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 Principal Designer at Adobe. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired in 2013), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “How They Got There: Interviews with Digital Designers About Their Careers”and “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.
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after i zoomed on the scanned picture, and read the text, i got a little emotional (i’m going through some personal issues myself), and was sure you are going to praise the insurance company for a small act of kindness they added to the bill.
guess i was wrong. guess it’s a matter of perspective..
at least, you can be sure my sympathy is honest.
Questioning the ‘helpfulness’ of a condolence, even when from a corporation, is a bit strange.
Would you rather not see the message at all?
I think this is a great idea — to share sympathy for the passing of your pet — ruined by bad design and execution. A very appropriate topic for this site.
Instead of approaching this with a goal of adding the message in a more appropriate manner, the good idea was shoehorned into existing technology. “We can’t get a new display field built here, but we could hack a billing code to display a sympathy message.”
Good idea. Bad design.
Michael: I would rather not have seen the message at all. And I don’t think it’s strange at all to question an automated condolence that was probably triggered by a cost code of some sort.
Tim Windsor puts it much more elegantly than I did, so I think him for the clarity I couldn’t muster. It’s a commendable idea executed with little thought, emotion or even competence. If they can automate a line item on a schedule, they can automate a presentable card or even have someone write a note by hand.
There’s a whole potential world of meaning around such a sentiment represented as a line item on a bill.
I’m sure it’s turned up in a Philip K Dick novel.
I work as a designer at a large health insurer, and we’ve been struggling to help our members see us as more human, less like a corporation. While this message would be a horrible thing to put on one of our bills if someone in your family died, I think this company gets a point in my book for trying to show you that they’re more than just a monthly bill. I could see a message like that after having shoulder surgery that syas “We at __ hope you’re recovering from your procedure”. Better than just a bill.
PS. I wouldn’t mind if you could share the name of the company, I’ve been thinking of getting pet insurance for my dog.
I think execution (classiness) has to be any note of condolence. While its clever that someone there thought to have a little line item there, the clinical nature of its delivery is what you notice first, and what is ultimately felt. Even a plain-text email with the same message would have done a better job in my opinion and cost the company less.
I’ve shared with you the right to look at close-up photo is. To be honest here, you’re right. Thanks for sharing.
Sorry for the loss of your furry friend. I lost my buddy of 12 years, Buck, in November. I’m still missing him. The insurance thing is a good idea, I just paid as we went and it started adding up quick when he got sick. If I get another dog I might give that a go. It’s too soon for me.
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