Usability that saves lives - The Resus:Station

The BBC reports that a new cardiac response trolley design is saving patient lives: A team of designers at the Helen Hamlyn Centre (part of London's Royal College of Art) designed many improvements to the hospital trolleys that are used to carry equipment for emergency responses to heart attacks.

It seems that hospitals typically use trolleys that resemble the cabinets in a car-enthusiast's garage:


(graphic taken from - the company that now produces the new Resus:Station)

The newly designed Resus:Station features many improvements.

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Nokia phones in Japan - Finnished

Various news sources confirm that Nokia will stop selling its phones in Japan -

I can't say that I'm very surprised.

When a consumer buys a phone from a non-Japanese maker, he discovers that ...

(1) He can't use most of the iMode or EZweb sites that most Japanese people are using to communicate, interact, find information etc.

(2) His phone service costs an arm and a leg if he uses the browser to view ordinary "PC-Web" style web sites. (My bill from Softbank was over 11,000 yen last month  -- and it's not even my primary phone. It transpires that I had to pay 2,700 yen for SMS messages that I received during the time I spent in Europe. What were those messages? Mostly "Welcome to XYZ" messages from the local carriers in the countries I visited).

(3) He has to learn an unfamiliar set of commands and ways of navigating to online services

(4) His phone doesn't have the built in features that matter - for example, no mobile wallet. (At least not one that he can use on the trains and in the stores in Japan).

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Customer complaint by vendetta

Roger Browning in The Guardian describes the action he took to exact "sweet revenge" on Apple for treating him badly.

Bad Apple

Complaining about a misleading iPhone advert was sweet revenge for the terrible customer service I had received

What's interesting to me is that Roger seems to be a fan of Apple products, notwithstanding his anger at Apple's customer service:

...I still love my iPhone. But I can't help but wonder if Apple put as much effort into their customer service as they do their marketing, whether this situation might have been avoided in the first place.

I think this is a nightmare for a brand - a bad experience causes a disgruntled loyalist to get vengeful, like a spurned lover who turns stalker. And although I really believe that most companies could do a better job of tackling customer complaints before they escalate and irritate customers, I don't think it's possible to fully resolve every issue.

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Phacebook Pheels Phishy

When you receive an email pupporting to originate from a famous company that many people do business with -- like, say, Bank Of America, AOL, eBay or Facebook -- and the email comprises a short but ominous message and a hyperlink to a Web site ... the sensible thing to do is to immediately delete the message without clicking the link. Right?

After all, the chances are that it may be a Phishing attempt.

And if you run a company that many people do business with  -- like, say, Bank Of America, AOL, eBay or Facebook -- it would be in your interest to educate your customers about Phishing and to help them to recognize suspicious emails. Right?

With that in mind ... what do you think of this communication from Facebook?

"Unfortunately, the settings that control which email notifications get sent to you were lost. We're sorry for the inconvenience.

To reset your email notification settings, go to



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Will Travel For Turkey

For the first time in more than five years, fewer Americans will be traveling this holiday - 41 million, down 600,000 from last Thanksgiving, according to the Automobile Association of America.

According to the AAA, 4.54 million people are expected to fly during the long holiday weekend, which is down 7.2 percent less than the 4.89 million who did the same last year.

The economy is largely attributed to this slowdown, with relatively higher airfares along with fees and surcharges.

While there is a lot of focus on the media, I think another deterrent is simply that it is unpleasant to travel by air with frustrated passengers lending an air of hostility to jam-packed, food-less, possibly-delayed flights.

I shouldn't sound negative. Because I am, after all, prepared to travel for turkey.

Whether you're hitting the road, rails, air or simply walking into your dining room, have a very happy Thanksgiving.


No Beatles on iTunes Anytime Soon....enough already!

Interesting comments from Paul McCartney on Billboard. Places the blame for delays with the Beatles being on iTunes firmly at the feet of Apple Corp and EMI. I know that the Beatles are a really big catch in terms of profile, but is this pre-occupation with a band that stopped making music more than two decades before most teenagers were born, sending out the right message?

