Musings from Mike Atkinson on Internet strategy, usability, and more...

Convenience is king

I was at a wedding yesterday and talked to an old friend (meaning I’ve know him for a while…not that he’s old – he’s in his early 50’s, and I’ve come to believe that that is no longer old).

We were talking about how the Internet is changing our lives. He told me that one evening he, his wife, and his son (in his early 20’s) decided to go see a movie. He went to the newspaper, his wife went to the phone, and his son went to the web. Guess who won? The phone.

Point: It seems more prevalent to consider the web as a quicker alternative; however, it isn’t always the fastest choice. (In fact, I remember Yahoo! magazine (is that still around?) used to have a regular feature where they’d time a task done online and off, and, if my memory serves me correctly, it was usually a trade-off between the two, issue to issue.)

It also points to the Leonard Sweet metaphor of folks in my generation (boomers) as immigrants (to the online world) and subsequent generations as natives. My younger kids have never looked in a newspaper for a movie time. It’s always an online task. They wouldn’t even think of calling the theater.

Counterpoint: A good friend my age had presents to buy for four weddings this weekend. She went online to each of their registries, purchased a gift that was left on each of their lists, paid the shipping to have it sent to them, and whammo! she’s done with her shopping, without ever leaving her house!

Man, I love the Internet.


  1. I used to love that feature in Yahoo! Magazine. It was great for designers and developers if you knew how to mine it for interesting usability tidbits.
    Phillip Harrington    Monday, July 11, 2005    #
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