Eater looks at how big food delivery services operate against local restaurants’ wishes. Apparently, services like Doordash and Postmates have operated without some restaurant’s permission for years. Now it seems to have gotten worse.

To me, the most egregious practice is Grubhub’s registration of over 23,000 web domains that are similar to local restaurant names. This is an attempt to insert themselves between the restaurant and their customers without the of awareness of either party. Restaurants that don’t want to offer delivery, or control it themselves should be allowed to do so. They shouldn’t have their online presence or phone number hijacked by another company.

While I’m upset to hear of such shitty business practices, I can’t say I’m shocked. Cities don’t need, nor can they sustain 5 or more delivery services. While each one is angling for market share, apparently ethics take a back seat.

In response, I’ve deleted my Seamless app; deleting my account is another story. There is no way to delete accounts on Seamless’ web site, which is another shit business practice. I’ve emailed their customer care people, we’ll see what they come back with. Update 2020-02-09: Seamless customer care deleted my account within a couple days of my request.

I don’t expect my one household boycott to make a dent, but I don’t want to support this sort of behavior. Plus, I look forward to speaking with the woman at the pizzeria next time we get a pie.

via Slashdot

There are two UX trends that have been bothering me lately. One is the overuse of modal subscription requests. The other, videos that autoplay–with sound. For a time, there was tacit agreement that this poor practice was reserved for only the crappiest of sites. Now, it is common practice on sites considered far from crap. For example, the New York Times does this on some articles.

This is annoying enough people for browser developers to take notice. Firefox announced that it will add functionality to show which tabs are making noise and allow one to mute them. Chrome has shown noisy tabs for a while, and there is an experimental feature that allows one to quickly mute those tabs. I hope other browser developer will follow Chrome and Firefox’s lead (I’m looking at you, Apple).

How to mute tabs in Chrome

  1. Copy and paste chrome://flags/#enable-tab-audio-muting into Chrome’s address bar.
  2. Click Enable to activate the feature
  3. Restart the browser.

A small icon will indicate which tab is playing audio, clicking on that icon will mute only that tab.

Chrome Mute Tab

Thanks to Gizmodo for the instructions on how to enable this!

Has this ever happened to you? You’re studying the menu on restaurant’s site, and just as you are reading the description for the Moroccan lentil salad, you are shown an annoying lightbox. Did you just win a free salad? No, someone wants to “connect”:

Ellary's Greens Lightbox

Sorry, Ellary’s Greens, I’m going to use your site as an example, even though this is happening on far too many sites right now. I assume that the waitstaff at Ellary’s doesn’t make a habit of grabbing customer’s menus while they are reading them only to ask if they’d like to receive emails about news, recipes and special events. Why should website visitors be treated any differently? This isn’t just a bad user experience, it’s user hostile.

At least the Ellary’s site gave me a few seconds before throwing a lightbox in my face. Many sites obscure their content immediately with a lightbox asking for something, usually an email address. Make magazine immediately comes to mind, but there are too many offending sites to list.

So, what is a designer charged with bolstering the email subscription list to do? Find another place to put your email subscription, don’t put it in a lightbox. Sure the ham-fisted lightbox may get more subscriptions, but how many of those are bogus emails like “micky@mouse.com” and “noway@dude.net”. Remember, those additional subscriptions come at the cost of your users, which you will have interrupted and annoyed.

If my argument isn’t convincing enough, read Please stop french-kissing your site visitors.

Turbo Tax Deceptive Email Subject
I received an email at the beginning of April with the subject “Your Tax Refund Information is Enclosed”. It certainly caught my attention, but then I realized it was from Turbotax, which I don’t use. Before writing it off as a lame phishing attempt, I opened it just to see just how lame of an attempt it was.

Turbo Tax Marketing Email

I wasn’t entirely surprised to see that it was a marketing email from the folks at Intuit. Obviously, someone had read up on crafting their email subject lines for maximum open rates. It probably eked out more than a few sales of Turbotax, but it just seems so spammy, especially after receiving a few more of these emails before April 15th.

I used to think of Intuit as an upstanding outfit, but this and Intuit’s campaign against simplified tax returns (via ma.tt) will make me think twice before using one of their products at home or at work.