Daily Tasks on Thursday, 11-13-2014

  • World Usability Day: 6 hours
  • Literature:
    • PHP magazin 5/2014
    • Goll, Joachim ; Heinisch, Cornelia: Java als erste Programmiersprache : Ein professioneller Einstieg in die Objektorientierung mit Java. Berlin Heidelberg New York: Springer-Verlag, 2014. p. 1123 – 1150 (Enterprise Java Beans)

World Usability Day

Today I joined this year’s World Usability Day conference in Berlin (-> http://2014.wud-berlin.de/ ). The topics were wide-spread, but mostly focused on the main topic: user experience.

My learning process started with the first keynote “ Keynote: Measuring user engagement: the do, the do not do, and the we do not know” by Mounia Lalmas from Yahoo. Her research is focused on the different aspects of measurements of the user experiences, e.g., on websites. She mainly figured out that the classical metrics like “click-through-rate”, “bounce-rate” and so on are not the best indiciator to rate the user experience. She also said, that mouse-tracking in general is more effective than eye-tracking and presented experiments on the user’s focus on a webpage. Within the experiment, the researchers manipulated a website by placing some more conspicious contents and measure the resting location and time of the user’s mouse movements. They sketched a diagram showing the user’s main areas of interest within this website – this was really interesting.

The second talk I joined was held by the local goverment of the city Berlin. It’s topic was the government’s programme “Usability through Design”. The speakers from the government and local companies which joined the programme presented their products. The goal of the programme was to improve the design of the products in order to improve the user experience. Therefore, they could hand in some formulas to join and if they applied several conditions (regarding number of employees, …) they would get an investion by the government. One project there really inspired me: it was the “Sonnenrepublik” project which is about mobile solar panels that everbody can carry to have a rechargeable USB plug. The design improvement helped them to not even make their product look more asthetic but also to improve its shape to fit the mobility desires of the user.

After lunch break, I joined a talk with the topic “Money or Love”. The speaker – an employee from the company aperto – talked about financial products and gave suggestion on how you could improve the user experience in order to make those products more friendly. Some people in the audience stated that several banks changed their strategy and focussed more on the customer to appear more friendly – and not only presenting kind of encrypted information on financial products which no customer will understand. She focused on certain design aspects by comparing it to donation webpages where similar products are kind of “sold” (e.g. donations are done by giving the user quick and understandable information and some product on which he is allowed to show emotional reaction – like a bicycle for a poor child in Africa). The speaker stated that it banks don’t allow this emotional support.

Afterwards, another interesting topic followed: “anticipative user interfaces”. Wow, it was full of science-fiction. Anticipative means the prediction of user behaviour in order to assist him or her better. This term can be separated from “responsive” which is more about  a reaction on user behaviour. Anticipative user interfaces allow a lot of possible applications: like intelligent home, health apps and so on. The speaker stated an interesting conflict within the anticipative movement: when does anticipativms terrify the user? When does he feel controlled by a system? One should question on these points, because it’s important to develop assistants that don’t patronize the user.

The last tealk was about “Designing for Desability”. The speaker works for SAP and introduced a higher level of including the user in a business strategy: the “desability” which means that the user feels the desire to use a (technical) product. The speaker stated that utility and usabilty should be the fundamentals of desirability. He gave an interesting example why Google invests money in autonomous cars: because they want the user to have more time to use Google services. If they don’t have to drive the car themselves, they could feel the desire to use Google’s products like the search and so on.

In general, the talks gave me a good overview on the current topics and made me aware of the user’s needs again.