Usability in practice: Guest lecture at the School of Computing and Engineering, University of Huddersfield

Mark Kelly and I gave a guest lecture to students studying Interaction Design earlier this month.

We were invited by Dr John Bonner to talk his 2nd years about how we build websites and the role user feedback plays in the process.

Our goal was to talk to students through examples of our work, demonstrating how theory is different from practice. How deadlines, budgets and client culture dictate the work we do.

After our talk we broke into smaller groups to critique a range of websites and role-play a usability interview.

Much of the content isn’t share-able. But we had a good debate about the relationship between visual design and usability.

We got some great examples of good and bad websites. Beware: one of the below will sear your eyeballs.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/

http://www.creativewithak.com/

http://norvig.com/

http://www.lingscars.com/

http://www.dokimos.org/ajff/  

My view?

  • Usability = being able to achieve your goals with the minimum of effort
  • Visual design = a lovely looking website

The two are not necessarily mutually inclusive

I like a bit of design. It makes me feel better. But the site’s got to work too.

The web is often the main touchpoint people have with a brand. You’ve a chance to convey who you are quickly and cost effectively. Personality. Distinctiveness.

I could probably spend a day talking about Ling’s cars. I won’t, other to say that it’s got character: anti-design that achieves its brand goals.  In Ling’s own words:

“Assuming you can fulfil the service or goods supply that you offer, the biggest thing to get right is simply to emotionalise your offering.”

 

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About Simon Shaw

I'm a Director at a communications agency. I'm interested in marketing, market research & consumer psychology. The views expressed are not necessarily those of my employer.
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One Response to Usability in practice: Guest lecture at the School of Computing and Engineering, University of Huddersfield

  1. Pingback: Usability – lecturing at The University of Huddersfield – markkelly.net

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