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April 2005 Contents

Articles

Tips for Negotiating
Negotiation is a part of life, though we may not always think of it in conscious terms. Although this article is written from the perspective of a consultant bidding on a project, the concepts of negotiation apply to many situations where you are trying to reach agreement with someone.

By Carolyn Snyder

The Gates: Changing the User Experience of Central Park
Central Park in February is arguably the time when the park is at its emptiest, when it sees the fewest users. The sky is often gray, the temperatures can drop way below zero, even on a sunny day. This year, February was the month that Christo and Jean Claude choose to mount their latest environmental installation, the Gates in Central Park.

By Elizabeth Rosenzweig

 

Why Listening to Users Can Damage Your Website
The first time I noticed that people tend to say one thing and do another in a usability test was back in 2000. We had been building a new company website and testing it with real users brought us an unexpected problem. All the users liked the new design a lot more than the old one, but nobody could work out how to use it.

By David Unsworth

The Problem with Usability Change Recommendations
Contemporary user testing methods have proven highly effective at identifying problems in computer interfaces. By directly measuring users’ ability to complete key tasks, practitioners can expediently uncover what are often colossal failures of usability that are otherwise difficult to perceive. User testing, then, affords a strong empirical basis for recommending that designers make changes to resolve the problems found.

By John Ferrara

Projects and Events

World Usability Day Press Release
(Chicago, Illinois) – The Usability Professionals’ Association is organizing the first annual World Usability Day on November 3, 2005. This worldwide series of events will promote awareness of the benefits of usability engineering and user-centered design. Activities will be held at the local level all over the world, and will be occurring on the same day. This year’s focus is e-government, while also including commercial applications. The theme is “Making It Easy.”

UPA Gains Momentum Across the UK
Face-to-face meetings are a great way to network with other professionals, to keep up with professional developments, perhaps even to pick up work. They are also key to building community in the usability field.

By Louise Ferguson

Internet User Experience 2005 Hits Michigan
In March, people from all over the American Midwest came to Internet User Experience 2005 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, for a “mini conference” that exceeded all expectations. In what should prove to be an annual event, the Michigan Chapter of UPA co-sponsored Internet User Experience 2005 with several local professional groups.

By Tim Keirnan

Status Report on the Code of Conduct
Last year in this medium of communication I asked if UPA needed a Code of Conduct. I stated the number of law suits about corporate corruption in progress at that time. (Since that time we have had WorldCom and a few more.) The object of my rambling was your Board of Directors thought we needed a Code of Conduct for UPA and was in the process of developing one.

By Richard Bellaver

NYC-UPA Talk: Negotiating Usability Testing Results
Usability professionals may offer great user-centered advice, but what to do if project stakeholders oppose it? Negotiate, says Mona Patel, a Jersey City, N.J.–based Executive Director of the user-centered-design firm Human Factors International (HFI), headquartered in Iowa. She has enjoyed consistent success, she says, by using a win-win style of negotiation to make sure HFI’s recommendations to clients get implemented. On March 22, 2005, Mona gave the New York City chapter of UPA a fast-paced lesson on how to do the same.

By Alan Seiden

How UX Plays (and Works) Together: A UXnet Panel Discussion in NYC
UXnet is a new group “formed to help make connections between the people and organizations that represent User Experience disciplines, and to encourage interchange and cooperation.” UPA is one of these organizations; UPA president Whitney Quesenbery is on the UXnet Executive Council.
On March 15, 2005, UXnet held a cross-organizational event in New York, sponsored by the Parsons School of Design, the Parsons Design Lab and the UXnet NYC Leadership Council.

By Joy Zigo

UPA Member Interviews

UPA Member Interview with Alain Robillard-Bastien, M. Sc.
My team and I have been working quite a lot the last few months to evaluate various solutions and make some tests with colleagues and friends around the globe, from Quebec City to Hong-Kong, through all kind of possible and impossible conditions. (Ever tried web conferencing in a gloomy motel room with a glorious 28.8 connection? Scary...). We also focused on methodological issues to make sure to have interesting results from this approach.

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