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Dec 2005 Contents

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World Usability Day in Switzerland
Keynote Speech on e-Government and Signaletics event

by Silvia Zimmermann
President Swiss UPA
Board Member Swiss CHI

The Swiss UPA organized two local WUD events in Switzerland, one in Bern (capital of Switzerland) and one in Lugano (Italian speaking part). Besides the two events, the Swiss WUD activities were accompanied by broad media coverage, including a special usability focus in a well established Swiss computer journal, featuring articles on the history of web design and usability, and the importance of user requirement analysis and accessibility.

Corresponding to the main theme of the World Usability Day 2005, Dr. Hanna Muralt Muller from the Swiss Federal Chancellery opened the official WUD celebration activities in Bern by providing the audience with valuable insights into the success stories and challenges experienced while providing the Swiss people with a new, electronic e-Government service portal, and while creating a nationwide style guide for accessibility and usability, which will be implemented during 2006.

The keynote speech was followed by a marvellous "Apéro" and a signaletics event. Distinguished signaletics expert Professor Theo Ballmer who is responsible for many pedestrian guidance systems around the world, gave an exciting introduction to the field of signaletics and a guided tour through the city of Bern. The attending usability experts were highly interested in the tricky challenges Mr. Ballmer's team had to overcome during the development and implementation phases of the new pedestrian guidance system.

The activities in Bern were concluded by a usability party in the famous Kornhauskeller lounge, where professionals coming from the various language regions of Switzerland discussed their experience and passions in the field of usability.

The WUD events in Switzerland were a complete success story, not only because of the public attention we were able to attract, but also because the local Swiss CHI and the Swiss UPA celebrated the day together. For the first time since the Swiss UPA was founded in 2003, many members of both groups attended the same festivities. The events therefore not only provided an interesting program but also an excellent opportunity for networking and exchanging experiences among professionals and academics. And this was one of the ambitions of the WUD 2005 organization committee.

Now that the ice is broken and we all know each other a lot better, we are very much looking forward to the WUD 2006 where more public information events are scheduled to be held.

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