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UPA 2009


Designing for a Sustainable World: World Usability Day Off to a Running Start

Amy K. Ballard

Amy K. Ballard is currently working as the Project Manager for World Usability Day 2009.

World Usability Day (WUD) was founded in 2005 as an initiative of the Usability Professionals' Association to ensure that services and products important to human life are easier to access and simpler to use. Each year, on the second Thursday of November (November 12), events are organized in over 43 countries around the world to raise the public's awareness, and to train professionals in the tools and issues central to good usability research, development, and practice. This year WUD kicks off in Shanghai China and wraps up in California, USA.

"We continue to look for additional events to be held in many different countries," said Amy Ballard, Project Manager. To register your event link to: http://www.worldusabilityday.org/ and click Register An Event on the right hand side of the homepage. Registered events are being highlighted so it's important to get your event registered as early as possible.

Elizabeth Rosenzweig is the driving force and founder of the Usability Professionals' Association's (UPA) WUD, a day that seeks to recognize and promote usability as a means to making services and products easier to access and simpler to use. WUD is about making our world work better. It's about "Making Life Easy" and user friendly.

Co-chairing this year's WUD is Nathan Shedroff, chair of the ground-breaking MBA in Design Strategy at California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco, CA, and Brian Sullivan, the Usability Principal at the Sabre Human Factors Center. World Usability Day is a worldwide conglomeration of events and educational forums emphasizing the increasing importance of simplicity of use in all of the products we use. "A cell phone should be as easy to use as a doorknob," Rosenzweig cited as an example. The 2009 theme is "Designing for a Sustainable World."

"I am honored to co-chair World Usability Day," said Shedroff. "Design makes a tremendous impact on the produced world in terms of usability, resources, understanding, sustainability, and priorities. What we produce, how we serve customers and other stakeholders, and even how we understand how the world works is all affected by the design of models and solutions. Designers have an unprecedented opportunity to use their skills to make meaningful, sustainable change in the world," he said.

Shedroff is one of the pioneers in Experience Design, an approach to design that encompasses multiple senses and requirements and explores common characteristics in all media that make experiences successful, as well as related fields, Interaction Design and Information Design.

"Nathan and Brian have been invaluable in helping develop this year's theme, 'Designing for a Sustainable World'," said Rosenzweig.

Sullivan has been involved in the IT industry for over 20 years. He has participated on panels at theUPA Conferences in 2008 and 2009. A welcomed speaker, he presented at the Big (D)esign Conference, and presented at the Poster Revolution at UPA 2007.

"We decided for 2009 we wanted to add sustainability to our theme. World Usability Day 2009 is approaching design from Cradle to Cradle. Coming from a user-centric perspective and looking beyond form and function, we are exploring the impact design has on our World. This holistic approach to sustainable design shows how usability can apply to all of what we do and build," said Sullivan. "I couldn't be more pleased to have been invited to co-chair of this year's World Usability Day."

Designing for a Sustainable World events and forums will focus on how products and services impact our world. Programs will look at all products and services- whether they are buildings, roads, consumer products, businesses, services or healthcare systems- throughout their life cycle. The impact focuses on the environment, energy, water, soil, and more. Have the materials and processes that have been used been recycled and are they re-usable? Are they user and environmentally friendly? These are questions that must be considered as we design, purchase, use and dispose of products each and every day.

In September, as an adjunct to WUD, UsabilityMatters.org, Hyderabad, India, ran a Bad Design and Cartoon Contest. To view the winners visit http://www.usabilitymatters.org/.

The following description of a two-day event being held in Copenhagen, Denmark gives you a sense of the kind of programs that comprise WUD:

Ecolibrium 2009: Sustainability and Usability in Balance is a two-day conference that will utilize the three key elements of sustainability (environmental, social, and economical) in concert with usability and user experience to initiate meaningful dialogues and concrete action for creating more responsible products and services for today and the future. It is a holistic approach that collaboratively incorporates pre-conference training, cross-disciplinary expert presentations, panel discussions, hands on workshops, and networking to create an experience that expands well beyond the event.

The impressive speaker line-up includes US National Award winning educators, acclaimed entrepreneurs, a world record holder, international user experience pioneers, renowned authors, and more.

World Usability Day 2009 will serve as an impetus to creating greater awareness for designs, products, and services that improve the sustainability of the world.

WUD will be lining up and promoting events throughout October. To get involved in World Usability Day 2009 send an email to: wud@usabilityprofessionals.org or register your event at the World Usability Day website.


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