Powerbook in SFO
August 4, 2021

The LookOut

Last weekend, we visited The LookOut - which is a fairly new restaurant at Lookout Farms. We had heard that they have good gluten-free options, so we decided to check it out.

How would you describe your experience? "It's kind of like going to a restaurant and ordering take-out to eat there."

The Look Out- Desktop
The Look Out- Mobile

Five things I Learned

There's plenty of tables. We were there on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, and there were plenty of tables available.

The dining area is temporarily located near the train waiting area. You go up to the gazebo and they will direct you to a table to sit at. Once you arrive at the table you scan a bar code that opens up a menu at toast.com. After you place your order, a waiter will come to your table with your food.

We found the toast website to be tricky to work with. We found that we had to scroll a lot to add items to the cart. If you are stuck - ask someone at the gazebo.

They have gluten-free buns for their sandwiches - including the hot dog! The menu does describe the allergy ingredients so its easy to make the right choices.

The food was excellent! Juliana ordered the cheeseburger - no surprise! She ate most of it. The bun looks to be Udis Classic Hamburger Buns. The hamburger came with a side bag of Cape Cod potato chips.

We'll be Back!

The food at the Lookout was good, and it felt nice to be sitting outside on a mild summer day. We had a very good experience - minus the whole food ordering thing.

The ordering wasn't all that bad, just weird that that you simply scan the bar code - no instructions on ordering or specials.

August 3, 2021

QA Fail: Mass Pike Sign

August QA Blog Content

Throughout the month of August, I'll showcase some real life QA fails. These are signs/things that certainly would have failed QA.

If you have driven down the Massachusetts Turnpike, chances are you might have seen this sign:

Mass Pike Transponder Mobile

Photo Credit: This is a screenshot from Google Maps.

Mass Pike Transponder Desktop

Photo Credit: This is a screenshot from Google Maps.

This sign appear multiple times on the Massachusetts Turnpike. They usually appear right after the electronic tolls area.

Four Reasons This Fails QA

Who is this sign for??? Here are the four reasons that QA would fail this sign:

  1. The sign is way too small to comprehend while driving 55+ mph.
  2. Who would have time to write down the phone number.
  3. Who's going to write down the URL? Let alone remember the URL for later.
  4. Most vehicles on the MassPike don't have passengers - which means you can't take a picture of the sign. In Massachusetts, its illegal to hold the phone while driving.
August 2, 2021

The Morton Downey Jr. Show

This week we are featuring another clip from "The Morton Downey Jr." show. This is another segment from the 1989 Predictions show. This was recorded on December 20, 1988. This is episode 122188.

This segment features "Doctor Fad" (Otherwise known as Ken Hakuta) talking about the latest fads in 1988.

Audio is pretty bad in this clip - not sure what happened. It could be the VHS tape slowly dying or just a bad digital encoding.

August 1, 2021

5 Unique Benefits of Custom Packaging for Your Business

Custom Boxes

Do you want your business to stand out from the crowd? Custom packaging is a great way to do so. Imagine that you are walking down the street and someone hands you an envelope. You open it up, and inside, there's a beautifully designed card with your company logo on it. That person has taken the time to customize something for business, which automatically makes them more memorable in your mind.

Because of this this reason, every business is shifting to use custom packaging wholesale for their products. Now, it has become a compulsory component of marketing and promoting your business to the next level. Custom packaging will help you to get people's attention and leave a lasting impression on them. In this blog post, we'll look at five unique benefits of custom packaging for businesses. Those benefits are:

It Makes Your Company More Memorable

Custom packaging is an easy and cost-effective way to make your company more memorable. You can hand out custom boxes for people to store things they buy from you or create unique packages that will be remembered by all who see them as soon as they come through your door.

It helps to make a good impression of your business on customers. They not only start to use your products, but they also recommend others that serve as direct marketing for your company.

It Looks Great

The second thing about custom packaging is how great it looks. Not only does this kind of branding help get people's attention when walking down the street, but it also helps set up a professional appearance at home. Use customize packaging for your products and gain the customer's attention to your products.

Highlights Your Brand's Forward-Thinking

Not only does custom packaging help you have a professional appearance, but it also helps show that your company has forward-thinking.

