Music Consumption

UX For The Masses:

Because I now had Spotify, and access to pretty much every song ever released (apparent from a few notable exceptions, like Taylor Swift and the Beatles) I was paralysed with indecision every time I came to listen to music.


I found that not only was deciding what to listen to becoming a painful process, but because I had an almost endless Universe of music out there, I was forever swapping to something else. Hmmm… this song doesn’t really grab me, what else can I find?

I can relate. Also noticed this phenomenon when I got my first iPod. There is a special serendipity that goes with listening to the radio. Or even listening to a CD, the cost of switching to a new artist is much higher which makes you give the music more time.

The trend is obviously going in this direction and as a result people’s attention spans for music is growing smaller. With the exception of Pandora, music consumption is confined to the track-level, single MP3 type format.

But whenever I spot a trend I wonder about possible opposition trends that arrive from the dominate trend. Will people turn back in favor of the album format? Will audio quality become important (how many people listen to music on shitty phone or laptop speakers; I do a lot of the time)?

There is something appealing about not being in control of what the next song you’ll listen to will be. The success of Pandora proves it. What can this tell us about where music consumption will go?

Owning an iPhone Gets you Laid

Extremely interesting talk about Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.

This quote at the end of the talk and slides showing iOS and Android user in NYC and LA really jumped out at me.

The ultimate self-expressive brand is now an iPhone. For those of you carrying an iPhone it means you are wealthier and better educated and likely to have more options in terms of who you mate with.

2015-02-23_1011 2015-02-23_1013 2015-02-23_1013_001 2015-02-23_1015

Little known facts about U.S presidents after Lincoln and Before Roosevelt

My favorite website just published a post on presidents Johnson through McKinley, the worst run of presidents in American history.

Surprisingly entertaining and informative for someone like me that is already a big history buff.

Some of my favorite passages:


Johnson vetoed most of the bills that the Republican Congress tried to pass, including the Civil Rights Bill, arguing that it gave “a perfect equality of the white and black races in every State of the Union.” He wrote, in a letter to a governor, “this is a country for white men, and by God, as long as I am President, it shall be a government for white men.” Lincoln would have been proud.


Given that Grant was the #1 Civil War hero and a two-term president who was ahead of his time in his humane approach to the disenfranchised—how is it that Grant doesn’t end up with a huge monument in Washington, his face on Mount Rushmore and a common bill or coin, and with a thousand important things named after him? By being pretty bad at being the president.

His name isn’t Ulysses S. Grant. It’s Hiram Ulysses Grant. But when he was first nominated to attend West Point, the guy who nominated him messed up and put his name in as Ulysses Simpson Grant. When Grant protested, he was told it was too much of a hassle to go back and change it now, so he just had to go live the rest of his life as Ulysses S. Grant.


It blew my mind. Rutherford B. Hayes is just a dude. He’s just some guy who looks like Drew Brees.


Do you know how hard it is to be an assassinated US president and still be completely unfamous? Ask 10 Americans who the four assassinated US presidents are, and fewer than half of them will be able to mention Garfield. This must be horribly annoying for Garfield—being assassinated sucks, but at least the one huge perk is that you’re supposed to then go down as a legend in American history.

Reading about Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley’s assassinations, it’s clear that killing the president back then was one of the easier things you could do in life.


Then Garfield was shot. And suddenly, this recently-fired member of a marginalized party faction, a man with very little political experience, who was chosen mostly for symbolic reasons, and who disagreed with the rest of the administration about how things should be done, became the president.


While working at the law firm, Cleveland taught himself law, eventually started his own practice, and was later appointed assistant district attorney of Erie County. This was during the war, and instead of fighting, he paid a Polish immigrant $150 to serve in his place so he could focus on his job and not get shot in the face.

Cleveland ended up winning, forever forcing Americans to deal with saying things like, “Obama is the 44th presidency, but only the 43rd president.”

His real name is Stephen Grover Cleveland, but he always went by Grover, which is likely related to the fact that Stephen Cleveland sounds ridiculous. Odd move by his parents.


Historians aren’t especially impressed with Harrison’s presidency, aggregate ranking him at 11th worst, but they do give him credit for “pointing the way” to the modern and more successful McKinley presidency and for inspiring Theodore Roosevelt’s active foreign policy. In other words, he had good ideas—he just wasn’t a good enough president to pull them off.

If you were an American man born between 1820 and 1835, all you had to do was become a lawyer, fight in the war and become a general, and then grow a beard and you automatically became president.

Harrison was 5’6″, the shortest of all presidents except our pixie president, the 5’4″ Madison. He was also the last bearded president.


So suddenly McKinley’s in this war—but the good news for him is that the American Navy was rad and handled Spain pretty easily. As the war went on, McKinley started getting excited about taking other Spanish territory too, like the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and various Pacific Islands like Guam. Then Spain, who knew it had lost, was like, “Okay okayyyyy you can have Cuba, done k bye” and tried to back out of the room, but McKinley was like “Ohhh no ya don’t. Sorry we’re gonna do the victor-spoils thing here and force you to sell all your other shit to us too, sorry you lost” and Spain just got sad and said okay. They signed the Treaty of Paris, handing over Cuba, the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam for $20 million ($571 million in today’s money).

