that:

“We have great sympathy with what Greenpeace are trying to achieve, they are drawing attention to a really important issue” – Gavin Neath, SVP Communications and Sustainability

I find the role of SVP ‘Communications’ (Spin) and ‘Sustainability’ incongruous, but that’s another issue.

Unilever's News Page

Unilever are part of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, or RSPO for short, and unsurprisingly they are playing up to this. Unilever claim to be instrumental in setting up the roundtable for sustainable palm and carrying it forward.

The transcript can be found here.

The response is a step, I’d rather see something directly relating and acknowledging the Greenpeace efforts, an alignment of sorts. They are playing it down, but not explicitly responding.

The ‘Dove in the News’ site is even wetter. Dove is all over the news, but it is not showing here.

Cue fingers in the ears – “la la la”:

Dove's News Page

The problem is, in order to hear Unilever’s point of view you have to mobilise yourself to go and see their site, navigate and watch a polished corporate video.

I can’t, yet, find any level of engagement by Unilever with the user-generated, mobilised, chatteriffic sphere of blogs, video sites and social networks. Searches for ‘Greenpeace, Unilever, Palm Oil’ only result in links to sites siding with the Greenpeace effort and not Unilever.

Designing a strategy for organic search traffic is required or else people will simply miss Unilever’s point.

I had a quick scan through the Facebook groups and found lots of Unilever corporate groups for ‘Graduates’ and ‘Management Schemes’ but UNSURPRISINGLY I found the Facebook group ‘Dove: Not so clean’.

Okay – it has 12 members so far.

Corporations are really uncomfortable with this stuff and they continue to ignore dealing with it.

And in closing, the final statement by the interviewer:

“Gavin Neath – thank you very much indeed”

smells horribly corporate and reeks of Aunty (The BBC for non-UK readers).

Greenpeace Protest at Unilever London

Filed under: brand, dove, unilever — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Warren Hutchinson @ 12:30 pm

By Warren Hutchinson

Only last week I was having a conversation with one of the brains behind the new LBi Quarterly called LBiQ about the Dove campaign that gave Unilever permission to engage with audiences as an authority of ‘real beauty’.

We debated the merits of Dove’s ‘campaign for real beauty’ and how a good old fashioned campaign can bring new light to an otherwise dying entity even in today’s ultra transparent web 2-oh world.

Recruiting ‘real women’ from London streets, using portrait photographer Rankin to shoot the images and celebrating 95% of the female population as having a normal figure, it was a good idea well executed.

Well, today as I was crossing Blackfriars Bridge in London on my way to work in Clerkenwell I saw that Unilever’s London HQ had become besieged by Orang-Utans in protest about the beauty line’s impact on wildlife via the extraction of palm oil in rain forests.

In the words of the Temptations;’…beauty’s is only skin deep yeah yeah yeah‘.

The protest coincides with a released Greenpeace report called Burning Up Borneo which reports on a link between Unilever’s relationship with palm oil extraction companies and the destruction of Orang-Utan habitats. Apparetly 80% of Orang-Utan habitat has been destroyed in 20 years.

More here from Orang-Utan Outreach if you are interested in the plight of ginger monkeys (I know, I know).

Also, good video here from the BBC.

Do you know which of your household products use palm oil? Or where it comes from?

Personally, I haven’t a clue.

It’s used in cleaning products, fabric conditioner, margarine, soap and a whole host of cosmetics. It’s also used as a crop for bio-fuels, so demand for it is going up.

However, it’s further proof that in beauty terms it’s what is on the inside that counts.

Anyway, here are some pics I snapped on my mobile:

Greenpeace Protest @ Unilever London

Greenpeace Protest @ Unilever London[01]

Greenpeace Protest @ Unilever London

Greenpeace Protest @ Unilever London[03]

Greenpeace Protest @ Unilever London

Apparently, the protest was staged simultaneously at various Unilever sites in London and Merseyside with some protesters gaining access to the factory on the Wirral.

After good work from Ogilvy & Mather on the concept in 2004, this kind of communication/brand strategy is always open to subversion in this way. I’m expecting Howard Sheldon from the Halifax ads to have some dark financial past secret exposed at sometime bringing his personal equity and thus Halifax brand integrity down like a house of cards.

I find it ironic that the concept of ‘real beauty’ is being subverted by something that is entirely un-beautiful. Okay, the sorrowful near-human gaze of an Orang-Utan’s face aid in the sympathy somewhat, but ultimately my take away was ‘Dove products are responsible for dying Orang-Utans’.

Yes, my takeaway.

Interestingly, most of the coverage of this protest that I have seen centres on Unilever and not the Dove brand so the Dove ‘campaign for real beauty’ might get away with it unscathed.

April 15, 2008


Filed under: patterns — Tags: , — gavinedwardsuk @ 11:52 am

Whilst out with some of the Guys from work attending a pitch we rocked up to Watford station where we presented with this great example of an anti-pattern. In one word? FAIL


April 11, 2008

Multimap launches new features

Filed under: mapping, multimap, technology, user experience — Tags: , , , , , , , — Warren Hutchinson @ 2:26 pm

By Warren Hutchinson

Hot on the heels of my posting about Multimap being honored at the Webby Awards in the Service category comes some great news that a new feature-set has been implmented.

Those that have watched closely would have been expecting this due to the recent acquisition of Multimap by Microsoft.

