Google Maps and the BART Strike

One of my favorite features of Google Maps is routing using public transportation. This is extremely useful for anyone who doesn’t have a car. An interesting use case comes when a certain public transportation option is not available. Recently, BART, a highly utilized transportation system across the bay area shut down due to a strike by its union. So here’s what I saw when looking for directions into downtown SF:


After clicking through the orange warning exclamation point icon, I saw:

bart2So here’s the interesting part. Based on the error messaging, the application should know (or should have a confident estimate) that this option is not viable for the user. Which is why the better user experience would be to include a different public transportation option in addition to, or instead of, all of the options that include a dependency on BART .


A Tactic to get Past the new Gmail Promotions Tab

Not too long ago, Gmail rolled out a new Inbox with customizable tabs which include notification emails from Social channels as well as a tab for Promotional emails. Some speculate that this new design may be a huge headache for marketers as it becomes even more challenging to get eyeballs on the emails that they send out.

I saw an interesting tactic to get past this challenge. In a fundraising email I received from JDRF, I was instructed to train Gmail to send emails from JDRF straight to the Primary tab instead of the Promotions tab.



By dragging the email from the Promotions tab to the Primary tab of my Inbox, I have the opportunity to create a rule to filter future messages from JDRF straight to the Primary tab of my inbox and thus increase the chances that I consume emails from JDRF.

One could argue that this tactic is simply a modern day parallel of the already existing “add our email to your contact list so that future emails are not marked as spam” email technique. It’ll be interesting to see if other products employ similar tactics to optimize their performance for Gmail users.