Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Playmobil TSA Checkpoint User Reviews

Not unlike the Three Wolf Moon T-shirt that made its way on to Amazon and provided hours of enjoyment reading the user reviews and looking at doctored photos of Kim Jong Il sporting the fashionable shirt--today I stumbled upon the Playmobil Security Check Point.

Classic reviews contain one-liners like, "This toy would be a lot more realistic with about 350 people standing in line for an average of an hour." And, "I bet al-Qaeda is training the next generation with this very product. I am saddened to learn that Playmobile hates America."

I think it's interesting that even the lowly user review has become a source of comedy writing.

Of course, it's hard to beat the Best of Craigslist.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

New site and identity work...

If you saw the post below, you would have seen some new business cards I'm using to promote my consulting work in 2011. The cards came in this week and they good, but not as good as I hoped. Don't get me wrong, they will do the job for $20 and they are much better than I could print myself. I know business cards are a dying breed anyway, but I still find myself using as a stop gap until that person makes it into my contact list.

So, I went with a clean two-tone design that's a little easier on the eyes than the "green screen" look that this blog shares with my text based hub page at stopwilson.com. This however, left me in a quandary as my business cards look nothing like the site the cards tell you to visit.

stopwilson.com is a great site--in fact I want to enter it into some award shows (like the Webbies ) this year, so I do want people to experience a bit of that site before they get my sales pitch. I needed a transition between the two designs to make things work.

Luckily, I own waaaay too many URLs, so I spun up a quick site at www.michaelewilson.com (note the middle "e" for my middle name--Eugene) to have a similar look as my cards do.

Insert a stock bio and drop in some icons for my other presences on the web, and now I have instant content.  This will certainly be a work in progress, as I will want to include information about my consulting practice, but for now a on-line biography is just fine.

Now I needed a way to link people who visit stopwilson.com to this page. It has a good amount of traffic, almost 250,000 page views in 2011, and it still gets tweeted about every few days.

I decided to carry over the "voice bubble" look into the lower right hand corner of the site. This area has pretty much nothing going and sits polar opposite of the top navigation. All I needed was a quick mock-up of a an alert bubble over a rounded button to the site.

The code to make that bubble stay in place (with resizing) and allow you to click to launch the site was not easy. However, a few hours of playing around with it seemed to get it to work across all major browsers, including the iPad (which doesn't really run the site because of keyboard input, but now you can click on the menu items.)

Now, if I can only get the pop up bubble to fade away after a few seconds my evil plan will be complete.