On November 13, 2014, Foraker Labs hosted Boulder’s second World Usability Day. Established by the User Experience Professionals’ Association in 2005, World Usability Day is an annual international event dedicated to the promotion of usability — both as a concept and as a value companies should strive for when creating their products.
To this end, Foraker hosted a two part educational open-house addressing how user testing can be integrated into the development process, as well as how to sell the concept of usability itself; detailing not only usability testing techniques, but also how the information gathered through them might be used.
The evening began with a panel discussion, highlighting one of Foraker’s recent projects as a case study, exploring the importance and effect of user testing during development, and how to integrate it into current processes. Unlike traditional discussion panels, however, we encouraged attendees to share their own experiences and thoughts with the rest of the group. The first half of the night quickly became a wide-ranging discussion in which participants were able to ask questions, exchange tips, and explore new ideas.
After the panel, participants were given free reign to explore five demo stations, which had been set up throughout the office; each demonstrating a different user experience tool you might incorporate into the development process.
The stations acted as mini-crash-courses in how to design and run user testing experiments. These stations covered not only the how, but the when, where, and why of user testing on desktop and mobile devices, paper prototyping, card sorting, heuristic evaluations, and some alternative testing methods.
World Usability Day Boulder was a huge success, and we’re thrilled with the turnout. Thanks to all who braved the snow and freezing temperatures to spend the evening with us and a special thanks to Pilot Pens (@PilotPenUSA), Axure (@Axurerp) and Rosenfeld Media (@RosenfeldMedia) for your generous donations!
Additional Fun Facts:
Foraker’s Usability Day event (#WUDBoulder) was the only WUD event within a 573 mile radius, our closest neighbors being Kansas City, Missouri, and Scottsdale, Arizona.
Despite the snow, over 50 people of various professional backgrounds and experience came out for the event, some having driven in from surrounding states to attend, and even more checking in via social networks from other Usability Day Events.
The visual theme for the evening, seen on decorations, handouts, and signs, was inspired by the Silver Age of American comics.