Monday, 14 September 2009

Knowing your users vs. being nosey

I am learning Inkscape. Two reasons. Firstly, since Smartdraw and Fireworks got ruined, I have needed to find a decent vector graphics package that does not require too much learning. Secondly, when can I use sees .svg being usable in a year or two, and it will take me that long to learn the package. I heartily recommend it. Anyway, I wanted to buy the manual. This is not open source, and comes from InformIT. When I get to the checkout,I have the choice of answering 14 questions, including salary, age, gender, type of work, or 'just create my account'.

Obviously, I choose the latter. Amazon don't ask questions like that. It doesn't work. I use the 'contact us' to tell them it doesn't work, and get an email from PTG (Pearson Educational Customer Technical Support) (fortunately I opened it rather than treating it as spam) telling me I have to answer (some of) their questions if I want to buy the book, but not admitting they insist I have to answer all of them.

Inkscape needs to find a better publisher.

Pearson need to understand the difference between obsessive market data-gathering, and being customer-focused. In my experience, companies are quite likely to choose going bust over making such a change.

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