Will Grant

User Experience Consultant & Author with over 20 years experience delivering powerful web & mobile products that have reached over a billion users.

Idea dump #2

From time to time I come up with ideas which, for whatever reason, I can’t work on right now.

Rather than jealously guarding these ideas, I’m going to post them here in regular bursts, in case someone out there wants to run with them.

Most importantly, sharing your ideas triggers something unexpected: it forces you to come up with new ones.




Order a t-shirt bearing a waveform (or some nice-looking spectral analysis) of a favourite song - as well as the track title and maybe a QR code.

Now that digital music has all but killed the physical music release - people no longer carry CD cases (and definitely not vinyl LPs), and nobody ever says 'Hey - I like that album too!'. Everyone's iPod looks the same, regardless of what it's playing.

This kind of 'music wear' could be a nice conversation starter.


Coffee Shop Genius

Most coffee shops feature WiFi. This system would use bonjour (or some other network service discovery protocol) to connect and examine any shared iTunes library.

The in-store music system (which is probably a computer playing MP3s in any case) plays their most played song in the shop - or starts a 'round robin' between customers’ songs.

As visitors come and go during the day, the tone and mood of the music would subtly match the clientele.

This could be extended to a mini 'control panel' on the WiFi login web page to allow visitors to queue up a jukebox of in-shop music - or 'upvote' favourites.



A community-driven real-world postal service based on the principles of the internet.

You only pay your ISP for your internet line to cover the distance from your house to the network. Traffic that moves across the internet beyond there is zero-cost (to you).

This idea would model a postal service for real-world items around these principles, plus a bit of community volunteering.

1. Participating towns and cities would have a 'node' in a public place like a community centre
2. Each day, locked boxes are addressed from and to a node and moved
3. Inter-node transport is carried out free - by volunteers who are heading that way anyway on their normal commute - even if they can only take a box part of the way to its destination
4. Post can be collected from the node whenever you're ready, or by community volunteers

Free to use, community-spirited, more honest and more reliable. But, a lot slower.