It attracts consumers who are shopping for new things to buy or looking to try out something different than their usual brand and can be bought as gifts. This kind of marketing not only boosts sales but promotes your business with a special feel.

Customized packaging will always look better than other kinds because they're designed specifically for one purpose; your business promotion.

The addition of more design elements like colors, fonts, logos, or graphics means that these items always stand out on store shelves, making them grab the attention of customers even before they pick up an item and read its description.

Increases the Reliability of the Packaging

It increases the reliability of the packaging and makes it suitable for the storage and transportation of your products. When you buy products, they are usually packaged in a way that helps them stay safe and secure. Customized packaging for your business means that the package is designed to securely store your product while it's being transported or during long storage periods.

Custom Packaging Is an Inexpensive Marketing Tool

It seems like customizing everything from our clothes and cars to even phones have become the norm, so why not customize your small business marketing strategy with customized packaging? You don't have to spend thousands of dollars on traditional advertising methods when this budget-friendly alternative works just as well for your business.

Since people often judge books by their cover, having eye-catching custom packages could lead customers towards buying more items than usual because they want the set instead of individual products.

Conclusion

Custom packaging is a great way to make your company more memorable, and it looks good on the shelf. Highlighting your brand's forward-thinking with custom packaging can also help increase the reliability of what comes in those packages because you know exactly where every package came from. In addition, this inexpensive marketing tool will get people talking about how original you are, and it will promote your business. Contact a company like Stampa Prints for all of your Custom Packaging needs and work together to create something truly unique that embodies who you are as a business and gives customers an experience they won't forget.

July 31, 2021

3D Bay

3D Bay is a cool resource for unique 3D stock images. These would go great with a PowerPoint presentation.

These graphics can make your presentations stand out. There are currently 41 graphics available with more being added all the time. You can find graphics easily by their search engine or using one of the ten categories.

Website Description

Explore the extensive collection of 3D stock images brought to you by CloudDevs, now available free of charge.

Select from our wide range of image categories to get started on your new project with style & ease using the hundreds of high-quality royalty-free 3D images we have on offer.

3 D Bay
https://clouddevs.com/3dbay/

July 30, 2021

Keyboard Maestro Date Macro

Every now and again I need to figure out a simple date calculation. For example, I am writing up a wiki page and want to reference something next Thursday. I don't want to say next Thursday but I want to say the simple date format.

I encounter this enough times, that I decided to write a simple Keyboard Maestro macro. There are three types of date scripts that I wrote:

  • Simple Date - Display the date x days from now. Added built in for Tomorrow, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 30, 60, 90, 100, 180 days
  • Advanced Date - Put a number in the Clipboard and use that to display the date.
  • Days Until - Put a date in the Clipboard, and then display the number of Years, Months, days until the event. If its in the past, then show the number of days that has past.

Days Simple Date

Simple Date

This set of macros are built-in date calculations. Simply by using the generic hotkey: day* and some number I can display that date. So if I wanted tomorrow, I would type in day1. If I wanted 100 days from now I would type in day100.

This macro makes use of the ICUDateTimePlus functionality that is part of Keyboard Maestro.

Days Days Plus

Advance Date

This single macro makes it easy to put in any number of days. Simply type in a number, copy/paste, and then type in day++. This also makes use of the ICUDateTimePlus function. The return display shows the Month, Day, and Year.

Days Plue Plue Plue

Days Until

This macro is my date count down. If I want to know how many days until an event, I simply type in a date, copy/paste and then type in the trigger: day+++. The return value will show Years, Months, Days, Hours until the event. This also works for events in the past. So I can see how many days past since I graduated.

The PHP secondsToHumanReadable function, used in this example, can be found at stackoverflow.com.

July 29, 2021

Geocaching in Framingham

People love to visit Cushing Memorial Park in Framingham. It's a fun place to walk around and enjoy the great outdoors. For kids, there's a playground. fun places to ride their bikes, and lots of open space to run around or fly a kite.

Did you know there's a treasure in Cushing Memorial Park? No, not buried treasure.

The treasure is place by people participating in Geocaching - the world's larges treasure hunt.

Framingham Cushing Desktop
Framingham Cushing Mobile

What is Geocaching

If you’re new to the concept of geocaching, think of it as a giant treasure hunt. Players stash goodies in publicly accessible outdoor locations, then post the GPS coordinates of these prizes on Geocaching.com. When other players find these hidden gems, they post their victory on the site’s forums and then put the prize back for others to locate in turn.

