The U P A voice
Oct 2005 Contents

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Meet Sue Leitner:
Public Relations Support for World Usability Day
Prosperity Communications’ Role

by Sue Leitner

Sue LeitnerThe World Usability Day Committee has already succeeded in generating interest far beyond its original goals. It has been my pleasure to support that effort by tracking and amplifying the efforts of the hard-working local organizers. My specialty is media relations, and it’s been my privilege to work with the many volunteers on this project to help make headlines (and the fine print of event calendars) about World Usability Day.

My company, Prosperity Communications, is based in Cincinnati, Ohio. My customers are technology-based companies and organizations. Usually, my customers are groups of technology-based businesses working together for a common goal.

In recent years, I have worked on projects such as the local resurrection of the Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program, the Cincinnati technology alliance, the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer, and the manufacturers’ group TechSolve.

I also worked on Ecom-Ohio, a program whose panel of judges included UPA President Whitney Quesenbery. You can imagine how flattered I was (and how cheap I work) when she remembered me. Whitney recommended me to World Usability Day Chair Elizabeth Rosenzweig as support for this project. While I am dropping names, I want to be sure to acknowledge Keith Instone, keeper of the www.worldusabilityday.net site, as one of the many solution-focused people I have had a chance to get to know as part of this project.

My role in World Usability Day is to find the stories that move our strategy. Our strategy is to increase awareness, Earth Day-style, of everyone’s responsibility in getting things that work right. We want to understand how you, as professionals, execute your quests. We want to communicate that every citizen, as a consumer, has a right to expect things that work well, and has a responsibility to pursue usability in the marketplace.

With only about six weeks to go, as this is being written, my primary focus is on developing the stories that move our World Usability Day strategy, and contacting reporters and editors who can help us do that.

I also spend quite a bit of time, one-on-one, with volunteers who need ideas for local publicity. If you haven’t been one of those volunteers, here’s the short form: Start looking for event calendars, and make a database of the e-mail contacts. The instant you get your “where and when,” send a notice to the event calendar editors, your customer/colleague database, and especially, to your co-workers. Think about little stories you can tell (and write in brief e-mails) that help those not in the field to understand what you’re talking about, and tell those stories to anyone who might listen. If you’re really ambitious, this is a great story for local morning news shows, if you have someone articulate who will get up early for a studio appearance.

When we started work on this project last February, our goal was to have one World Usability Day activity per continent, with three events in the USA. At last count, we have event coordinators in 78 locations, and more than 30 countries. I will also note that our goal was also to have a final event list by (last) June. If you’re one of our wonderful event coordinators, and you haven’t done so already, please go to the newly opened www.worldusabilityday.org site, and enter your event coordinates.

Thanks so much to all the people who continue to work so hard toward the success of UPA’s first World Usability Day.

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