Two great events in Auckland for World Usability Day

There will two events in Auckland for World Usability Day on Tuesday 14th November.
At lunchtime, we will be making some (visual) noise with some red balloons in the streets of Auckland, highlighting good and bad examples of user experience.
In the evening, Shona Bishop, GM of Marketing & Business Development at the Bank of New Zealand, and Natasha Hall from Trade Me will be talking about how they’ve introduced usability into their organisations.
Find out how you can get take part in the events calendar.
I’m hoping for lots of people at lunchtime (and in the evening too, of course). We’ve ordered 100 balloons so there should be enough to go around….! Don’t be shy – come along!

World Usability Day 2006 and Making Life Easy

World Usability Day 2006 is only 20-odd days away on Tuesday 14th November.
UPA Auckland is putting the finishing touches to what promises to be an evening of great speakers and activities – more details anon.
In the meantime, here’s another great opportunity for you to get involved in World Usability Day.
Leisa over at Disambiguity and the guys at Flow Interactive have put together a great a little project called
The aim is to get people to make some noise about the things that make their life needlessly difficult.
Confusing cash machines, unclear signs, frustrating websites – poor usability is everywhere and it gets in the way of life. Sometimes it is just annoying. At other times it stops us doing what we need to do.
World Usability Day and MakingLifeEasy is about promoting the value of user-centered design, and every user’s right to ask for things that work better.
I’m thrilled about both initiatves and have contributed a few of my Auckland pet-peeves to the project. Here’s how you can get involved too:
1. Help get more people involved! If you have a blog, give us a shout out and send people to to participate. If you have a Flickr account, join the Making Life Easy group and invite all your friends!
2. Share your examples of the best and the worst of usability where you live (or visit or holiday!). Add photos to the group and your submission will be added to the website and potentially to the Hall of Fame or Shame.
3. Cast your vote! Take a look at the website and have your say in what *really* drives you crazy and what you really love.

Usability Techniques Workshops

The Technical Communicators Association of New Zealand (TCANZ) has asked me to run some Usability Techniques workshops at the end of the month.
Full details and registration at the TCANZ website:
I’m really looking forward to running these workshops. I’m aiming to make them as practical and hands-on as possible. There’ll be some “theory” of course, but mostly I want to give participants the opportunity to practice some core usability/user centred design methods.
We’ll create some user profiles (personas), carry out a card-sorting exercise, develop some paper prototypes and practice running some usability evaluations.
If you are thinking of attending the workshop, feel free to leave a comment as to what would make the workshop really useful and relevant for you.

Intranet Review Toolkit

Step Two Designs, in conjunction with the IA Institute, have just released a free Intranet Review Toolkit
This toolkit provides intranet managers and designers with an easy-to-use method to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their intranets.
While I don’t necessarily agree with all of the guidelines (or applying them blindly without considering your specific circumstances), it’s a good starting point to get you thinking about the various aspects of your intranet.

Auckland World Usability Day Celebration

World Usability Day logo

As part of World Usability Day, the Auckland UPA invites you to Open Your Eyes to Usability:
Ever felt frustated, confused or lost when surfing the web? Ever wondered how your visitors really ‘see’ and experience your website?
If so, join us for an evening of activities designed to increase awareness of usability and user-centred design.
Presentations will include “Internet Usability”, and a live usability evaluation of a popular website. You will also be able to view examples of eye-tracking research, and experience how blind people ‘see’ your website using screen readers.
A number of usability experts will be on hand to give advice on any aspect of usability.
Plus: Remote Control Shootout! How many buttons are there on your remote control? Do you know what they all do? How many do you actually *use*? Bring your remote control along and help us find the worst offending example of poor design and usability. We have spot prizes for the best (the worst?) examples.
This event is being organised as part of the first World usability Day, with more than 70 events planned in 35 countries around the globe, starting (naturally) in New Zealand. Visit and be amazed by how many people, places and groups are taking part. Come along and be part of the celebration.

Date: Thursday 3rd November
Time: 6.00pm to 8.0pm
Venue: Bank of New Zealand, 3rd floor, 125 Queen Street (Map showing location of building – but we are on the 3rd floor)
Cost: Free – Drinks & nibbles will be provided so please register so that we can order enough wine! And don’t forget your remote!
Please RVSP to

Software-Based Usability Labs

Harry Brignull has put together a comparison of software-based usability video labs

Morae and VisualMark are part of a new breed of software-based Usability Video labs, that run on your plain vanilla PC or Mac. What makes them special is that you don’t have to buy any new hardware, you just install the software, grab your webcams and other bits of kit off the shelf and off you go. Also, if running on a laptop, you are highly mobile and can carry the lab around in a bag that wont break your back. Plus you never have to look at another tape, scan converter, or sit around digitising content ever again.

(via City of Bits)