Geocaching in Framingham

As of today, there are 26 geocaches in Framingham and 16 of those are places in the vicinity of Cushing Memorial Park. That's a lot is a lot considering one of the rules of placing geocache:

Geocache containers and physical stages of different geocaches must be at least 0.1 miles (528 feet or 161 meters) apart.

A physical stage is any object placed by the cache owner, such as a container or a tag.

Five Things We Learned

Some of the things we learned, without giving any clues to the location of the geocaches.

  • The geocaches are spread out through the park. It's fun to watch the kids try to find them based on vague hints and generic map locations.
  • None of the geocaches are buried - as per rule.
  • Some of the geocaches have places to jot down your name in a log. Bring a fine pen to write down your name.
  • A few of the geocaches have small trinkets. You can take one and leave small tchotchke for the next treasure hunter. Tchotchkes can be found at the dollar store.
  • Some of the geocaches are very well designed and really hard to find. Don't be discorage if you don't find it!

Fun Time at Cushing!

It will take about 45-minutes to find the geocache in the park. This is based on the complexity of the treasure hunt and the distance between the locations.

July 28, 2021

Gluten Free Oreos

One of the downsides of being a celiac is not trying some of the popular cookies. Sure there are alternatives - but it's not the same. It's kind of like being at a birthday party. You can only drink Walmart brand soda while everyone else is drinking Coke-Cola. It might be good, but its not the same. (Try the store brand challenge and see for yourself!)

This is how people with celiac feel. They do feel a bit left out. Earlier this year, there was some good news on the snack front.

In January 2021, Nabisco started shipping Gluten Free Oreos. Yes, the same Oreos that everyone loves, is now available Gluten Free.

Oreo 2021 Mobile
Oreo 2021 Desktop

Its a Hit!

My daughter tried it and it's a hit! She absolutely loves them. They are better than any of the gluten-free Oreo "knock-offs." (We stopped buying different brands because they weren't good.)

They were hard to find in January and February but now available in every supermarket that we visit - including Target and Walmart.

We typically buy a couple of packs just so that we have them available. She loved to snack on them.

I have tried the Gluten-Free Oreos and they are exactly like regular Oreos. There's no different taste or texture. I don't know how they did it. But it does taste great.

Five Things I Learned

  • Gluten Free Oreos were announced in November 2020 and came out in January 2021. We were able to get it on January 25.
  • They look exactly the same as regular Oreos, except they do say Gluten-Free on the cookie. (Its hard to see the words)
  • Most stores stock them with regular Oreos. They tend to stand out more because of the white packaging. I am guessing that they don't put them with other Gluten-Free foods because Nabisco comes in the store and stocks them.
  • The Gluten-Free Oreo costs about 20% more than the standard Oreo. I have noticed that they don't go on sale as frequently as regular Oreos. They were on sale early on as a promotion to get the word out.
  • Did you know that the Gluten-Free cookies segment accounted for the highest revenue share of more than 32% in 2020 (Among Baked Gluten-Free goods.) - according to the Gluten-free Baking Mixes Market Report.
July 27, 2021

QA Graphics

Here’s some QA graphics that I found in various QA channels. Check out the QA Image Library for a huge selection of Quality Assurance graphics.

This month I focused more on quality graphics. I didn’t want to throw up images just to have a blog post. In QA, it's about quality not quanity.

  • Testing in Production
  • Quality Testing Logo
  • Wahoo Time for Testing
  • (FireFly Design) - Don't Let the Bugs to Escape.

Testing In Production 2021
What Testing in Production Looks like.

Quality Testing 2021 logo
Quality Testing (Logo?)

Woo Hoo Testing Time
WooHoo Time For Testing

Dont Bugs Escape
Don't Let the Bugs Escape!

July 26, 2021

Student Loans Call and Voice Mail - Part 2

On July 12th, I blogged about the various phone calls for the Student Loan forgiveness program. These are obvious scams - I never applied for student loans. If these were legitimate organizations, they would know this.

Instead these are cold calls looking for people who are desperate enough to fall for their bait. Even the Federal Government has issued a warning about the scam in an article posted on the Federal Student Aid website.

