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April Fools jokes around the web — causing user pain?

Shockingly, a bunch of people really believed that I was putting my career as a user experience designer on hold in order to become a motivational speaker.

But there have been much bigger jokes floating around the web today in honor of April Fools’ Day, some of which are cute and silly, and others of which aren’t going over very well.

SlideShare

SlideShare multiplied everyone’s view count by 100 (and really pissed some people off).

Google went all out…

Google announced CADIE


CADIE’s homepage

Google Maps offers CADIE’s Favorite Places


Google Image Search

Gmail now has autopilot


Reddit becomes Reddigg


Looks like Digg

Gizmodo put a bunch of garbage stories up

Aviary launches Crane Paper Editor

Whole Foods sells Organic Air


Qualcomm announces Wireless Convergence

Wolfpidgeon

Sharkfalcon

Crocodeagle


New Work City becomes New Wok City


Expedia now offers Flights to Mars


YouTube turns upside-down

Your New Viewing Experience

Woot sells Random Crap bag

Guardian newspaper to be published exclusively via Twitter

Toshiba sells laptops for dogs a.k.a. Petbooks


And many, many more that I’m sure will surface throughout the day.

I can’t help but think about how pranks effect the overall user experience and people’s affiliation with a brand, particularly when it isn’t clearly a joke and people mistake it for reality. If the backlash against SlideShare is any indication, let’s just draw the line here: don’t fuck with your users’ info. Making fun of yourself (Reddit, Woot), or offering new products/services (Toshiba, Expedia, Whole Foods) that don’t detract from the ones you actually sell is the smart way to go. But causing pain that can’t be undone, even for a day, could end up hurting yourself in the long run.

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