World Usability Day 2013 planning

I am helping organize an event in the Toledo region for World Usability Day. So far:

  • Who is collaborating: Toledo Web Professionals and BGSU College of Technology (Visual Communication Technology) & School of Art (Graphic Design) teachers.
  • What are we doing: A panel on web usability, based on the classic book Don’t Make Me Think.
  • When will it be: Thursday, November 14th (time of day: TBD).
  • Where will it be: On the BGSU campus (building/room: TBD).

World Usability Day is a single day of events occurring around the world. The events educate people about how to create usable products. They also celebrate the strides that have been made in making our world work better. The Toledo region hosted WUD events in 2006 and 2011, but this year’s event looks like it will be much larger than those were.

Several BGSU professors and instructors will be incorporating the event into their courses:

  • Jodi Hagg‘s VCT 3660 “Applied Interactive Media Production” classes use Don’t Make Me Think as a textbook.
  • Jerry Schnepp‘s VCT 4820 “Advanced Concepts of Multimedia Production” students used DMMT earlier in their education.
  • Todd Childer‘s ARTD 4030 “Systems-Based Graphic Design” class has user interface design topics.
  • Amy Fidler‘s ARTD 4050 “Interactive Graphic Design” class covers UI design principles.

Some teachers may have their students attend the panel instead of class; some might offer it as an option. In all cases, the panel topics will be directly related to learning objectives for the courses. (I’d be interested to hear from other BGSU instructors who are interested in having their students participate.)

The event is not intended to be only for BGSU students: anyone interested in web usability will be invited to attend. The Toledo Web Professionals meet-up page is the best way to RSVP and to stay in touch as the plans solidify.

What will the panel be about? We will get a group of practitioners to talk about aspects of the book Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug. It is a classic that serves as an excellent introduction to web usability and user experience thinking in general.

We are compiling a list of potential panelists. We are looking for people who:

  • Have read Krug’s book and have practiced what it says. They might agree with the author or disagree with him, but they need to be experienced with the concepts in the book.
  • Are willing to do a small amount of prep for the panel, so people can ask questions about a topic from the book and they can engage in a conversation with the other panelists and audience.
  • Have some special web usability story they are willing to focus on, such as a case study, applying a unique background, or something to vent about.
  • Be able to attend the session at BGSU on the 14th, which might mean taking some time off of work. Toledo region locals would be great, but if an expert is willing to drive a few hours, even better.

Some of the topics that the panel might talk about:

  • When did you first encounter DMMT? What impact did it have on you?
  • Show a page and talk about the visual hierarchy of it (bad examples are funnier).
  • Tell us a story about “happy talk” that you encountered as a designer and had to fight hard to get rid of.
  • Are breadcrumbs good or evil?
  • Give 1 reason why you hate tabs.
  • Show a page that you have designed and do the trunk test on it: does it pass?
  • Tell us a story about a major home page battle and how you won/lost it.
  • Give us an example of one of your antidotes for a religious debate.
  • Do you really need to only test with 5 users?
  • Why don’t clients care about accessibility?
  • What is one of your own recommended readings that is not in the back of the book?
  • Krug is working on the 3rd edition of DMMT: what should he add, update or delete for the next edition?

If you want to be considered as a panelist, or to nominate someone, contact me.

More details coming as we continue the planning.

Keith