The funny thing is, I get these calls around the same time I would get the Medical Services and the Final Expense Insurance calls.

More Calls

Here is a voice message and a call where I actually talk to a person.

July 25, 2021

Chlorine Tablets

This year there is a shortage of 3-inch chlorine tablets. Places around us only have small containers. They are limiting one container per customer. (I think the prices are a bit higher this year.)

Turns out the shortage is related to the Chlorine Plant that provided a large portion of the supply burned down in August 2020. Supply got worst early this year when the mainstream media started reporting on the shortage and people started stocking up.

We use the Hayward In-Line Chlorinator. We purchased it last year, and it survived being outside in the harsh New England winter. I think this Fall I’ll move it to the basement just to protect it from the elements.

Hayward Chlorinator

Chlorine Tabs

I am able to fill eight tabs in the chlorinator container. I have found that that it lasts for 10-days when the setting is on high. I tested this a couple of times and can verify that it lasts 10-days when you fill the container up.

We have a 24-foot round pool that holds about 14,645 gallons.

The average pool season in Massachusetts is from Memorial Day to Labor Day. In 2021 that’s 98-days. That means that we’ll be using roughly 72 choline tabs.

The pool is looking great this year. The only issue is that the water has been too cold to swim in.

July 24, 2021

SentenceCheckup.com

Having complex sentences can make or break a social media post's effectiveness. That's why sites like SentenceCheckup.com is around. Using AI, SentenceCheckup.com will proofread your sentence structure and help improve your writing styles.

I found the site to be easy to use. Simply visit the site, paste in your text and fix those errors! Now your social media post will make sense.

Website Description

Sentencecheckup is a Free online sentence checker, It can check for run on sentence and fragment check, correct grammatical errors, and improve your writing style, Spell check and punctuation checking is a bonus feature of its AI algorithm.

Sentence Checker
https://sentencecheckup.com/

July 23, 2021

BBEdit 14

This week Bare Bones released an update to BBEdit - bring the application to version 14.

It took 9 years to go from version 10 to version 14. So when BBEdit does a major update - it's a big deal. In this update, the big new feature is Notes.

New: Notes

One of the biggest features in this update is a Notes section.

For years BBEdit users would open up a blank document and just type away. When it came to saving the document, if they remembered, they would use the default name "untitled."

With BBEdit Notes, you can simply write away and don't have to worry about saving - it does it automatically! The name of the file is the first few words on the first line.

You can organize your notes into collections. (otherwise called folders) This makes it easy to view your data.

B B Edit13 Update

Seven Things I Learned about BBEdit Notes

Filename: While the name of the file displayed in the sidebar is the first few words of the first line. It's actually stored as a Globally Unique Identifier (GUID). The notes are not accessible in the Finder, they are in a package file in the finder in the BBEdit settings library. You can always use a simple trick to view the package file content - but why would you do that?

Emoji Filename - You can have Emojis in your filename! This is a creative way to make your notes stand out.

Dropbox Setup: If you are using BBEdit Dropbox sync configuration, you'll share the same Notes database between Macs. This is pretty useful. The problem is that notes created on a different Mac will show up in the Notes section using the GUID instead of the "friendly name." The workaround is to right-click on the note and select "Rename Note…" and assign a name. This name will carry over to the other Mac.

Collections: The Note collections works great on different Macs. You can nest collections. I setup up the notes to have two collections for the two computers that I use. This makes it easier to focus on the notes that may be important to me on a particular computer.

Search by Name: You can search for notes using the "Open File by Name." Only Noted created on the currently used computer will show up in the listing.

Search by Content: Use the new Notes check box in the Muti-file search dialog box to search through all your notes.

Opening Notes: You can open Notes in any BBEdit window. You don't need to use the Window->Notes feature to view a particular note. I find this useful as I have some reference documents and its great to have them available in the same window. The downside is that there's no indicator in the sidebar of what's a note file type and what's a plain file. I identify any filename that doesn't have an extension as a BBEdit note file.

Markdown: When you create a new Note it uses Markdown by default. If you are not familiar with the format, there is a Markdown Cheat Sheet in the Windows -> Palettes -> Markdown Cheat Sheet. This isn't new in 14, but useful to have when starting with Markdown.

