How Restaurants Upsell Offline

There’s a great article in The Guardian about how restaurant menus are designed to drive us towards certain parts of the page and towards certain items on the menu. I’m not sure why the UK newspaper chose to use the menu for a restaurant in New York, but the commentary is interesting and just as relevant for online design. Here’s the commentary regarding the 2 options for the seafood platter:

Menu consultants use this prime space for high-profit items, and price “anchors”, in this case the Le Balthazar seafood plate, for $115 (£70). By putting high-profit items next to the extremely expensive anchor, they seem cheap by comparison. So, the triple-figure price here is probably to induce customers to go for the $70 (£43) Le Grand plate to the left of it, or the more modest seafood orders below it.

This could easily be applied to cross-selling/up-selling products on any ecommerce website.

Index Your Pages So You Can Hide Them

I never got this before but according to this great article over at Yoast about how to properly block pages from the bots, the best way to make sure your pages are hidden is to have them indexed first:

So, if you want to effectively hide pages from the search engines, and this might seem contradictory, you need them to index those pages. Why? Because when they index those pages, you can tell them not to List them.

The Worst Groupon Ever

Was on the Groupon site and noticed in the marketing area for businesses they have previous Groupon’s listed from best performing to worst performing Groupon ever. Looks like no one is down with Authentic Southeast Asian Cuisine at Bali Fusion Cafe – 90 Groupons. Ouch.

Speed Up Analytics

async google analytics for faster load times

Here’s another way to shave some milliseconds off of the load times of your pages. Not sure exactly what setting the async attribute to true does but according to David Walsh it will help speed up the javascript used when loading Google Analytics to your pages. The other change with this code is that it gets put at the top of the BODY rather than at the bottom of your code.

(thanks david walsh)

Dead-simple Favicon Creator


Came across this site today called favikon.  Just upload your image and if the dimensions aren’t quite right use the simple cropping tool and your done.

(thanks web resource depot)

The Typography of Mad Men

mad men fonts

Over at Mark Simonson there’s a great post about the typography in Mad Men – from the office to the house to the fake grocery store.  At the end of the article he takes note of how old and decrepit many of the authentic vintage props look.  I hadn’t thought about that before.  Here’s some commentary on the Sterling Cooper sign seen above:

Then there is the Gill Sans (c. 1930) problem. Gill is used quite a lot in the series, mainly for Sterling Cooper Advertising’s logo and signage. Technically, this is not anachronistic. And the way the type is used—metal dimensional letters, generously spaced—looks right. The problem is that Gill was a British typeface not widely available or popular in the U.S. until the 1970s. It’s a decade ahead of its time in American type fashions.

This makes great reading for any font dork or fan of Mad Men, for extra credit there’s a similar post on the use of Arial in the closing credits at the end.

How Is This Good UI? Apple Launchpad

What is going on over at Apple? I guess I’m happy my apps will be on my iMac and I can play TrainYard all pixelated on my 27″ screen. But I look at this image and it looks like Steve just blew chunks all over my screen. I count 43 icons to rummage through on this screen. This is far from elegant. The dock works great but I don’t want the dock and icons on my iPhone or on my computer. Aren’t apps and programs eventually going to be the same thing anyway? Is that what’s coming in OS XI?

Amazing Marketing by Red Bull

I read about Joe Kittinger a few years ago. Red Bull’s sponsorship of Felix Baumgartner to break Joe’s 50 year-old record and free fall from 23 miles above the earth with the hopes of breaking the speed of sound is spectacularly ambitious. This should be great PR for them.


Anchor Links in Search Results

anchor text
The other day I was looking for “how to find pages internally linking to a page” and I noticed something pretty interesting in the results I got. Google noticed that the first results had an anchor link to a section on the page called “Internal Linking” and asked me if I wanted to jump to this part of the page. The SEO implication here is that by adding anchor links to your pages, Google can pick them up and you’ll get an extra relevant link in the SERP’s enticing potential visitors to click through to your site. It’s not clear to me whether you can just add the code into the page or if it needs to actually be linked to like a proper anchor link. Either way, it looks like it’s worth experimenting with.

Mention on MSN Careers

I was recently quoted on MSN Careers for a piece they were doing on how to “seal the deal” when looking for work. Here’s the smart things I had to say:

One of the big things for me is [following] up. If I’m on the fence about a candidate but they take the time to e-mail me and thank me for having them come in, it shows me that they are motivated, tactful and professional. On the other side of the coin, if I interview someone and they are using lots of banal business speak and don’t give me any impression of what their personality is like, I will usually pass. I hate when I ask a candidate what their favorite thing to work on is and they say ‘everything’ — it leaves me with the impression that they either have no personality or won’t speak their mind.