is a blog about design, technology and culture written by Khoi Vinh, and has been more or less continuously published since December 2000 in New York City. Khoi is currently Vice President of User Experience at Wildcard and co-founder of Kidpost. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired by Etsy, Inc.), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design,” and was named one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America.” Khoi lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and three children. You can reach him through one of the services below.+
Somehow I ended up creating multiple user accounts (under separate email addresses) over at TripIt (which is probably my favorite travel tool of the past decade). For a recent trip, I had stashed some data in one account and other bits in another. But thankfully TripIt made it relatively easy to consolidate these accounts together; after some simple email verification, I had a single user account that recognized both email addresses.
It made me wish that Apple would allow me to do the same thing, but alas they don’t. For a few years now, I’ve had two separate Appe IDs where I would very much like to have just one. Though I’ve tried to be conscientious about using only the one that I prefer, once in a while I’ll accidentally make purchases on the App Store or in iTunes with the wrong one. So now I have some digital purchases under one account and others under the other, which can make for a frustrating experience when I have to update or re-authorize any of them.
This seems especially egregious for Apple, as their suite of products creates so many opportunities — iTunes, MobileMe, iChat, FaceTime, even registering a new Mac, to name a few — where a user might inadvertently create multiple accounts. Allowing users to merge accounts, preferably through a simple, self-service Web tool, strikes me as a fundamental requirement for good customer management. This would seem especially true when your ecosystem is as large as Apple’s, when the company serves as the gateway to so many purchases, and when it stores so many credit card numbers.+