Great Shortcuts to remember

Control - Option - Command - N -> Create a New Note (When you use this a few times, the keyboard combination makes sense.)

Shift - Command - F -> Multi-file search (Find Content in your Notes)

Lots of Other Changes

BBEdit 14 has a lot more changes other than Notes. Here are some other notable changes that I am excited about:

  • Remove Blank Lines: One simple menu item to quickly cleanup those blank lines.
  • Emmet Support: Simply install the Node.js and you can finally use Emmet within BBEdit.
  • Markdown Images: When you drag images to a Markdown document, BBEdit will insert the correct image tag format - like it does for HTML.
  • Text Factory: Replace All - Nice to see the history option. This makes it easy to implement a recent search/replace into a Text Factory action.
  • Application Icon - Bare Bones has a new icon for BBEdit, but you can change it back to the old style in the Preferences.
  • Pattern Playground - You can adjust the Search Pattern section. Now you can see more of crazy search pattern.

Go For the Upgrade!

BBEdit 14 is worth the upgrade. Still not sure? Why not try the the 30-day trial to explore how BBEdit can help you manage text easily.

July 22, 2021

Frederic P Stearns

As you drive down Winter Street in Framingham, you’ll see a large sign in front of the waterfall. This is the DCA sign letting people know that this is the Frederick Stearns Reservoir.

Mr. Frederick Stearns did valuable work in connection with securing a water supply from the Sudbury River and later as chief engineer, supervised the construction of a tunnel under Dorchester Bay and reservoir on Moon Island.

Under the leadership of Frederic Stearns, the Chief Engineer of the Metropolitan Water Board, it was decided that the new water source should be gravity-operated and not require filtratio

Frederick Stearns Reservoir

Some Fun Facts I Learned About Frederick Stearns

Born on November 11, 1851 in Calais, Maine and move to the Boston area with his parents when he was 18

Full name is Frederic Pike Stearns.

Married Addie C. Richardson of Framingham in 1872.

From 1865 to 1907 he was the chief engineer of the Massachusetts Water Works.

He was the consulting engineer for the Charles River Commission. (1903 - 1910)

In 1905, he was a member of the Board of Consulting Engineerings of the Panama Canal. He was one of three experts engineers to advise President-Elect Taft on the Canal problems.

He had two sons Herbert R Stearns and Ralph H. Stearns.

Frederic Pike Stearns Monday December 1, 1919 he was 68 years old.

July 21, 2021

Celiac Vaccine Update

Back in January, 2019, I wrote about how the Nexvax2 was in Stage 2 trials. This vaccine would help people with celiac disease to occasionally enjoy foods that may contain gluten.

I thought I would follow up on the update of the testing.

Celiac Vaccine Update

Nexvax2 Trial has been discontinued

Unfortunately testing didn't go well. Six Months into Phase 2, and the trial was stopped.

The results of the trial showed that the vaccine didn't provide any more protection from gluten when compared to the placebo.

The official statement from June 25, 2020:

The results from an interim analysis revealed Nexvax2 did not provide statistically meaningful protection from gluten exposure for celiac disease patients when compared with placebo.

ImmusanT, Inc is a biotechnology company focused on developing a treatment, and a set of diagnostic and monitoring tools to manage patients with Celiac disease.

Next Steps for ImmusanT

ImmusanT has closed its doors shortly after stopping the Nexvax2 trial. Any testing information is likely to be Vatera Healthcare Partners as they were the primary backers to ImmusanT.

While it's disappointing to hear that Nexvax2 didn't make it. There are plenty of other trials still in play.

Zedira Phase 2b Trial

Earlier this month, the New England Journal of Medicine featured a story about an experimental drug called ZED1227 that looks to be promising to those diagnosed with celiac disease. (A Randomized Trial of a Transglutaminase 2 Inhibitor for Celiac Disease)

According to early testing, patients on the drug showed fewer signs of intestinal damage when eating a biscuit with some gluten.

As part of the study, patients have to take a pill every morning and and once in a while they would eat a biscuit that contained a trace of gluten.

Zedira is still moving forward with the phase 2b study in Europe.

July 20, 2021

How to create great CTAs using A/B testing

A vector image that illustrates A/B testing.

