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June 2008 Blog Posts (11)

Just Exactly How Big IS Peru?

Advertisers are always looking for ways to elevate the desireability of their products. One common method is using comparisons to something familiar to emphasize scale, performance, simplicity or value .

Designers too have taken to relying on metaphors in web and application designs to simplify user interactions by utilizing familiar imagery and terminologies.

In both web apps and ads it can be a highly effective tactic but used incorrectly very unintended and confusing… Continue

Added by Terry Fitzgerald on June 25, 2008 at 2:27pm — 1 Comment

The Purgatory of Professional and Amateur Usability

Various buttons from the UPA discussion I had the pleasure of sitting in on a discussion panel presentation at the UPA conference in Baltimore last week with Steve Krug, Carol Barnum, and… Continue

Added by Andrew Lopresti on June 24, 2008 at 4:00pm — 10 Comments

Oh look, I could write a blog post!

And I think I shall. Why not? Let's take this thing for a spin. I'm just twiddling my thumbs here in Baltimore in my gorgeous hotel room (in the overflow hotel -- but look, the shower is awesome, the wireless Internet is free, I even have a loveseat to lounge on!).

Weather so far: disappointingly mild.

Conference so far: Good. Just came back from "Revising a Homepage" which was a very excellent presentation indeed and now I'm all keen to go out and do a bunch of user… Continue

Added by Erin Tidwell on June 18, 2008 at 4:29pm — 1 Comment

Winning at Usability Politics - 5. Do the Dew--Get Moxie

Understand that other people in your organization have egos, too. Learn to cope with egos and personalities, just like you learn to cope with different tasks by creating different designs.

a) Learn about “change management” (check out Wikipedia) — it's a whole field of inquiry and knowledge. Plan how to sway the emotions of your user groups through advance notices, early experiences, and early positive… Continue

Added by John Sorflaten, PhD on June 16, 2008 at 12:00pm — 3 Comments

Winning at Usability Politics - 3. Talk the Talk

When we go to the doctor, we expect a professional vocabulary and approach to problem solving. If the doctor fails to "talk the talk", we wonder if we have chosen the right place to spend our medical dollars.

a) Understand the usability vocabulary and use it to assert authority in a topic. However, avoid speaking over the heads of your audience. Define your terms in comfortable language after your opening gambit.

b) Be prepared to give a ROI analysis for your services.… Continue

Added by John Sorflaten, PhD on June 16, 2008 at 11:47am — No Comments

Winning at Usability Politics - 4. Show the Numbers

A professional must speak more profoundly than just using words like “more” of something and “less” of something else (typically these refer to more "user friendliness" and less "problems"). Usability science has useful conceptual tools for measuring efficiency (time on task), effectiveness (task success rates), and satisfaction (scores on satisfaction inventories).

a) Understand that “discount usability” necessarily involves fewer usability test participants, with accompanying less… Continue

Added by John Sorflaten, PhD on June 16, 2008 at 11:30am — No Comments

Winning at Usability Politics - 2. Show Credentials

Systematic training, certification, and attendance at usability seminars offer several benefits.

a) Usability gate-keeping roles now appear to be “earned” with appropriate sweat and approvals by usability authorities. Thus, others without such credentials will accede to your recommendations, much as we accede to a doctor’s recommendations, because, well, she’s the doctor. Remember, prior to the Web explosion (yes, that big a change) usability jobs required Master's and PhD degrees.… Continue

Added by John Sorflaten, PhD on June 16, 2008 at 11:30am — No Comments

Winning at Usability Politics - 1. Speak Credibly

These points (and following blogs) were given at UPA-Baltimore 18 June 2008. Please add your experiences and comments. Anecdotes doted upon--maybe they'll show up in a book!

Many organizations are jumping on the usability bandwagon. However, I get reports from course participants that these same organizations often marginalize their new usability people and thus fail to benefit. This is the symptom of a "political problem" in getting the attention of the right people at the right… Continue

Added by John Sorflaten, PhD on June 16, 2008 at 11:00am — 3 Comments

Check out our job openings

We've got 2 positions open for US tech staff. Check out the job ops page at the hfi website ,

or better yet stop by and talk to me at the HFI booth at UPA if you are attending.


Added by Susan Weinschenk on June 11, 2008 at 10:00am — No Comments

The Next Certification Level

We ARE thinking about the next level of certification. So many people have been asking! The Certified User Experience Analyst(tm) (CXA) is a sure bet. We have the new PET course (persuasion emotion and trust) which i think is central to the difference between the old view of usability and the new UX profession. We also have a new course (being evolved from our current workshop) in breakthrough innovation methods. So both these make sense. What else is important in our new generation of… Continue

Added by Eric M Schaffer on June 11, 2008 at 10:00am — 6 Comments

How to Cram All Your Travel Gear in One Bag

Traveling for the UPA conference? Traveling for some testing or user research? Check out LifeHacker's tips on packing for success:

Added by Lyle Kantrovich on June 11, 2008 at 9:05am — No Comments

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