Whitney Hess’ UX Design Principles

Super useful (and short) talk by Whitney Hess on UX design principles.

Make sure to watch the talk, but here are the 10 she lists.

1. Stay out of people’s way

2. Create a hierarchy that matches people’s needs

This is a plate that can go on top of a thermostat to allow people that can’t see well to see the most important information.


3. Limit distractions

4. Provide strong information scent

5. Provide signposts and cues

6. Provide context

7. Use constraints appropriately

8. Make actions reversible

9. Provide feedback

10. Make a good first impression

Here’s an example of making a poor first impression…


4 UX Questions I Had While Reading a Blog Post

1._openingI clicked a link to an article called “Top 25 Best Jobs in American for 2015” article from Facebook. When I got to the page I instantly had questions.

1. Why is the job title text so small?

Understanding the 25 best jobs is why someone clicked on the link to this article. It should be the highlight of the slideshow. Currently it’s just lost.

2. What purpose does this text serve?

Currently it only clutters and distracts. Plus it’s redundant. There is a count of the 25 jobs next to the job title and readers don’t need a reminder of the title of the blog.

3. Why didn’t anyone proofread?

The article is titled “25 Best Jobs in America for 2015″

4. Why aren’t there job descriptions?

Sure it’s interesting to know that solutions architect is the 11th best job. But what does a solution architect do?

Making a few tweaks to the slideshow could go a long way to improving this post’s user experience.

7 Things I’m Excited About Right Now

Seeing Reignwolf on New Year’s Eve

Reignwolf at the Showbox

Reignwolf at the Showbox

Drums and guitar at the same time, sure why not #reignwolf

A video posted by Cameron Plommer (@camplommer) on

Seeing The Roots at The Showbox


The Roots at The Showbox

Greatest show ever #TheRoots #Showbox A video posted by Cameron Plommer (@camplommer) on

Making my own music

Playing Sim City on my iPhone

Sim City Build It
Sim City Build It

Watching The Wire (for the second time)

The game is rigged #TheWire #HBO   A video posted by Cameron Plommer (@camplommer) on

“You come at the king, you best not miss” A video posted by Cameron Plommer (@camplommer) on


Reading about how the Brooklyn Bridge was built


Experimenting in the kitchen

Avocado and banana chocolate mousse A photo posted by Cameron Plommer (@camplommer) on

  Banana, egg and almond butter pancakes #food   A photo posted by Cameron Plommer (@camplommer) on

#juice A photo posted by Cameron Plommer (@camplommer) on

What are you excited about these days?

10 Things I Like and Don’t Like About User Experience

Munchery is a relatively new service that delivers ready-to-eat meals to your door.

Here are six things I don’t like and four things I like about their desktop website user experience (UX)



What I Don’t Like

1. You have to scroll the entire page to find what you want, whether it’s an entree, side, dessert, for kids, or drink. They could add a dropdown menu at the top of the page.


Header navigation

2. It’s really difficult to figure out how to remove or modify an item in your shopping cart



When you are in your cart there is nothing obvious about changing your order in any way. You have to click on the number which takes you this the pop-up window:


Update pop-up

My guess is that they don’t want easy for people to remove items. But really it’s just confusing and annoying and only creates ill will toward the brand.

Why not just do what does and at a Delete button?

Take a cue from

Take a cue from

3. The next action to take after putting an item in your bag is not obvious. There could be a prompt telling you to check out or could give suggestions on other items to compliment your selection.


Add an item

4. Bulleted instructions would be easier to read.


Preparation instructions

5. User’s should be alerted that an item is not available in their zip code before they add it to their bag. Or it shouldn’t be shown at all.



6. The stars or number is not clickable or linked to a page showing reviews for an item.


Reviews not clickable

 What I Like

1. The entire site is very visual. This makes it easy to decide which items you’d want to eat. Text on the site is very small in contrast. This is seem to be like a conscious design choice.



2. Munchery makes it clear what they offer, which is crucial for a new service such as this.


Step-by-step instructions

3. Header navigation is simple and without fluff. The two most important pages — Daily Menu and How It Works — are prominently displayed. The More tab contains page links that are not needed to most users.


Nice nav

4. Products are highly detailed, including nutrition/calorie information, how to prepare and ingredient lists (very important for people with allergies). Delivery healthy, high quality, read-to-eat meals is going to attract customers that will want this kind of information.


Product details

The Walking Dead Continues to Look Like The Wire

Yet another actor from HBO’s show The Wire has joined the cast of The Walking Dead. This time Sergeant Ellis Carter is playing a wimpy Minister, who carries no weapons but has somehow survived the Zombie Apocalypse thus far. He joins D’Angelo Barksdale / Bob Stookey and Cutty / Tyreese Williams.




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