Hoover Institution Debuts New Website and It’s Very Cool

It’s been a year since I’ve blogged which is a bad testament to a good year! It’s been busy with lots of great projects that I have neglected to share and so it’s time to catch-up. The first one is a biggie for the Hoover Institution!

The Hoover Institution hired WebEnertia to re-do their website. As part of their team (I have worked with them for awhile now – great group), I was responsible for the overall web strategy.

It was a thrilling challenge: we needed to incorporate so much content with established brands and ideally give everyone a voice while making the user experience intuitive for whomever might drop in.


I think the result is amazing. 
[This is the main site and here’s the second project: Library and Archives.]

I can only take credit for a small part. The Hoover Institution Team was so flexible and savvy and the WebEnertia team was able to take a bunch of ideas and turn them into a rich, dynamic website.

If you’d like to know more about the project, please let me know. Otherwise, go explore the site.

Regardless of your politics, it’s a thing of beauty!

Did You Purchase a Wii Fit at Best Buy? Maybe You Were Put on Hold…

I was supposed to be at the store today at 10am when the product hit the shelves. I stupidly didn’t pre-order. This has been a busy week and I just didn’t pay any attention to what was going on. So, thanks to a conference call that ran long, I didn’t get to the store on time and didn’t get the Wii Fit. Bummer. But I did get a story.

My hunt started at Circuit City – got there too late. So I ran across the parking lot to Toys R Us – the last product just sold minutes before. Okay, I will try the new Best Buy that just arrived in our one-horse town. Maybe it’s not on people’s radar yet. I am an idiot, of course it was but they offered me something the others did not – customer service. So I made my way to the desk where I was greet by an incredibly nice young person, let’s call her Susan.

Susan did her best to locate a Wii Fit for me while she handled the calls coming in to the customer service desk. She ably put calls on hold and searched for other employees to field the calls. But then everything went wrong. It seems that Susan can surf the net, manage the vast online inventory management system for Best Buy, handle a two-way in her ear, but she can’t figure out how to get a call off hold.

I watched as customer after customer was put on hold only to see two smart women and then a manager struggle to “figure out” the phone system. It was a Cisco phone and I used one a few years ago when I contracted for Cisco so I offered to help. But I was no help at all. “This thing is so old fashioned,” Susan exclaimed as she slammed down the receiver. She had every intention of delivering good service, but it simply wasn’t possible to get the call back.

“We haven’t been trained on the phones yet,” said the manager. Trained. Hmm. These youngsters seemed to have all the other elaborate systems down. Could it be this really was “old” technology? Or maybe it was just too complex. Did someone overlook the user experience?

I want everyone in Santa Cruz that called near the lunch hour today to know the good people at Best Buy really did want to help you, but once your call was put on hold, it was lost; simply gone. As for business phones, we might want to think about making them a bit more intuitive.

As I was leaving the store – without any Wii Fit – I thanked Susan for all her help and for giving me fodder for my blog. And I could hear the phone ringing. Again.