If you’ve delved into Landing Page Optimization (LPO), chances are you’ve pondered over your Call to Action (CTA) buttons. Even if you haven’t, you’ve likely given them their due time. CTAs are your literal calls to action, and thus serve as your final conversion step. That’s what all your marketing, social media, and link-building efforts aim to push audiences to do. Where great CTAs can do them justice, underperforming CTAs can severely devalue your efforts. So, how can you fine-tune them for better conversion rates? Simply, by testing their relevant attributes one by one. In other words, you may create great CTAs using A/B testing " and here is how.

What are CTAs?

But before we explore the main subject, let us briefly define those two terms, starting with CTAs.

In brief, CTAs are buttons on landing pages that encourage visitors to take the desired action. Examples may include:

  • Signing up for a newsletter
  • Downloading a free copy of a report
  • Purchasing a product or service

Conversions and conversion rates

In turn, effective CTAS are invaluable to have a greater number of conversions on your landing pages. As CTAs are direct calls to action, they are at the forefront of LPO and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). Put differently, they are the final arbiter of whether a visitor converts or leaves.

That said, there are different types of conversions, and each calls for a different approach to CTAs. Specifically, Google Analytics identifies two distinct conversion types:

  1. Micro conversions. These are conversions that push the visitor further into your sales funnel, such as newsletter signups.
  2. Macro conversions. Instead, these are completed transactions.

Then, it identifies four distinct conversion groups:

  1. Acquisition.
  2. Inquiry.
  3. Engagement.
  4. Revenue.

Among the four, only “revenue” refers to macro conversions. The other three are likely earlier in your sales funnel, so they will require different CTA styles and copy.

What is A/B testing?

Now, to create great CTAs using A/B testing, we’ll also need to define A/B testing equally briefly. A/B testing, as the name implies, is the process of testing two variations of a page against each other. Typically, the process relies on modifying a single page element, and then directing traffic to both the original (A) and the modified version (B).

Understandably, A/B testing can’t succeed on a hunch. Instead, it typically requires such assets as CRM software and heat maps to inform which elements are modified and how.

Finally, A/B testing is one of 3 types of page testing:

  • A/B testing
  • Split testing
  • Multivariate testing

Granted, “A/B testing” and “split testing” see interchangeable use, but many do distinguish the two.

How to create great CTAs using A/B testing

With the above in mind, we may now discuss our main subject. To do so, we’ll need to split it in two; the process itself, and the CTA modifications.

The A/B testing process

First and foremost, the process itself is crucial. Indiscriminately testing CTA elements, or testing many elements at once, will very rarely yield reliable results. Instead, you may take a more calculated, focused approach.

#1 Decide on your elements

Initially, you should decide which specific elements you will test. CTA elements to consider are:

  • Color
  • Font
  • Copy
  • Style
  • Placement
  • Shape
  • Size
  • Timers

With this many factors, you should understandably begin with a data-driven hypothesis. Thus, you may use CRM, heat maps, and any other analytics tools at your disposal to inform your choice.

#2 Create multiple variants

Then, you may test your hypotheses in action. To do so, you will need to create multiple “B” variations and test them individually against your “A”. Luckily, the digital age offers heat maps, so you may consider the following metrics they can provide:

  • How many visitors see your CTAs? Scroll maps will reveal how many visitors scroll to your CTAs.
  • How many visitors identify your CTAs and react to them? Move maps will provide these insights.
  • Do enough visitors click on your CTAs? Click and touch maps will reveal how many clicks and taps your CTAs get.

#3 Monitor your results

Finally, you should take the time to properly analyze your tests’ findings. As you do, ensure you build the framework for more, and more conclusive tests. For this step, consider the following:

  • Ensure you have a decent sample size to draw conclusions from.
  • Let your tests run for long enough to ensure accuracy.
  • Identify which specific elements led to success or failure each time, and use them for further tests.

The CTAs

The process aside, creating great CTAs using A/B testing also hinges on CTAs themselves. While exact modifications should absolutely rely on your own analytics and tests, there are a few set practices to consider. In no particular order, these are the following.

#1 Refine your copy to encourage action

The very purpose of a CTA is to inspire action, so your copy must reflect this. Thus, lead with imperative verbs; “sign up”, “get this”, and “click here” are CTA staples for a reason.

