Interaction Design in Europe

Convivio – the European Network for the Human-Centered Design of Interactive Technologies – has kicked off a series of interviews with leading voices in the field of human-centred design. Interviews will feature people from all over the world, but with an emphasis on European voices (and I’m biased, but it’s wonderfully refreshing to have a European perspective on all things HCI).

The first interview is with Jan Chipchase, Principal Researcher at Nokia, who maintains a photo-blog at Future Perfect.

The second interview is with Adam Greenfield, author of Everyware: The dawning age of ubiquitous computing.

Adam finishes with some great advice for designers who are interested in getting involved with ‘ubiquitous computing’:

“[…] I’d imagine that getting comfortable with user observation and ethnography, contextual inquiry, and other techniques for the qualitative understanding of the experience of use will stand you in good stead. And if neither of these two suggestions appeal, about all I can say is sit just where you are – because it seems fairly likely to me that some kind of Everyware will come to you.”

In a related vein, and also from Europe, Nat Torkington blogs about his conversation with Matt Webb, who works for creative design consultancy Schulze & Webb.

Designing Web Applications – Structure and Flows

User Interface Engineering (UIE) have released a 54 page report called The Designer’s Guide to Web Applications, Part I – Structure and Flows . It’s US$35 – but there’s a free chapter available for download.

I’ve read the free chapter, and it’s very good. It helps conceptualise how most web applications should be structured – useful if you’re struggling to envisage how screens should ‘flow’ from one to the other.

In a similar vein, there is Bob Baxley‘s Task Flow for Web Applications, part 1 – Views & Forms and Task Flow for Web Applications, part 2 – Wizards & Guides.

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 MakingLifeEasy.org.
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 www.MakingLifeEasy.org 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: http://www.tcanz.org.nz/Events/Workshops/UsabilityWorkshop2006.htm
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.