Changing 100’s of Prices

Written: May 21, 2013

We all love flexibility with our web sites, especially the ability to login and change prices. I have a web client that needed to change hundreds of prices in a quick and efficient manner. At first I thought of presenting a single page with all of the price names and values, but when I tried that it was too much scrolling up and down to find what I was looking for.

The approach that I ended up with was to use the familiar Tab metaphor with the major category names across the top:

We used WordPress on this project to allow the client to login and make their updates using just a web browser. This is the back-end to the web site that I blogged about most recently, see what the front-end looks like.

For the technically inclined, this project used jQuery UI and jQuery Tabs.

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Millions of Choices

Written: May 11, 2013

TCT West is a telecom company in Montana and Wyoming that wanted to offer a way for customers to visit their site and choose services like:

The challenge was that TCT West serves 61 cities, and the pricing, packaging and options change for each city. Furthermore, each service has optional add-ons. In summary, there are literally millions of choices possible, so how do you make that intuitive to the customer trying to order a single service, multiple services, or even a pre-packaged bundle of services?

We started out the design by making it very simple with a single choice: Residential or Business

Bundle Builder


Once you choose by clicking, then a new choice appears dynamically prompting for your City location:



Clicking in this field brings up a City picker:

City Picker


Based upon what you just clicked in the City Picker, you next see only the packages and services designed for your specific city:

a la cart items


As you choose an Internet service then the add-ons appear dynamically:

Internet Add Ons


As you choose each service then the shopping cart populates instantly and shows if you have any discount:

Shopping Cart


Clicking the Checkout button brings you to a summary page where you see all the details of your order:

confirm your order


There you have it, this is how we simplified the process of having millions of choices by offering dynamic content based upon customer choices, one step at a time.

This project was developed in WordPress, see what the back-end looks like in another blog.

For the technically inclined reader, this project used the powerful jQuery library.

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Event Registration with PayPal and WordPress

Written: April 14, 2013

I belong to the Portland Metropolitan Photographers Association and we have events where members need to register and make a payment. Since the web site is built with WordPress I was able to add a new feature using PayPal for payments where members choose between three different options and quantities:

Three options for Add to Cart

When a member choose an option and quantity, clicks the Add button, they see the PayPal cart on a secure web page:

Secure PayPal cart


If they click Continue Shopping, then they are returned to the PMPA page that they started on. When they click Check Out then they can pay with Credit Card or PayPal.


Inside of WordPress they can choose where to place this new event registration using short code:


This is easy for the PMPA volunteers to add event registration to any Page, plus it’s easy for members to register, a win for everyone.

Email Etiquette

Written: April 12, 2013

Many businesses use e-mail updates to keep clients and prospects updated and informed about information that is of value. For this to work best you should follow some simple rules:

  1. Have people opt in
  2. When people opt in, then let them opt out easily with one or at most two clicks
  3. The frequency of messages should be appropriate, not too often
  4. Let people choose what their interests are
  5. Provide value

I’ve been a loyal Acura car owner for many years and some how I got added to their email list, but then decided that I no longer wanted to receive their emails.

Acura email


At the bottom of the email was a link to update my preferences:

acura preferences


Clicking this link I ended up at and scrolled to the bottom and checked the box to Unsubscribe:


Then to my dismay the page told me that no updates had been made to my preferences:

No updates

I then phoned Acura support at 800 382 2238 and asked to be removed from their email list. The Acura phone support asked for my phone number to find my account, but when I provided my phone number he couldn’t find the account. Next he asked for my Vehicle Identification Number which I was unwilling to give him. Finally he asked for my name and had me wait several minutes on hold. Eventually he asked me to forward my latest Acura email to a special address. All of this process was a big hassle and inconvenience to me, a somewhat less than happy Acura customer.


I’m shocked that Acura has not mastered the art of email communications, and hope that in your business that you will comply with the CAN-SPAM act and make it easy for subscribers to quickly opt-out without placing them in a catch-22 situation where they cannot opt out themselves.

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