Just around the corner, World Usability Day aims to put the client back in charge. On Nov. 14th more than 135 events will be organized in 35 plus countries to raise awareness of the benefits of usability engineering and user centric design. According to the "Usability Professionals' Association" (UPA - the group organizing the event), "this Earth Day style event, focused on raising awareness and visibility of usability engineering and user centered design, is currently being organized by volunteers and local event coordinators from around the world."
Good so far, but what can it mean for CM professionals? The key is a focus on our "users." This "Day" of events (actually lasting 36 hours around the globe) is designed to help professionals understand what users need to make things work better. So think UI, accessibility concerns, good methodologies, and just plain good engineering.
Imagine your users asking, "What the @#$%^ were they thinking when they designed this UI?". Then imagine a day during which product managers, designers, and engineers can learn how to preempt that scenario.
That's the opportunity event organizers are seeking to provide. The UPA, UPA chapters, and allied organizations will all hold events, revolving around a common theme -- "Making life easy!" -- with a focus this year on accessibility and inclusion.
Tune in, no matter where you are. A series of 12 podcasts and webinars are already scheduled, including "COST 219ter: Mobile Phone Accessibility Evaluation Toolkit," from the UK, "Usability and Accessibility: Twin Children of Different Mothers," from Matawan, NJ USA, and "Usability in Wollongong," from the the Activity Theory Usability Laboratory (ATUL) at the University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia -- see http://www.worldusabilityday.org/event/webcasts.
Who's on board? Oracle is in (snort ...oops, please excuse us). Intuit, Apogee, SAP, and Human Factors International, all of whom are sponsors. Supporting organizations include the User Experience Network, the Human Factors & Ergonomics Society, and the Society of Technical Communicators who will hold a Usability Competition, and The World's Largest Online Card Sort.
Is there still time to participate? Yes -- as fast as you can say "podcast," there is. If interested, sit down with your corporate messaging and engineering teams, schedule an event or podcast, then submit it to World Usability Day at: http://www.worldusabilityday.org/event/new