Userfocus Usability Newsletter, January 2011

Welcome to the January edition of the Userfocus usability newsletter.

Message from the Editor

When I was growing up, I would have bet my last Smartie on the fact that we would have flying cars by 2011. I wasn't to know at the time that technology wouldn't move at quite that pace — and even if it did, the usability and ergonomic issues would take many more years to resolve. The problem with all future predictions is that we tend to overestimate the speed with which technology will evolve and underestimate the reluctance of people to change their lifestyles to adapt to new technology.

Building on the theme of predicting the future, in this month's article, I discuss the idea of the 'user experience vision' and talk about ways you can create and publicise one for your own product. I hope you enjoy the article — and have a successful 2011.

David Travis

Feature article: Why you need a user experience vision (and how to create and publicise it)

Many design teams launch into development without a shared vision of the user experience. Without this shared vision, the team lacks direction, challenge and focus. This article describes how to use the 'Design the Box' activity to develop a user experience vision, and then describes three ways of publicising the vision: telling a short story; drawing a cartoon showing the experience; and creating a video to illustrate the future. Read the article in full: Why you need a user experience vision (and how to create and publicise it).

What we're reading

Some interesting usability-related articles that got our attention over the last month:

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Usability Training: Now Booking

Web Usability: Designing the user experience, Jan 25-26, London

For web designers who want hands-on experience with usability tools and techniques, "Web Usability" is a 2-day immersion seminar that shows delegates how to boost sales and conversion rates, increase usage and improve customer satisfaction. More information about this training course: Web Usability.

A Practical Guide to Usability Testing, Feb 17, London

For people in design teams who want to gain confidence in usability testing, this is a 1-day workshop that shows delegates how to obtain customer feedback on prototypes and finished products. Unlike lecture-based courses, delegates moderate a usability test of their own web site and leave with a recording of the session to share with the design team. More information about this training course: A Practical Guide to Usability Testing.

Contextual inquiry: how to plan, execute and analyse a site visit, Mar 8, London

For people in design teams who need to base their designs on reality, not assumptions, this is a 1-day seminar that teaches delegates how to get the most from a field visit to a customer location. Unlike academic courses, delegates on this seminar carry out their own study and so learn the practicalities of contextual inquiry on the job. More information about this training course: Contextual inquiry: how to plan, execute and analyse a site visit.

User Experience quotation of the month

"People have not changed fundamentally in thousands of years. Technology changes constantly. It's the one that must adapt to us." — Michael Dertouzos.

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