Thursday, November 8, 2007

Today is "World Usability Day 2007"

This is the third edition of the "World Usability Day", comprised of a set of events that are performed all around the world starting in New Zealand under the motto “Making life easy!
This year's theme is "Healthcare."
The number of events makes evident the interest of the people, not necessarily usability-related people, on the subject.

What's "usability?" Uh?
In the context of last year's Usability Day there was a "Usability Hall of Fame" contest (web site now defunct) and you could vote for your pet usability feature. And the winner was .... a japanese toilet!

It seems that the toilet defeated the other features because it was green: it reused the hand wash water as flush water.
Albeit now everybody is aligned with Planet Care (including the US Gov) the greenness of a thing has nothing to see with its usability. The toilet is interesting but not the epitome of usability.

As we all know, the epitome of usability is Gmail, isn't it?

The Usability Hall of Fame contest made evident the fact that few people has a clear idea about what Usability is.
For example, many think that it's in the user interface design! I used to think that, for a while, many years ago.

The World Usability Day Celebration is useful in that it brings more people in touch with usability concepts. As soon as you look at a few of the events slated for today you get the idea.

Usability does not exist
What is real is the lack of usability. Over time, the things that now are notoriously more usable tend to become mainstream, "normal."
We can notice the lack of usability and act upon it, because it is a facet of design, or better: the final result of design.
Yes, visual design is desirable, and we enjoy it. But is is useless if "the thing" drives you mad every time you have to suffer it.

If you want a 5-minute briefing see "Importance of Usability," a page I just found. It refers only to web sites and usability testing, but anyway ...

No comments:

Post a Comment