Hope Designing meets UX Gone Bad

Earlier today while speaking with a 9 year old I was introduced to the term “hope chess.” Apparently this notion represents a style where players engage in gameplay with no consideration for their opponents’ replies.  Essentially, the basic analytical principles of the game to ensure a piece is safe are ignored.

Makes no sense right?

Off course it doesn’t. This approach is usually that of novices and amateurs with little or no experience with the game. And while forgivable in case of a 9 year old learning the ins and outs of chess, this lazy attitude toward the game would be inexcusable for grandmasters like Kasparov or Bobby Fischer. Reasonably so, I expect big players to execute the fundamentals at a higher level. It’s simply inexcusable for major players online to mess up the basics and my user experience in the process.


The mobile development team of the NBA (btw- one of my favorite media properties) decided to forge some half hack with their user interface in hopes of increasing social media shares by conveniently placing the f-share button right under the button to close video highlights.

NBA Social Share

  •  Great user experience more important than accidental shares.
  • Accidental share is unlikely given additional confirmation prompt step.


American Express

Apparently, the good people at American Express believe all their users access their accounts via mobile and now force users to scroll horizontally on desktops.

AMEX Horizontal Desktop Scrool

What’s fascinating me about these minor oversights are the resources, processes and big teams that went into making the decisions. Then again maybe the “HIPPO” just had their way.

Online Mafioso Falls Short

A little late to the party, I scoured the net trying to get the last few Joey Bada$$ mixtapes. Three things stood out after this brief sidetracked adventure.

1- After two full successful years in the underground game this kid still doesn’t have an efficient, centralized self controlled online presence for content distribution. His Facebook and Twitter are filled with too much noise. Next best option were third party online mafiosos to get albums.

2- Online mafioso’s monetization tactics work when few other options are available. Badass Captcha 2

3- Broken, ugly, archaic user experience no longer cut it. Above options were apparently only good enough for throttled download speeds.

1% complete after 30 seconds, I cancelled. Problem solved minutes later on via torrent.


**Update**: Distribution channel is “kind of” there (theproera.com) but discovery blueprint is lacking. 

Google Bitch Gets Smaked

Over the past 10 days I’ve been following news snippets of the latest tech company to suffer the wrath of Google.

Rap Genius. Heard of’em?

I love’em. I check’em often, when trying to get a few layers deeper into my “new favorite song” of the moment. It’s a lyric site that takes it a step further and allows users to annotate songs with definitions, notes, and back-end stories in order to properly contextualize the song and artist’s state of mind. These guys have a great product and concept perfectly positioned to scale into other literary works- imagine being able to reference a source like this writing that paper on E. A. Poe. For now though, to get lyrics users are conditioned to simply Google the title- hey fuck it; it works.

An SEO Business

Relative newcomers on the scene (2009), working on building a brand and name recognition, RapGenuis’ bread and butter traffic comes from search engines- aka Google. This statement was never more true than on December 25 2013 when they essentially got wiped out from Google search results. Turns out that, among other minor transgressions, for a short while they engaged in a link exchange deal with bloggers where RapGenius (RG) would in turn promote them on RG social media channels. Turns out these practices undermine the integrity of a search engine and are a big no-no in Google land.

Damage Control

Props where props is due though. RapGenuis team buckled down immediately and hashed through a plan, which included eliminating all unsaint links, that got them back in Google’s good grace within 7-days. Excellent breakdown and details available here on RapGenuis Blog.

Google = Internet

If I had to explain to someone who’d woken up from a 20 year coma what the internet was, I’d hand them a laptop open a Google window and tell’em “Type anything that comes to mind in that little box there. That’s the internet.”
Granted- I exaggerate – it’s much more but right now, today,Google is The Gatekeeper.

It never get old to hear the complaints and uproar when Google makes an algorithm change (nowadays Facebook is playing that same game too). Although easier said than done in an ever more centralized space  Fred Wilson said it best.

– “Don’t be a Google Bitch, don’t be a Facebook Bitch, and Don’t be a Twitter Bitch. Be your own Bitch.”