World Usability Day 2014

The World Usability Day took place for the third time in November 2014, in Geneva.

The day was divided into two main events: training sessions in the afternoon and keynotes in the evening. My colleague Marie Kuter and I had the opportunity to attend the latter.

The presentations were given by Nicolas Nova, co-Founder of the Near Future Laboratory and Teacher at the HEAD in Geneva accompanied by Florian Egger, Founder and Principal of a user experience agency and host of WUD for the third year.

Having interviews with potential users is great to create your personas. Observing them doing stuff related to what you plan to build for them is better. But sometime to really understand someone’s problem, observing him is not enough. You are forced to "wear his shoes" and experience the (user's) struggle. That’s what Nicolas Nova does in his projects; he called it “participative observation”. Being the user helps to understand the user and the tasks he has to face. This is like landing a plane or picking a lock; it does not seem so much of a deal when someone else does it for you, but try it for yourself!

So “becoming” the personas helps to define them best. And good persona definition leads to good storyboards for your product that will ultimately lead to a good design.

Florian Egger followed with service design. He made a clear distinction between UX Design and Service Design. While UX Design is already searching further afield to go beyond the system, taking the whole context of the user into consideration, Service Design puts the reflection forward. Indeed, the point of Service Design is not to only build the product but also to shape what comes before and after it. Florian Egger spoke about Client Design to define the Service Design between businesses and consumers. This includes contact points – how users get to know the product – marketing and after-sale services.  

But Client Design also concerns the communication inside a company. Florian showed an example of a Microsoft promotion of office products for a given company. The communication around this promotion was great but when an employee wanted to take advantage of it, he would be directed to a public platform where there was a huge confusion between the offer he was looking for and other random public offers.

Even if it does not affect the product itself, the user experience was an unnecessarily bad. You can have a world-class, well-designed product, but without a great Service Design around it you are not providing the best user experience possible.

Florian Uldrisard is Junior Consultant, User Experience at blue-infinity

Article co-authored by Marie Kuter, Senior Consultant, User Experience at blue-infinity

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About the author

Florian Udrisard
Florian Udrisard

UX designer Florian has collaborated on projects for the IOC, PMI, Richemont, Visilab and WHO, helping ensure an optimal experience across a range of platforms.