The legitimate paid download market has not succeeded in fighting off illegal alternatives. Nor does it show any signs of doing so anytime soon. Hence the shift of focus towards free legal alternatives such as MySpace and Comes With Music (and before anyone tells me not to call CWM "free", even Car Phone Warehouse stated it was "free", and for that matter "unlimited", on a TV ad this week).

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Do Multi-Year Exclusive Phone Handset Deals Make Sense?

When Apple launched iPhone in Europe it bucked traditional wisdom. Rather than striking short term exclusive deals with an operator in each market for 3-6 months, it chose to sign multi-year relationships. Matthew Key, then O2 UK CEO, confirmed this time period at the UK launch.

The press coverage, discussion and hype around iPhone was extensive, even before the iPhone officially launched in Europe. But the initial deals with O2 UK, Orange France, and T-Mobile Germany had only modest success during 2007 and early 2008 in converting that into sales.

While Apple secured an initial pr boost -- but one which Apple could have secured with shorter exclusive periods -- over the medium term Apple is completely dependent on a single operator to deliver a good network, customer service and brand experience that matches Apple's brand promise. If an operator fails, then Apple and iPhone suffers.

Long term exclusive operator deals may make more sense in the US. There, no single handset will work on all mobile networks so there is less to lose with an exclusive deal. The GSM/3GPP iPhone is compatible with either AT&T or T-Mobile but won't work on Sprint, Alltel or Verizon's networks. AT&T has certainly performed well for Apple in pushing iPhone. By contrast, going non-exclusive in Europe leads to vastly greater reach than any single operator could possible match as all operators use the same mobile standard and so all can offer the same handset.

In 2008, when Apple launched the iPhone into a swathe of new countries, Apple changed strategy and supplied multiple operators. Apple will have the data to compare the new batch with the exclusive deals from 2007.

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Don't be distracted by headline-grabbing stats

Over the last week or so, a number of firms have published scary headlines and stats like, "Retail E-Commerce Growth Drops Sharply". We agree that it is a tough market all around and that the 12% growth rate we project for this holiday season is not what we might have projected had the economy not tanked. Today the Census Bureau's estat numbers for 3rd quarter 2008 online sales came out at only a 5% growth over last year. Not great and reflective of the very soft back to school season and all the uncertainly in the financial, housing, international and political markets. But also not the sole number to rely on. And, 3rd quarter is does not project fourth quarter directly and we do expect much stronger growth for the remaining holiday season. Online is still a good deal livelier than what we are hearing from offline sources. So, we still expect to see growth at the 12% rate this holiday season.

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Customer Reference Programs Survey Link

For those of you frustrated by the survey tool at which I pointed my last post, I would like to apologize for wasting your time and missing the opportunity to engage you when you were most interested.

Merv and I are are providing expertise and contributing the Forrester brand name to the Customer Reference Forum for this survey.  We are not  working directly with the survey execution team. The CRF has been terrific to work with, but I did not check a few of the small details on survey access parameters before posting this and now those details have bitten me as links that don't work or make the survey look closed when it is not.  This is also why I haven't replied in Web 2.0-time to your posts pointing out the problem.

I think the area of research will prove very interesting as we bring it out early next year.  For those of you still willing to participate -- thank you so much for your patience! -- you can find the survey link here.

Again, thanks for your patience and support on this.

Cheapest Music Marketing Tie-In Ever!

PR folks at Dr Pepper swear this gimmick has nothing to do with Guns n' Roses, Axl Rose, Irving Azoff, Front Line Management, or Universal Music/Geffen Records.

The 17-years-in-the-making album drops on November 23 -- probably -- as a Best Buy exclusive, and Dr Pepper has 23 flavors. (Not counting prune.) You can hear "Chinese Democracy" early at MySpace.