We changed our name! After 14 years of creating award-winning digital products & services, it’s time for a new identity that better reflects the human insights-driven, digital customer experiences we create.
We changed our name! After 14 years of creating award-winning digital products & services, it’s time for a new identity that better reflects the human insights-driven, digital customer experiences we create.

AIAIO: Our Blog

AIAIO: Our Blog

The pulse and reviews of Alexander Interactive

Author Archive

GetTaxi Brings Israeli Startups to Ai Offices


Ai’s office was proud to play host to GetTaxi’s Israeli tech startup gathering and Ron Huldai, the Mayor of Tel Aviv, this afternoon. A wide array of Isael-based tech companies met in our uber-comfy Sofaplex to discuss technologies ranging from mobile payment systems to personalized video advertisements their firms have developed.

Host GetTaxi is an Israel-based smartphone app whose New York location is managed out of Ai’s NYC office. Their app, which is currently live in Tel Aviv, London, Moscow and St. Petersburg, digitally hails taxis for 10,000 rides per day. GetTaxi is planning on launching its New York City service this year.

Other companies that displayed their wares at today’s meeting included: Wix, Pango, BillGuard, ADagoo, Mobil, LoyalBlocks, and Eyeview.

“Tel Aviv is home to 700 startups,” said Huldai ,”and we are excited by those that spread their branches to include the Big Apple.”


Come See Ai at IRWD

Design vs. Usability

Ai is back in Orlando, Florida, and we want to see you!

We are at the Internet Retailer Web Design and Usability Conference at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate. Our booth is #400 in the Conference Exhibit Hall, and we are discussing the latest and greatest in web design through tomorrow, Wednesday, February 13.

IRWD focuses on the latest strategies to communicate product quality, brand identity and increase conversion rates on the web.

Josh Levine, Ai’s Chief Experience Officer, will be presenting a session titled “UX & Design: When Does One Trump the Other?” tomorrow at 1:30pm with Jordan Lustig, Director of Product Management for Saks Fifth Avenue. We would love to see you there. The presentation will discuss how to balance the best of user experience and design from both a designer and retailer’s point of view.

IRWD Booth 400


Schwinn Featured as a Top 10 Innovative E-Commerce Site


Last week Practical Ecommerce featured Ai’s Schwinn site as one of the top ten most innovative e-commerce websites.

As the article says, “Schwinn’s site uses its home page to promote content marketing, which is the idea of offering shoppers more than just products, but also entertaining and engaging content.”

Ai congratulates its partner, Schwinn, for this recognition. The full article is available here on Practical Ecommerce’s site.


Same Building, Sweet New Office

Today marked our first day in the brand new Ai office. We’re still holding down 149 Fifth Avenue, but now we are making the best websites around in our awesome new digs spanning the entire eighth floor.

We doubled our floor space, tripled up the number of meeting rooms and paired our trusty foosball table with the svelte felt of our new pool table.

Everyone is loving the open floor plan and extra desk space. You can check out more pictures of the new Ai HQ below:


Scrum Dens:

Pool Table:

East Side:

Dining Area:

One of these computers designs websites:

Lamb Chops:


Alex Schmelkin Speaks at IRWD

Our very own President and Co-Founder Alex Schmelkin spoke this week at the Internet Retailer Web Design & Usability Conference in Orlando. Joined by David Kersting, Director of eCommerce Technology for Cycling Sports Group (CSG), he led a session entitled “For Designers: How to Get Your IT Department to Support Your User Experience Initiatives.”

Anyone who has agency experience understands how designers and IT professionals tend to differ in their way of thinking, communicating and their overall approach to a project (not to mention their opinion of who was the best James Bond). In their presentation Alex and David spoke on how to bridge those differences to get your design and technology teams working in unison.

Using examples from projects CSG and Ai have worked on together, including and, the pair showed specific instances of how our designers and developers worked hand-in-hand to create a customer-focused online shopping experience.

You can view a PDF of the entire presentation here.


Straight Outta Flatiron: A-Mike Raps

At Ai we pride ourselves on having cross-functional skill sets. Our front end developers know how to design, our project managers study up on back end development and our Office Coordinator knows how to rap.

That’s right; our ridiculously awesome office coordinator Alex (aka A-Mike, aka my fellow Tar Heel) knows how to rap. To remind the office about our weekly refrigerator purge, she laid down some rhymes to advise the crew to name and date their foodstuffs.