At the same time, visitors must know exactly what they’re getting out of it. To do so, make your proposal clear; frame your CTA with clear information so that visitors know what you’re offering.

#2 Keep it simple

However, clarity comes from simplicity; long CTAs are often visually unappealing. Thus, you should strive for copy simplicity:

  • Keep it between 2 to 5 words
  • Avoid jargon
  • Use adjacent page space for more information

Of course, simplicity is also relative to what your unique audience expects. Average audiences might dislike jargon, for example, but invested, savvy audiences might appreciate it in moderation.

#3 Keep your CTA visible and above the fold

On the subject of placement, CTA visibility is among the most common missteps. Here, consider such factors as the following:

  • Ensure your chosen font is highly readable
  • Use a contrasting CTA color in relation to the page
  • Place your CTA above the fold to ensure visibility
  • Avoid visual clutter around the CTA
  • Limit each page to one CTA to avoid decision fatigue

#4 Add a countdown timer to incite agency

Having ensured simplicity, clarity, and visibility, you may then consider countdown timers to incite urgency. The role of your CTAs is to inspire action, after all, and few things do so as successfully as urgency.

For reference, consider that Sleeknote found that popups with countdown timers outperformed ones without timers by 113%. In principle, the same applies to CTAs " which should explain the common “sign up now”, “hurry!”, and similar copy choices.

#5 Make it stylish" where appropriate

Finally, you may attempt to spice up your CTAs. Most notably, you may employ humor; for example, OptinMonster’s exit-intent popup cries “that’s abandonment!” as you leave. HootSuite’s exclaims, “well, this is awkward”, before continuing that they “could’ve SWORN you were someone” interested in their services.

These are evidently very effective, as their audiences find them charming. However, this kind of humor is in line with their branding, and resonates with their audiences. Yours may both differ, so when trying to create great CTAs using A/B testing, make sure to do your due research.

July 19, 2021

New England Commercials

Here's another great collection of commercials. This is from a couple of my VHS tape collections. The quality of audio on a couple of these commercial clips is pretty bad. I think it was something to do with the digitalization. I'll take a look and see if I can do a better job importing the audio.

New England Commercials

Feature in this video:

  • New England Telephone - "The Art Gallery"
  • New England Telephone - "The Operator"
  • Massachusetts Lottery - "Mega Million Mom"
  • Friendly's - "Free Ice Cream"
  • Lechmere - "This Week's Deals" (December 1988)
July 18, 2021

Digital Money for Seniors

Understanding money in the digital age is critical to managing your finances. There’s no way you should be handling your money like it’s the 1990s.

Recently CompareTheMarket.com put together a data-driven guide called “Digital Money for Seniors.” The guide explores key facts and challenges faced by the elderly in a world increasingly accustomed to digital banking.

Digital Moneyfor Seniors
https://www.comparethemarket.com/credit-cards/content/digital-money-for-seniors

The guide shares important insights such as:

  • How the rapid move towards online banking and digital services risks leaving older people behind.
  • The importance of digital inclusion and age-friendly banking to reliably meet the needs of the elderly.
  • Great examples of industry initiatives that help teach and support seniors to use digital services.
  • Useful tips and advice to offer help to elderly relatives or friends when using smartphones and the internet.

Some interesting facts you’ll find:

  • 42% of over 75s (nearly two million people in England) weren’t using the internet and are still digitally excluded.
  • 49% of people aged 55 and over said they weren’t confident using an app to apply for a credit card or loan.
  • Bank branches and cashpoints (ATMs), relied upon by many seniors, are disappearing at a rapid rate across the UK.
July 17, 2021

Artbreeder

Artbreeder is a website that uses the power of AI imaging to create some very unique images. You can have some control over how the final image looks look like.

There are lots of unique ways to play around with images, and you can certainly spend hours on the site looking at other designs to be inspired by the age-old question... what if..

Website Description

Artbreeder aims to be a new type of creative tool that empowers user's creativity by making it easier to collaborate and explore. Originally Ganbreeder, it started as an experiment in using breeding and collaboration as methods of exploring high complexity spaces. Artbreeder is named after the research of Picbreeder which investigated the role of exploration in the optimization process. It is also inspired by an earlier project of mine Facebook Graffiti which demonstrated the creative capacity of crowds.

Art Breeder
https://www.artbreeder.com/