World Usability Day 2023
World Usability Day is celebrated on the second Thursday in November. It is an annual reminder to promote the values of usability, usability engineering, user-centered design, universal usability, and every user’s responsibility to ask for things that work better.
The day brings together communities of professional, industrial, educational, citizen, and government groups for our common objective: to ensure that the services and products important to life are easier to access and simpler to use. Usability happens not by accident, but by design. As technology makes inroads into every sphere of human life, it falls upon designers to humanize it and make the world a better place.
On this day, organizations, groups, or individuals are encouraged to hold events to mark the day. The day adopts a different theme each year. The theme for World Usability Day 2022 was “Our Health”. This day brings together a variety of User Experiences.
History of World Usability Day
World Usability Day started as an idea springing from a discussion in the fall of 2004 between two UPA board members, Elizabeth Rosenzweig and Nigel Bevan. They worked together with the UPA board to start World Usability Day and over the years, Elizabeth Rosenzweig kept it running. Each year, on the second Thursday of November, over 200 events are organized in over 43 countries around the world to raise awareness for the general public, and train professionals in the tools and issues central to good usability research, development, and practice.
Here’s a description from the event page:
In our theme “Our Health” we look to explore systems that provide healthcare in all its many forms such as virtual/telehealth, electronic health records, healthcare products, and all digital health-related solutions. This theme will help us explore timely and important issues such as continuity of care, access to treatment, telemedicine, systems for mental health, exercise, nutrition, and many more. In addition, Our Health includes health problems related to environmental issues such as air and water pollution’s impact on health.
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Special days should be celebrated, those that remind us worldwide of the importance of something. It is about celebration and education—celebrating the strides we have made in creating usable products and educating the masses about how usability impacts our daily lives. It is about making our world work better. It is about reaching out to the common citizen and spreading the message: We don’t have to put up with products and services that don’t work well and human error is a misnomer. No one should have to suffer through products and services that get in their way. People should not be made to feel stupid by technology.
World Usability Charter
The World Usability Day Charter, signed in 2005 by the organizing committee, declared that human error is a misnomer. Technology should allow people to live to their full potential, rather than making them feel limited or incompetent.
Article 1 (Education)
Wired and wireless schools are appearing everywhere. Students around the world benefit from low-cost, easy-to-use, reliable computing, Internet access, and telecommunication. Educational technology must be not only affordable and available but must be usable by teachers, students, and parents.
Article 2 (Health)
Healthcare must be available to everyone around the world. Medical technology can improve health, but it must be easy to use: error in this arena is costly. Because we are what we eat, we need healthier food supplies that will improve the well-being of people everywhere. Technology that produces better food for all must be built on research that keeps the whole person in mind.
Article 3 (Government)
Governments around the globe seek to use new technology to better serve their citizens and increase participation in the civic experience. Citizens can pay taxes and take care of business online in many countries in the world; this same capability should be available to all, eliminating the digital divide that separates the rich from the poor or isolates social groups. Voting systems must ensure trust and confidence in elections. Technology that supports civic engagement must give all citizens equal access and opportunity, and must be easy to use and easy to understand by all citizens, including those with disabilities of any kind.
Article 4 (Communication)
People need to connect. We have more means than ever to communicate: phones, the Internet, messaging, and the printed medium. Technology that facilitates communication between people must be intuitive to use. It should have instructions that are easy to understand, and knobs, dials, and buttons that do not require constant tuning.
Article 5 (Privacy and Security)
As the use of technology grows, so do concerns about new forms of e-commerce, e-government, and e-communication. We must build appropriate safeguards to ensure that our interaction is secure, that children and others are protected, and that our systems are trustworthy.
Article 6 (Entertainment)
Entertainment is not just for our spare time. People use entertainment for many reasons throughout their daily lives. The world of entertainment has embraced technology to give us photos, movies, music, and games in new ways and on new devices. But, even amusement benefits from usability! Incomprehensible remote controls, confusing instructions, and blinking VCR clocks speak to the need for improvement in our media. Usable entertainment systems will make the experience less tiring and frustrating.
“The world has so far to go in making technology usable” – Tom Stewart, Usability expert.
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