Welcome to the November edition of the Userfocus usability newsletter.
- Message from the Editor
- Feature article: Communicating errors
- New resource: UX Storytellers
- What we're reading
- Upcoming training courses
- User experience quotation of the month
Today is Veteran's Day in the US, Armistice Day in Europe, Independence day in Poland, and Cutting of the Goose day in Switzerland. It's also World Usability Day everywhere: a day dedicated to raising the public's awareness of usability and for training people in usability tools and techniques. Now in its 6th year, there are over 200 World Usability Day events planned in over 43 countries around the world. You can find out more and see if there's an event near you by visiting the World Usability Day official web site.
The theme of this year's World Usability Day is Communication. So this month, I've chosen to write about 'Communicating Errors'. Error messages are always a source of great fun in Userfocus Towers, and you'll find many amusing examples in this article. Hopefully, you'll also pick up some tips for creating good error messages for your own application or web site. I hope you find the article useful.
Ideally, you'll design your system to prevent errors from occurring in the first place. But no matter how simple your system, someone, somewhere, will make an error when using it. The difference between a great user experience and an awful one is what your system does next. Read the article in full: Communicating errors.
The Fable of the User Centered Designer has been selected for inclusion in a great book edited by Jan Jursa, titled 'UX Storytellers – Connecting the Dots'. As well as the Fable, the book includes over 40 additional stories on the topic of life as a User Experience professional by luminaries such as Aaron Marcus, Deborah Mayhew and Mark Hurst. And best of all, it's free. More details here: UX Storytellers download page.
Some interesting usability-related articles that got our attention over the last month:
- Amazon kick-start their design process by writing a press release for the finished product. This reminds me of the design the box exercise.
- Design blooper 1: As easy as 1,3,2.
- Design blooper 2: Links don't always need to be underlined, but underlined text must ALWAYS be a link. Someone tell the UPA.
- Can users self-report usability problems?
- Interesting and provocative thread on unmoderated usability testing.
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How to carry out a usability expert review, Dec 8, London
For people in design teams who need to spot usability problems in prototypes and finished products, "How to carry out a usability expert review" is a 1-day seminar that teaches delegates cost-effective methods to evaluate designs without testing with end users. More information about this training course: How to carry out a usability expert review.
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.
"In most projects, the first system build is barely usable. The only question is whether to plan in advance to build a throwaway or promise to deliver the throwaway to customers." — Frederick Brooks.