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Spread the Word: World Usability Day 2007

By Elizabeth Rosenzweig

Elizabeth Rosenzweig is the Principal Consultant at Bubble Mountain Consulting where she helps companies and organizations innovate and develop successful technology, products and services that are easy to use and understand. She has over 22 years experience and is a past President of UPA.

We are proud of the work we did to make World Usability Day 2007 a success. With 156 events in 40 countries and 30 online events, WUD 2007 was a resounding success. On the ground, events were held on six continents. Online events included a panel and several speakers focusing on the theme of Healthcare as well as other important topics.

World map showing locations where World Usability Day was celebrated in 2007.

There is still so much work to do. The vision is that World Usability Day brings awareness of the impact that usability has on our lives. So many day-to-day tasks involve some form of technology, service or product and often, they don't work well. Sometimes the credit card system at a store has buttons that are confusing, other times monitors in operating rooms in hospitals are at risk of inflicting damage on a patient because a technician misreads a graph or number.

People are quick to blame themselves when a machine misbehaves. I cringe when I hear a test participant tell me "Excuse me, I am not that computer literate, I get confused." Why don't people say, "I am a smart person and if I can't understand how to make this machine work, maybe there is something wrong with the machine?"

World Usability Day seeks to spread the message and change the world. We don't have to accept being less smart then a machine. We have a right to have our world work right and be safe.

The 2007-2008 theme of Healthcare is important, because this is exactly the domain that shows us that bad usability can cause harm to people. It is that simple.

We need your help to spread the word about usability. In 2007, we had volunteers setting up displays at museums and malls to demonstrate the importance of good product usability. This type of activity brought the message to everyday people who are simply going about their lives. We also had events in countries that previously had little professional training in product usability. We are slowly raising awareness that can bring about change.

We are looking forward to our next World Usability Day. The theme is Transportation and the date is November 13, 2008. Consider volunteering and helping us spread the word. You can go to our website and sign the charter to show your support at www.worldusabilityday.org.


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