World Usability Day is dedicated to making all the man-made things in this world more usable for the people that use them. All the web sites, products, software, toys, electronic devices, phones, cars--everything we use. There's a science behind making that happen, and it's based on the way humans perceive and interact with things. This year World Usability Day is focused on healthcare--wouldn't it be nice if that was more usable?
The Google Blog mentions WUD and talks about "User Experience Professionals" (like me!) Google is one of those companies that embraces usability and puts the user at the center of everything they do, as it should be in my humble opinion. Unfortunately, many companies don't see it that way (or haven't in the past)--it's becoming more and more commonplace, though, but, depending on the corporate culture, the change can be slow. It's not natural to see things from a user's perspective because you have to step outside of yourself--and you may have to change the entire process your company uses to develop the product. That takes some doing, but it's well worth it. Being user-centric can increase profits, decrease development time, increase customer satisfaction (and retention), and so much more.
There are Usability Day events happening all over the world--check their site to find one in your area.
My other purpose for this blog is to talk about geo-technology and Web 2.0 and how it could change our lives. Notice on the World Usability Day web site how they have a Google Map embedded? That's the kind of stuff I thrive on. Google has taken maps and made them interactive, easy to use, and easy to add to any web site. It's advanced the usability of the web and the usefulness of web applications. It's made the lives of web developers so much easier. No longer do they have to go build the map--they've got one ready-made, all they have to do is add to it. And the lives of users are enhanced, too; users get a comfortable, consistent experience on many different web sites because the map on one site works the same way as the map on so many others. They don't have to relearn the map every time they go to a new site.
Some of my favorite geo-sites are:
- The Google Earth Blog: have you checked out the defense spending earmarks in Google Earth yet?
- High Earth Orbit: Andrew Turner always has interesting things to say.
- James Fee's GIS Blog
More geo-usability stuff coming!