What a WUD!

5 December 2019 - Stevie Taylor

Thursday 14th November was our 15th annual World Usability Day event. Every year the event proves more and more popular and our attendees really do leave having learnt something.

The highlight of the day for most of our attendees over the years is our panel discussion. Every year we bring together some of the most knowledgeable industry leaders to participate in a discussion around the chosen theme.

This year we had Michael Brown from Waracle, Roan Lavery from FreeAgent, Greg Dunn from RBS and Oli Mival from Skyscanner, along with User Vision CEO, Chris Rourke. The five focused on ‘designing for the future’ and what that means to their organisations.

The panel focused on such issues as, ‘How does your organisation plan for the future of your company’s products and services’. A recurring thought throughout the discussion was looking at the bigger picture. RBS have adapted the method of looking at the whole of the home buying process, as opposed to just focusing on selling mortgages. Skyscanner have taken a similar approach, now tackling the holiday journey as a whole, opposed to just being a flight tracking site. Company’s appear to be moving their stance from ‘having a product’ to ‘offering a solution’.

Our Accessibility activities are always extremely popular, and this year we had two!

Firstly, Accessibility Discovery. The activity was ‘Accessible Design with WCAG 2.1’. The WCAG criteria can be quite dry at times, so we set up interactive equipment which simulates different types of visual impairments and simulation gloves to represent a motor impairment such as arthritis. The activity allows people to experience the issues that arise for people with impairments, which in turn ensures more thought is put in the design process, ensuring inclusivity for all.

Our second accessibility discovery was ‘A Taste of Accessibility’. Everyone loves a good coffee, so we thought, why not use this to highlight the importance of good design. We brewed coffee and learnt about the importance of standards in the world of coffee and beyond. Because the web, like coffee, tastes better with standards. Some even called ‘A Taste of Accessibility’ the ‘best room in the place’!

Eye-tracking is always a big feature of our World Usability Day event. Eye-tracking is a great way to visually see what content on your site is strongest, what attracts attention first, how quickly content is seen and what is ignored. If you are trying to decide between two different layouts on a site, eye-tracking is a great way of understanding which best works for your and your customers needs. The data is reflected through heatmaps and similar which highlight where customers have spent the most time looking.

For the first time, we had a Creativity Cards station. The concept of the game is simple. You select a client, a task and a wild card. You then create a product/service etc for your client using the brief you chose at random within a chosen time limit. The game is a great exercise to get people thinking quickly about customer needs and UX.

Key Experience Indicators is a way of measuring if our products and services are delivering the desired outcomes? Do we even know what the desired outcome is? Do we strive to capture what is important to measure, or instead opt for what is easy to measure? We used a specific framework to help choose, position and define our KEI’s.

  1. Facility – Can people use the product/service/feature?
  2. Engagement – Do people use the product/service/feature?
  3. Satisfaction – How do people feel about using the product/service/feature

KEI Framework – Facility, Engagement, SatisfactionKEI Framework

With the constant increase of smart devices within homes, we thought it would be a great idea to highlight some more information on them at WUD this year. The Smart Home activity discussed whether poor usability and the plethora of different platforms is causing a disharmony within our homes. We also offered attendees the chance to attempt to build their own smart home.

Top Tasks is again another popular activity which continues to excite our attendees year on year. The theme for this years World Usability Day, ‘designing for the future we want’ will mean something different for both individuals and organisations. Top Tasks allows us to determine with statistical certainty what your customers want to do on your site. The Top Tasks activity allowed our attendees to help challenge assumptions within your organisation which is a great takeaway from the day.

Recently, Amazons announced that Alexa Blueprints are a great way to try out building your own voice skill. Our Voice activity at World Usability Day focused on showing attendees how to use these available blueprints and go forward having the knowledge to do so on their own.

World Usability Day 2019 was our biggest WUD to date and we hope that our attendees took as much away from the day as possible. Our team work extremely hard every year to ensure that we bring our attendees useful and meaningful UX lessons. If you would like any more information on any of the activities above, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

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