But ah-ha, it’s not all MS integration stuff.

First up, Improved mapping functionality with Microsoft’s ‘Birds-Eye View’. While I wasn’t a great fan of Microsoft’s mapping solution, I did quite like the idea of the Birds-Eye view, a 3/4 isometric view from above.

It definitely taps into that ‘thing’ that makes looking at maps quite addictive and for me is a nice step ahead of Google Earth in terms of flying about. GE is slightly limited (unless you use the 3D buildings) at providing a decent non-distorted angled view.

Multimap Birds-Eye View

Also note the Wikipedia view, overlaying information from Wikipedia that has a geospatial reference.

I find this sort of view really useful when it comes to looking at directions to a place that I have never visited. Mostly as a way on envisioning the route before I drive it. Overhead view is useful for orientation and proximity purposes, but it doesn’t really look like the real thing. Only the other day I sat down with my father to ‘fly’ him through some directions on GE.

I’d like to see Bird-Eye View fly-thoughs added to Multimap Directions at some time. I think Map24 has some sort of solution for this. Yes you can switch on Birds-Eye when in View Map mode of the Directions service. But it’s not a prime feature.

Multimap Directions - with Birds-Eye

I should quickly add that Multimap’s Birds-Eye Vie isn’t available for all locations, just “major cities”. Although my town is covered and I live out in the proverbial ‘sticks’.

In this new release they have also improved the directions functionality with better, more coherent step representation for journeys. When I played with it yesterday, the map view wasn’t quite working as the site was obviously rolling out across the servers. But it looks promising indeed.

Multimap Directions

And lastly, exacerbating the blur between location based services and directory services, Multimap now has Business Listings. The Multimap communications said:

Now you can use our maps to find businesses in your area – or your destination. We’ve got details of everyone from accountants to woodworkers in the UK, US, Canada, France and Italy – with other countries coming soon.

For those ardent lovers and web 1.0 stalwarts, the old site has finally gone. but don’t fret. If interactive maps really aren’t your thing or you are on dial-up or have an old system then you’ll be happy with the introduction of ‘Basic Site’ functionality. Essentially a rasterised map offering with some new features, but optimised for more basic delivery.

Multimap - 'Basic Site' View

I like the way Multimap have retained this as important. When we at LBi first engaged with them, Sean (Founder), Eric (CTO) and Jeff (CEO) were all fairly adamant from the get-go that ALL users were important.

Anyway, there you go. Have a play and switch your favourite mapping service over to Multimap.

BTW – I do have integrity and this isn’t a shameless plug for LBi work. I firmly think that this is the better browser based mapping solution out there at the moment.

April 9, 2008

Flickr does video

Filed under: brand, community, flickr, technology, video — Tags: , , , , — Warren Hutchinson @ 11:59 am

So, Flickr now offers video.

Flickr does video

That’s my ‘Photostream’ kiboshed.

They’re offering Pro users storage for up to 90 seconds of video. Not sure if freebies get video or not.

At first I thought this is a bad move, but now I’m not so sure. I’ve read their blog article and decided that I like the idea of sharing ‘long photos’.

I like the 90 second cap.

It tallies nicely with those short mobile videos I capture of my kids and do nothing with. Now, instead of rotting on my phone I can share them with my family.


Initially I thought 90 seconds is short and will hamper adoption, but actually the shortness keeps the idea of video quite pure. It is about ‘long photos’ and not a repository for pirate film and clips. I’d hate to see it used like YouTube which to me is a bit of a chavvy web brand.

Snuck in at the bottom of the blog post is the news that they are doubling the upload image size for Pro users to 20Mb and 10Mb for free users.

I wonder what the Flickr community will make of it? They can be quite a reactive bunch.

Nice. Honored at the Webby awards

Filed under: brand, mapping, Microsoft, multimap, technology, tools, usability, user experience — Tags: , , , , , — Warren Hutchinson @ 11:58 am

Nearly two years ago here at LBi, we started working with Multimap to redesign its public .com web property.

It was time for their loved, but ageing raster-map offering to be dragged inline with, then new and innovative, Google’s ‘slippy’ Maps.

With a raft of new features including drag, zoom, pan, hybrid view,all stuff we take for granted now, we set about defining a sharpened mapping proposition that worked for both Multimap users and advertisers.

It was a brilliant project, great fun, hard work and really quite challenging. The guys at Multimap (which sold to Microsoft in December last year) were all smart cookies and pleasure to work with. Personally I see it as one of the triumphs of the team I work in here at LBi. Not only was it great solution, it was a great learning experience and those two things make for great projects. Certainly satisfactory ones.

Multimap Homepage

Stephen Barber was, and still is, ace on this project. Will Bloor was his usual unremitting creative self, Peter Jupp smashed the design and Mike McIntyre and Gavin Edwards aced some complex interaction and James Norton provided some wonderful interface development. It was also a pleasure to see Lorenzo in action, which doesn’t happen nearly enough for some of us here at LBi.

Well, enough spouting from me. has just been named as an Honoree in the Service category at this years Webby awards.

This is no mean feat as only the best 15% of submissions attain the accolade and this from a pot of nearly 10,000 entries received from all 50 US states and over 60 countries.

Multimap is now owned by Microsoft, so expect to start using it a lot more as it integrates into all their properties. Exciting stuff indeed.

The guys I worked with on this project were:

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