IWWUA 2007 Report

December 12, 2007

This was the 1st International Workshop on Web Usability and Accessibility, part of WISE (Web Informations Engineering), held in Nancy, France, on December 3 2007.

It proved to be a very interesting day, as many varying areas of Web Usability and Accessibility were discussed. Presentations were given, then followed by a discussion and the day was rounded off with a general open debate.

Among the areas covered were:

  • Web Usability and the new ISO Quality Model
  • Web model refactoring
  • Usability patterns
  • Rich Internet Applications development and Usability
  • WAEX – An XSLT tool which allows automatic Web Accessibility testing
  • An analysis of various Accessibility Evaluation tools
  • MiLE+ – Milano Lugano Evaluation Method v2

Attendees came from all over Europe, including – England, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Estonia and Switzerland.

The day was rounded off with a really enjoyable meal at Grande Cafe Foy, in Place Stanislas, Nancy.

The website at http://gplsi.dlsi.ua.es/congresos/iwwua07/?opc=24 shows the full program of the day and you can also view the presentations given, via the Slides links.

Usability success stories

November 26, 2007

Apple iPod

When Apple entered the mp3 player market with the iPod in 2001, there were already many rival players in the market, but not really any clear market leader.

Many of the existing players were a classic case of the product design not considering the people who were actually going to use the device – the users.

Some problems included

  • Clunky user interfaces that were a chore to use
  • Poor physical design, leading to strange positioning of buttons and features – a classic being the mis-placed volume control
  • Generally ugly design, though there were the odd exceptions, such as some of the iRiver products.

Once the iPod was released and people were regularly using it, it won people over on two main fronts

  • attractive physical design
  • usability of the user interface – simple to use, easy to learn and very effective

It seemed as if someone had designed an mp3 player that they would want to use themselves, unlike almost all of the rival’s players.

Related Links – iPod on Wikipedia | iPod success on Playlist magazine

Nokia mobile phones

Nokia has been the market leader in mobile phone handsets for some time now. This is partly due to them having been involved in the business before its phenomenal growth in the 1990’s and also their involvement in the GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) standards.

However, I would also say that another major factor in this has been the ease of use of their phones – usability. Accessing the key functions of Nokia phones is always very easy and is a massive plus point for users. After all, who wants to have to search through 5 levels of menu when you want to quickly read an sms that has just come in.

Its not a coincidence that people have said to me many times “Once you’ve used a Nokia phone, you won’t want to move to another brand.” And this is all to do with the usability of the phone, rather than any features or physical design attributes.

Related Links – Nokia Interface Expert on Betanews.com | Nokia on Wikipedia

Interesting usability derivative – playability

November 21, 2007

UsabilityOne, an Australian usability testing company are setting up playability testing labs, under the guidance of Keith Steury, who worked at Microsoft’s Game Studios, also in playability labs.

The usual usability testing environment – one-way glass, user being recorded etc. – will be applied in this new area. The aim is to streamline the player’s experience with the game, its interface and navigation.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

IWWUA 2007 – 1st International Workshop on Web Usability and Accessibility, Nancy, 3 Dec 2007

November 12, 2007

This workshop is part of WISE 2007, full title “Web Information Systems Engineering”, an international conference taking place for the 8th time, in Nancy, France. The workshop runs from 0900-1700 on Monday December 3rd.

I’ll be going along, as it seems a good chance to pick up some new information on usability, see different perspectives on usability and also network with usability professionals and researchers.

The workshop program covers web usability techniques, accessibility techniques, navigation model usability, usability and accessibility evaluation and much more, so should be an interesting day.

The website for the workshop is: http://gplsi.dlsi.ua.es/congresos/iwwua07/

The website for WISE 2007 is: http://wise2007.loria.fr/pmwiki/pmwiki.php