Friday, December 13, 2013

How to Display the Temperature Properly

Naver has one of the best graphical temperature visualizations. Simple, clean, with the right amount of information. You can probably figure it out even if you can't read Korean or don't use Celsius.

Web sites in Korea are usually usability disasters, but every so often I come across a true UX gem. Take Naver's visualization of temperature over time, for example. I've seen many other temperature graphs, but Naver adds one tiny feature that makes theirs immensely more usable: the temperature from yesterday and the day before. That extra little bit of historical information makes the current temperature and forecast temperature much easier to read.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Open Letter to Wells Fargo: Farewell~

Dear Wells Fargo,

The fragment of my Wells Fargo debit card taped to this letter attests to the fact I was your customer for 24 years. Today I closed my Wells Fargo accounts. Let me explain why you are losing customers like me. Who knows how many hundreds or thousands of other dissatisfied Wells Fargo customers simply switch away from your bank without even explaining. Like my brother did.

I closed my accounts due to the atrocious Wells Fargo banking experience. For example: one day, with neither warning nor explanation, my checking account just vanished from the Wells Fargo site. If that wasn't frustrating (and scary) enough, what should have been a simple fix with a single phone call was drawn into an agonizing month of repeatedly contacting various incompetent representatives. From my experience, it seemed like the representatives were paid by the number of cases they handled per hour. Their responses looked copy-pasted from generic boilerplate templates and often, in their rush, they didn't even answer the actual question I had asked. If you're going to force me to communicate with multiple representatives, perhaps you could save some time (and increase their efficiency!) by sharing information between representatives so I don't have to re-explain my situation over and over.

The problem of my vanishing checking account may be uncommon, but there were plenty of other regular, daily aggravations. One time, I got bit by overdraft fees. I think you called it "overdraft protection," but most people will agree it's just a form of high-interest usury. I didn't like all the hoops I had to jump through to avoid monthly maintenance fees. Furthermore, every time I logged in to the Wells Fargo site, I was forced to click through an advertisement screen peddling your value-added services I had no interest in. Equally annoying were the verbal upsells each time I contacted you by phone. Every single time. Especially after redundantly repeating my account verification information right after punching it into your automated phone tree.

In the short-term, these tactics may add to your bottom line. But degrading the banking experience and hemorrhaging customers is not a good long-term strategy.

I have switched my banking services to I suggest you study to see how to create a blissful banking experience. Every time I contact's superb customer service, I get a quick, direct answer from a representative who knows their facts well. No copy-pasted boiler-plate responses. does not charge deceptive fees for overdraft protection or account maintenance. And both the web site and mobile app are a pleasure to use. I can log in and immediately accomplish my tasks.

There are many more customers deciding to leave Wells Fargo due to poor service:

niallsmart []:

I currently bank with Wells Fargo, and am gradually making the switch over to Simple. Couple reasons why:

– like most banks, WF have a ludicrously outdated web interface that makes doing the simplest thing inordinately painful.

– like most banks, WF suck at providing a complete historical transaction history and search. Case in point – a couple weeks ago I wanted to query a transaction on an older account, after checking online and being transferred between at least four different customer service agents in different divisions, I was none the wiser. The best they could do was offer to send me printed statements, at a $100 cost.

- like most banks, WF make obscene profits while engaging in shady practices - e.g., trying to upsell me every single time I call them, mailing me an offer for a "free" credit score service (that, if you read the small print, is actually a subscription) and not least discriminatory lending practices (c.f., recent settlement with Justice Dept)

Bottom line, they don't deserve my business.

sarah2079 []:

Once I called Wells Fargo to ask about a fee on my account that didn't make sense, and when I looked back later I noticed they had added a charge of $2 for the privilege of talking to them on the phone about the original suspicious fee. They are not trustworthy at all.

My parents still use Wells Fargo. My other brother is on the fence about continuing to use Wells Fargo. I suggest you start listening to feedback like this before they jump the Wells Fargo ship, too!


John-Kim Murphy

This open letter to Wells Fargo has been published at:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Add Dojo Toolkit to any website with this bookmarklet

To commemorate the release of Dojo Toolkit 1.8.0, I'm sharing my bookmarklet to inject Dojo into any web site from the browser. My Dojo-fy bookmarklet is based on this jQuerify bookmarklet. Besides the obvious change, I've made a few improvements:
  • Works over both HTTPS and HTTP
  • The status message is removed on mouse over
  • Some aesthetic changes
To use the bookmarklet, drag the following link to your bookmark/favorites list:

» Dojo-fy «

Full source code after the jump:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

My Personal Branding Part II: Leftium

"The Element of Creativity!"
Inspired by Adobe's CS3 icons, I designed my logo to resemble a cell from the periodic table of elements. The Leftium logo features an over-sized "Le" that pops out and forms a leftward arrow.

lef·ti·um n. Symbol Le
  1. The element of creativity!
  2. John-Kim Murphy's online identity/username.

Yes, in a moment of sheer brilliance I combined the word "left" with "-ium", a suffix commonly used to form the names of chemical elements (think "Titanium", "Einsteinium", or "Adamantium".) The result is a personal online ID that I am very proud of because "Leftium" is:
  • Short—only seven letters long. Yet the domain was still available (obviously!)
  • Relatively easy to convey over the phone. Most people know how to spell "left" and can guess the rest from the sound. Much easier to explain than "wonsungi", anyways!
  • Unique. Before I started using "Leftium", there were only about 300 Google search results for "Leftium". Now there are about 62,600 results, and they are all related to me.
  • Memorable and has a significant personal connection to me (explained below after the "jump")

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Personal Branding Part I: Wonsungi

A few of the monkeys I started drawing and collecting to go with my username.
I initiated my quest for a personal online ID over sixteen years ago. While teaching myself computer programming, I discovered the demoscene. Mesmerizing pieces of audio-visual digital art, demos were often signed by their authors with "handles", or pseudonyms. As an aspiring programmer, I desired a cool handle like "Abyss" or "Psi".

My real name, "John", was too common. In fact, once there were four John’s in my grade school class of twenty-four students. Even "John Murphy" was fairly common. There were at least six other students named John Murphy enrolled at my university. Later, while employed at both Lockheed Martin and Microsoft, I got numerous e-mails and some phone calls that were intended for some other John Murphy. Also at airport security I was inevitably always delayed due to some naughty John Murphy from Ireland.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter (egg)

Bunnies. Pencil on construction paper. 1999. Pulled from my high school Drawing III sketchbook. Based on a figurine from my house.
A quick post to celebrate Easter and the fresh spring weather. I wouldn't have realized it was Easter if my Mom hadn't mentioned it in an email. In Korea, Easter is not marked on most calendars (although Christmas is). Instead, Koreans recognize other holidays like the upcoming Buddha's birthday.

Can you find the Easter egg hidden in this post?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

October Update: What's Good in Korea

Mad Pumpkin. Marker on construction paper. 1996. I drew this freshman year of high school (Drawing I).
Perhaps if this pumpkin focused on the positive aspects of life he wouldn't be so angry!

October's been a busy month! I've been juggling four business partners and just as many different projects. I've also been making minor contributions to various open source projects.

It's far too easy to pick out the bad things in our lives and complain about them. For instance, I have many more ideas for the UX Hall of Shame than the UX Hall of Fame. We usually take the good stuff for granted until it's gone, then complain about its disappearance. It's much easier to highlight bad experiences, especially in Korea. So, bucking this trend, here's a run-down of good things that happened to me in October: