Making the world an easier place to live.
Many companies, organisations, managers and designers recognise the importance of testing new ideas on users and customers before putting them into practice. Unfortunately user-testing is often bypassed with the excuse that there is insufficient time or money. Even worse, some designers think they know their client’s or employer’s customers well enough that they don’t need to bother asking them.
The fact is that it is simply not possible to read the minds of the potentially vast range of users and customers that a web, print or industrial designer, architect, engineer or other design professional has to develop a product or installation for.
Usability Challenge 2008 raises awareness of the importance of user and customer testing by saying “Hey, we’re customers … we’re suffering from bad design decisions … and we’re going to let you know about it”. But it’s more than simply complaining about being on the receiving end of bad design decisions and process. It’s rising up to the challenge to invent a better solution and suggesting it to a company or organisation.
This year’s Usability Challenge is being held on 1 August so if you want to get involved then quickly pick one of the many design frustrations you face daily, come up with a way to fix it and then write to the offending company and let them know!
Hopefully through this united effort we can ensure that user testing is integrated into all design projects, be it designing websites, supermarkets, ATMs, movie ticket queues, elevators, pay parking machines or toasters.
For my contribution to the Usability Challenge this year I think I’ll be writing to the ANZ bank with some suggestions on how they could improve some of their online loan application forms as well as fixing their Canberra Centre branch because currently from the seating area you can’t see the numbers of most of the desks in the branch – a bit of an oversight.
So head over to the Usability Challenge 2008 home page now and get involved!
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