Hot Hot Estonia

Heat wave: water goneHeat wave: beer gone
Fighting the awful sunburn from Saturday I went to a store with an intent to fetch different liquids in wholesale quantities. That’s what water and — God forbid! — beer shelves looked like…
Thought 1: how much planning effort would it really take to increase supply of the very basic goods specific for a season?
Though 2: goods that were out were very brand specific. Does the fact that A. LeCoq was out, but plenty of Saku left tell us what consumers love? Or just who’s logistics work?

British Police in Tallinn

British police in Tallinn
When I read from the papers that 15 policemen specializing on football hooliganism were invited to help Estonian police over the days of the Estonia-England game, I imagined them to be some suits in an office, “consulting” the local officials.
Actually there were the good old black helmets walking in the Old Town Tallinn, stopping by the English supporter groups at open air pubs and chatting with them. Probably they have a bit more experience on how to communicate with a bluecollar bloke from Sheffield after his 8th pint under the belt. Plus the visual effect of merging cultures. Quite a smart trick.

This is not a Screen, check the Screen

Screen diverting to screen
A display in Gatwick Airport, asking readers looking for “Additional flight information” to check “television screens”. From the usability viewpoint, this might raise a few questions:
What is the difference of this display to what they refer to as “tv screens”? Way of transmission of displayed data? TV signal over coaxial? Something digital? Doesn’t TV do both these days? Or is the difference the way of displaying data? LCD versus CRT? Flat screen versus the old big box (as cathode ray tube might not be in everyone’s daily vocabulary)? Don’t they do TV-s with both technologies these days? Oh, wait, Television was the thing with moving full screen pictures, CNN & soap operas? So the flight data is somewhere as video? Uhh…
If you don’t have anything useful to say on a screen or a sign, just turn it off.
Or in this case, maybe show a big arrow facing towards the location of useful screens instead of trying to describe them vaguely.
Airports (even if subway maps are cooler) are a very interesting area for user-friendly design, due to the busy schedules, complicated logistics, mass of very short-term users and — above all — overwhelming amount of information on those. Apparently there are about a million web pages talking about “airport signs usability” alone out there.

Cheers, Lads! This is your Ambassador

Landing in Tallinn late last night our plane from London was greeted literally at the door by Nigel Haywood, Her Majesty’s Ambassador of the United Kingdom of Great Britain to Estonia himself.

He was personally handing out maps of the city as well as brochures on how to stay safe in the Old Town after 67 pints of beer to the England supporters flying in for the Euro 2008 qualifying game between the two countries tonight.

How cool is that?

PS: The Embassy also has some travel guidance online. Just doesn’t feel the same, does it?

Tulekahju Emajõe ääres

Getting closer
Reede öösel juhtus nii, et Emajõe ääres läks üks puumaja põlema. Nagu kuhi kuiva heina, esimesel veerandtunnil puude kohale kõrguvaid leeke vaadates ei lootunudki, et sellest midagi alles jääb.
Aga jäi (vaata veel pilte siit: 1, 2, 3). Ja jälgides päästjate tegevust, kes ka kõik inimesed majast elusana välja tõid on mul ainult üks küsimus. Kelle taga nende vendade palgatõus ikkagi seisab?? Profid, müts maha.