You can check out her sick skills in her Hamster Time performance of “Straight Outta Flatiron” (to the tune of NWA’s “Straight Outta Compton”) below. You can see the full lyrics after the break.

Funny Stuff

Happy Holidays from Ai

We love the holiday season at Ai. Every December our office is filled with Christmas lights, menorahs, gifts and delectable holiday treats. This year we even turned one of our conference rooms into a Maccabee cave.

Another year-end tradition we have is our annual holiday site. The theme this year was finding joy everywhere. You can check out the site here:

Members of the team went around the city, and everywhere they went they found “joy” in one form or another. Whether it was in a gift from a friend or written on the outside of a grande soy triple pump peppermint iced macchiato (no whip)(extra sprinkles), we found joy everywhere. And boy did it make us want to dance (or do something approximating dancing).


Pew Study Highlights Growing Tablet Use

Last week BGR posted a great infographic visualizing the results of a Pew study on how tablet users are consuming their news. The findings of the research confirmed findings by Forrester, specifically that people who own tablets use them – a lot. According to the study 77% of tablet owners use their tablets daily.

The study also showed that tablet owners spend an average of 95 minutes per day on their tablets. With Apple reporting record iPad sales (over 11 million sold last quarter), these findings show that e-retailers can only expect the amount of visits from tablet-wielding consumers will continue to grow exponentially.

Some of the most interesting numbers coming out of the study centered around the use of native apps versus mobile browsers. Almost twice as many responders reported using mobile browsers as their main news source compared to apps (40% for browsers, 21% for apps), which shows the importance for having sites optimized for tablet users.

As shown in Ai’s T-Commerce Report, even the largest internet retailers are still struggling to capture this up-and-coming demographic. This report shows that while a few retail giants have capitalized on the t-commerce market with responsive designs, larger calls to action and gesture friendly interfaces (Nike is a prime example), most e-commerce giants are falling behind the curve when it comes to t-commerce. Even Amazon is showing slow adoption of t-commerce best practices in its new redesign; though their new fashion deal site, MyHabit, is highly optimized for t-commerce.

For more on how you can optimize your site for t-commerce check out Alex’s article “Make Way for T-Commerce” or download the T-Commerce Report.


Ai Releases its T-Commerce Report

Ai T-Commerce Report

This morning Ai released its T-Commerce Report, a best practices guide for tablet-based UX design and t-commerce review of the ten largest retailers on the web.

We’ve written about the importance of t-commerce UX optimization before on the blog (and E-Commerce Times) and reviewed Amazon’s redesign from a t-commerce perspective. The T-Commerce Report goes into more depth on how the top-selling sites on the internet are adapting to a tablet based future and how you can do the same. Check it out here.


What Does the Kindle Fire Mean for T-Commerce?

The Ai office was abuzz today with the news of Amazon’s Kindle Fire. The new tablet appears to be the first competitor to steal the wind out of the iPad’s sails (and possibly iPad sales as well).

The overall sentiment around the implications of the product itself was a guarded excitement. Most of that excitement focused on the price, an appetizing $199.

It is only a matter of time before t-commerce reaches the tipping point that sends it into its boom. A sub $200 price tag could be that tipping point. If so, retailers with tablet-optimized UX will be the benefactors. With only a seven-inch screen, the Fire will put an even higher premium on the size of retail sites’ calls-to-action.

While the Amazon redesign may have overlooked many t-commerce UX fundamentals, one site that appears to be perfectly optimized for use on the Fire is the recently launched, MyHabit, Amazon’s partner in competition with Gilt Groupe. With large call-outs and a minimalistic design layout, the site appears to be tailor-made for use with the Fire (even down the the flash product videos, which will render on the Fire’s Silk browser).

After the (positive) sticker shock, the second-most exciting piece of news to come out of today’s Amazon press conference was the the Fire’s native Silk browser. Silk is a truly tablet-optimized browser that will split site rendering processing power between the tablet and Amazon’s cloud computing system. Using Amazon’s cloud as a type of “endless cache,” sites should render significantly quicker than they would using only the Fire’s dual core processor.

This type of “split browsing” (as Amazon is calling it) has huge implications for t-commerce. During this early period of tablet development, processing assistance is vital for optimizing page load times.

Ai has put a premium on designing sites for page load time optimization. Will this innovation make this optimization irrelevant? The answer is almost certainly “no” since even with the demo of the browser show some lag in load times. It could mean though that sites optimized for page load speed have comparable load times on Silk as they would on a laptop.

The one real certainty coming out of this news is that the future of t-commerce is getting closer by the minute.